National Research Council of Canada. NRC Institute for Information Technology
Community Informatics Research Network Conference andColloquium (CIRN 2004), September 29 - October 1, 2004, Monash University, Prato, Tuscany, Italy
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) face a broad spectrum of barriers to effective transnational cooperation (Ó Siochrú 2003). One critical barrier is the lack of ready access to software tools that facilitate transnational, multi-lingual, collaborative work. As an example, Civil Society's drafting processes for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) have been very complicated, tedious, and prone to error. Complicating the process further is the fact that NGO communities are now often distributed across multiple languages. There are, for example, six official languages in WSIS. Truly democratic debate over document revisions is severely hampered if translations are not available. This then negatively impacts the sustainability of such processes.A number of content management systems now exist that might be extended and adapted for this purpose, but no fully functional system as such exists that is accessible to the majority of NGOs. A critical factor here is the use of a free software model. Proprietary solutions are usually prohibitively expensive and, thus, are neither accessible nor sustainable with the NGO community. This paper will present the context in which advanced collaboration tools for NGOs is needed. It will also discuss general system requirements and provide technical background.
Community Informatics Research Network Conference andColloquium (CIRN 2004) [Proceedings].