Government moving - but slowly - towards Wikipedia information model

In intelligence, patent communities, intelligence of many can inform decisions, build information databases. But there are grounds for caution that integrity of information may be endangered.
Written by Richard Koman, Contributor
While the Patent and Trademark Office received high Web 2.0 marks for implementing a Wikipedia-style experiment in patent review, expect the government to move very slowly towards letting the public update information on government websites, Government Computer News reports.
“The ability of a user to add content to a site is troublesome,” said Paul Henry, vice president of Secure Computing Corp. of San Jose, Calif. “In allowing everyone to add content, integrity goes right out the window.”

“I’m not seeing a huge uptake on public-facing Web 2.0” in government, Henry said. “I’m pleased with that.”

Caution on public sites is one thing, but Web 2.0 has huge potential for agencies to collect intelligence from individual employees.

Intellipedia is a collaborative intranet tool intended to bring some real community to the intelligence community. The Intellipedia was set up late last year, consciously copying the Wikipedia model. It is a classified hierarchy of wiki sites on intranets. A top-secret site is the most restricted and serves the 16 intelligence agencies. The secret site primarily serves diplomatic and military users, and an unclassified site is for other government users and invited outsiders.

It has 7,000 users and some 60,000 pages of information. And the CIA created a sabbatical program to teach officials how to use Intellipedia. Other agencies are showing interest in similar approaches.

Of the PTO program to involve outside experts in patent app evaluation, Henry says: "It should be interesting to see how much garbage they get."

But GCN's William Jackson gets it a little more:

Yes, interesting. If it is too much garbage the program can be tweaked or killed with little or no harm done. But if it works it just might make government more efficient. It seems a gamble worth taking.
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