Diplopedia Celebrates 10,000 Articles

February 4, 2010
Diplopedia Screenshot

About the Authors: Tiffany Smith Licciardi and Linda G. Green serve in the Office of eDiplomacy in the Bureau of Information Resource Management.

The work of the Department of State is global and requires coordination of effort from Washington, our diplomatic offices abroad, our colleagues in the foreign affairs community and partners around the world. One of the programs that has changed the way we do business in the past few years is Diplopedia, the Department of State's online collaborative encyclopedia of foreign affairs information. Like the Internet's Wikipedia, Diplopedia is a wiki. It aims to draw on contributions from all staff with knowledge and experience to share that will help Department employees do their work more effectively and efficiently.

From a quiet start in late 2006 with about a dozen articles, Diplopedia has taken off in content and participation. Now, in an average week, Department employees create 30 new contributor accounts, add 50 or more pages and access Diplopedia between 30,000 and 40,000 times. In 2009, Diplopedia passed one milestone -- more than 2,000 registered contributors. In early 2010, it passed an even bigger one -- more than 10,000 articles. The growing breadth and depth of Diplopedia make it an increasingly valuable resource.

What kind of information does Diplopedia contain? Some of it concerns the nuts-and-bolts of life in a big organization. For example, Diplopedia contains a comprehensive collection of information for desk officers, the Foreign Service officers who act as the in-house experts and go-to officials on a particularly country. Desk officers rotate out of their positions every two years and often have little lead time to learn the scope of their new job. Diplopedia provides a desk officer manual, advising them on everything from what to make of Department jargon, how to move a paper for decision, or how to navigate a new Ambassador through the complexities of Senate confirmation and assignment to his or her mission.

Diplopedia covers substance as well as tradecraft. For example, some 40 briefing portals help Department employees find and contribute information on specific programs, economic issues, and international politics. What put Diplopedia over the 10,000 article mark last month was a decision to use it as a working space for our foreign policy experts to share and collate information that underpins the Department's efforts to address a major global issue which encompasses economic, political, human rights and population concerns.

Diplopedia continues to grow because Department employees are ready both to share knowledge and expertise and to innovate in the way they tackle challenges. The Office of eDiplomacy and other offices in State help provide the technological tools -- our diplomats and analysts do the rest to advance American diplomacy.



John P.
February 5, 2010

John P. in Greece writes:

Really transformational and extremely smart tool.
Although, I don’t have access as a simple civilian (this is logical), I can understand how much powerful and useful it is.

I think it’s very easy to understand my point. Imagine yourself being a young SD officer moving from (let’s say) Cape Verde to (let’s say) Colombia. How can you know the new “situation”? Extremely different places. Of course, I imagine, there are briefs etc., but having this tool available, “transfer” is even more "intranet downloadable".

I did not know about this project!
Great work!!!

California, USA
February 6, 2010

Nadeem in California writes:

Excellent tool!

District Of Columbia, USA
February 12, 2010

Tiffany in Washington, DC writes:

Thanks very much for your compliments, John! Like any collaborative software, Diplopedia has relied on participation to achieve the results it has. We encourage members of the public to participate in the dialogue at www.state.gov/open to suggest ideas on how State can improve the quality of information available to you!

John P.
February 6, 2010

John P. in Greece writes:

In addition, imagine if this public domain archive post is/was so interesting for civilians like me, how much more this project can be a diplomatic tool for pros.


What I mean is that sharing ideas, experiences and knowledge is the only way to move the craft.

As Donald in VA says: “knowledge is learned”.

Share it!

March 15, 2010

Jovan in Switzerland writes:

Congratulations! The success of Diplopedia could be an interesting case-study in diplomatic professional culture. What motivates a diplomat to share information (exclusive access to information is very often the key asset for career progression in diplomatic services). Is information sharing or information control more effective for a successful diplomatic career today? These and other questions of relevance for acceptance of e-tools by diplomats are discussed at edip.diplomacy.edu. It will be also interesting for wider international community to learn more about Diplopedia, DipNote and other e-diplomacy initiatives at State.


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