U.S. Department of State and Rice University Release Joint Study of Diplopedia

Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
May 21, 2010

A new study released by U.S. Department of State’s Office of eDiplomacy in the Bureau of Information Resource Management and Rice University looks at the five-year history of creating and implementing the Department’s use of the Wikipedia-styled diplomacy Web 2.0 tool, Diplopedia.

Diplopedia is the U.S. State Department's internal knowledge sharing platform – an internal, unclassified, open source wiki platform of "how-to" knowledge for America's diplomatic corps.

The paper, “Diplopedia Imagined: Building State’s Diplomacy Wiki,” is being presented at the 2010 International Symposium on Collaborative Technologies and Systems in Chicago by its coauthors Tiffany Smith, a State Department employee in its Bureau of Information Resource Management and Chris Bronk, a fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute Public Policy and lecturer in Rice's Department of Computer Science.

In the paper, Smith and Bronk explain how the project allowed the State Department to make its first adoption of open source software and employ that software to capture, catalog and disseminate the job knowledge expertise required for working diplomats.

Smith, who was recruited to the State Department as a Presidential Management Fellow, and Bronk, a former Foreign Service Officer, argue the paper offers a pragmatic case study for the adoption of Wikipedia-like knowledge bases in government.

Diplopedia launched in September 2006 as a clean slate with only a dozen or so articles. In just over three years it has grown to more than 11,000 articles written and edited by State Department employees. One of the few differences that Diplopedia has with Wikipedia is that within Diplopedia, the employee must be a registered user and the employee’s page creations and edits are identified back to that person.

A draft of the paper is available for download on the Baker Institute website at http://www.bakerinstitute.org/publications/TSPP-pub-BronkSmithDiplopediaDraft-051810.pdf.

PRN: 2010/663