Content Development Strategy : LUSENET : Country Gateways : One Thread

How will high quality content be sourced, developed and organized on the Country Gateways?

-- Oleg Petrov (, September 11, 2000


Content Philosophy

Country Gateways will mobilize, organize, and create development and business-related content from local and international sources and facilitate partnerships by engaging local stakeholders. Country Gateways will empower stakeholders to use the Internet as a preferred cost-effective tool of doing business through e-government, e- commerce, e-procurement, e-marketing, e-training, knowledge sharing, virtual offices etc.

The primary users of the information are those, inside and outside the country, being engaged in development-related work, including government officials, NGO and community leaders, development professionals and researchers, journalists, and business people. The information is also intended to general audiences like students and librarians.

The Country Gateway content strategy will be based on open contributions from communities and other stakeholders, which will be quality reviewed by community/topic guides. The open content approach implies decentralized development of the content, where guides are an important tool. One application of this approach might be in setting up groups, so called "open online forum" on a certain topic that allows those interested to participate in adding, modifying or redistributing content. A good example is the "Open Law forum" developed by a law professor at Harvard. This open online forum is used to draft legal documents. Lawyers and non-lawyers alike are invited to suggest legal arguments and help edit drafts.

1. 2 Stages in content development of Country Gateways

Initial phase of evolution of country Gateway is called Country View. The Country View is the initial content management system of country- specific information. It is drawn from selected global and regional content aggregators that provides high-quality and reliable information about the 208 countries and territories of the world. A Country View is the global view/perspective of a country. The Country View will be carried on the Global Gateway site and will be used in the initial consultation stage of the establishment of the Country Gateway organization.

Once the Country Gateway organization is established, the content collection process will be based on a bottom-up development approach of the majority of content, based on extensive partnerships with local communities and content providers The evolution of the Country View into Country Gateway is the following:

The content of the Country Gateways will be built over several years, with basic information and functionalities implemented in the first year (Level 1) and more content and a wide range of functions in the second year (Level 2). For example, Level 1 will include the Country View, basic information on business, directory services, information on the central government (e.g. laws and legislation), initial community briefing, some statistical database tools and translation of some sites. Level 2 will be implemented in the second year and will increase the scope and depth of information on business and government (e.g. including local government), and will include more sophisticated database tools as well as initial e-business and e- government applications.

Information Architecture of Country Gateways

Country Gateways will include customized features, for example: information on national, regional and local development goals and strategies; data and knowledge resources tailored to local development needs; collaborative workspaces; networks for national dialogue; discussion spaces for the exchange of views among development stakeholders; and opportunities for local agencies, development banks, and civil society to input information about their current development activities. There will be a rich set of links between the Country Gateways and the Global Gateway, with information and data flowing in both directions.

What will be the strategy for organizing the information flow between CG and GDG?(to define the mechanism for capturing the relevant content in a country that is useful for GDG ).

The content flow between the CG and GDG can be defined by the relationships between the topic guides at country level and those in GDG.

Country Gateways will share a common content structure to promote global exchange of knowledge, ideas, expertise and opportunities. While content areas will map closely with the Gateway, the local focus will promote a bottom-up development of the majority of content. The CDG content will be obtained from partnerships with government, business and civil society.

How flexible will the core taxonomy be at country level ?

One option is to have a first level taxonomy that will be the same cross country, and the second and third level taxonomy should be adapted to each country gateway needs and vision.

The Country Gateways content template is structured on a basis of envisaged information needs of Gateway users and resources currently available.

Basic structure: The template comprises five components different in types of content:

1) Top toolbars (for both Global and Country Gateways) at the top horizon, including Global Gateway access and basic functionality like My Email; My Gateway

2) In depth CDG services that including Directories, News Center, Market place, Forums, Library, University

3) Community Views; The main actors of the development process (i.e.. Government, Civil Society, Private sector and Donor agencies) will have to get special profiles, special sections into the development portal.

We are going to have communities on thematic issues

4) Spotlights, headlines, and features at the center column;

5) In-depth subject areas on the left column; and

6) Dynamic news, general information, and data tables on the right column.

In-depth subject areas consist of:

1) Country guide

2) ) Development areas grouped into to be decided

3) Special Issues which include hot topics of development in the country or region, selected by the Local Team in consultation with the Gateway Content Team

(Illustration of Home Page takes examples of such issues);

Development areas will stay common across Country Gateways, while Special Issues are tailored country-by-country and region-by-region. The right column of Dynamic news, general information, and data tables much utilize existing databases, including World Development Indicators and local directories.

The main functionalities of Country Gateway would be:

News Center: will be designed as a comprehensive news service including both locally and international based sources; it will also offer customization facilities for the CG users; it will also offer a daily a country press review, a directory of media operators, and news archive Forums serving communications needs of various communities of interest, including NGOs, government business, donors., academia.. Marketplace: a platform that will serve as an online bulletin board of investment opportunities. Contacts, business opportunities, proposals, procurement opportunities and investment regulations for the local private sector and foreign investors. University: a platform that will serve as a training/distance learning center. It helps various communities to capitalize on existing technical capacity through the provision of content, the distance learning environment, training, and practice. It would also be divided into sections customized to specific communities of interest organized by themes (e.g. banking school) and possibly four main user groups(Govt, Business, NGOs, Development Partners). At first level, it is most reasonable to give links to numerous DL programs/virtual universities (in each country), establish dialogue with them to provide their content in Gateway portals/GDLN distributors.( see attached) We are going to have a link to a demo course in Economics developed by the WBI DL. (see attached). One possibility for the future is to use the WBI DL platform, and training facilities for the content building at local level. The second level might include CG specific courses that will use the a common platform (i.e. WBI DL platform) . There is going to be an ongoing collaboration with partner institutions to build content in major thematic areas of development. Library would be a user-friendly and powerful content management system divided into sections customized to specific communities by themes (e.g. privatization, banking) and user groups (e.g. NGOs, government). For example, there would be a Legal library, a Privatization library, NGO library etc. The library would provide premium content ( knowledge vs information, databases and document library vs short overviews on the 'first floor'). It would be a warehouse of on-line databases and electronic libraries. Virtual Offices: Hosting Center, automated, user-friendly full service hosting/workspace solutions for companies, organizations, and professional . What will be the quality control policy for the content mobilization in CG?

Each Country Gateway will have a Content Manager that is responsible for complete selection, creation, and management of the content, the quality control policy, for setting up the editorial policy, and managing the flow of information.

Some content, such as news, development data will be obtained from content providers with service contracts or other formal arrangements with the Gateway. For material from other sources, the content will be reviewed by topic/community guides. For example, each thematic page within Country Gateway will be supervised by a community guide that can be an expert or a partner organization which will have the license to run a specific community . These guides will address the issues and interests of specific user groups/topics and will be responsible for the focus, content, and functionality of the web page and functioning of any links found there. The Content Manager will supervise the activity and selection of community/topic guides.

What criteria and standards are going to be used for identifying topic/community specialists at country level? Are we going to use the same criteria as the GDG?

What will be the relation between the topic guide at country level and those in GDG?

What are the content types?

Articles - Single documents, E-zine articles, or small websites of a current nature. Should NOT include Background, Case Studies, How-Tos, People, or Project information.

Background - Background materials for individuals who are new to the topic.

Case Studies - Specific examples of cases where things went very well or horribly wrong.

Communities - Links to other community-based websites (i.e. those with members, discussion groups, events calendars, etc).

Directories - Lists and databases of people information.

Discussions - Links to on-line discussions or to the sign-up pages for e-mail-based discussions.

Events - Information about a single event.

Events Calendars - Lists and databases of event information.

Fun facts - Fun facts about our topic

How-To's & Tools - Descriptions of how to do things and/or electronic utilities to get them done.

News Items - Individual news items.

News Sources - Lists or databases of news items.

Official Documents - should be obvious, David Kirsh will elaborate

People - Biographies and interesting articles about people.

Projects - Information describing an individual development project.

Questions - Individual questions.

Statistics - Lists and databases of statistical information.

Useful Websites - Websites about this subject that do not fit into any of the other categories (normally because they are too large/general but are not community sites)

Translation Strategy

In order to reach the largest possible audience, the Gateway is defining a translation strategy to present content and navigation in many languages. Translation will be an integral part of the overall site management. Content can be categorized for translation purposes in this manner:

static content, content that needs periodic updates, and content where constant change is the norm. Language translation can be accomplished in three different methods, depending on the nature of the content:

Human translation (for static content, i.e. menus, bios, contact information, etc., as well as for the most important content); Computer-assisted translation (for repetitive and technical documents, tables); and Machine translation (for content that  for time, resource and budget reasons  cannot be translated immediately). For machine translation, the Gateway will work with a partner that provides this service and assumes accountability for the quality of machine-translated content. The Gateway will set priorities regarding importance of content and language, and whether the words should be translated by machine or humans.

Who will do the translation for content that is in local language and can be used in the GDG(local team, HQ or other)?

-- Oleg Petrov (, September 25, 2000.

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