June 18th, 2012 at 8:10 am June 18th, 2012 at 8:10 am by Chriswaterguy
energypedia is one of the handful of ongoing, very active sustainability wikis. Benjamin Rebenich of energypedia describes their wiki project for us:
From an energy perspective, the world is facing two seemingly contradicting problems. On the one hand, CO2 emissions continue to rise, especially in transition countries like China and India. On the other hand, there are still many regions suffering from extreme energy poverty. For example, the electrification rate in Sub-Saharan Africa is below 25%. We at energypedia believe that we can tackle this challenge of combating climate change while achieving universal access to modern energy by promoting renewable energy solutions in industrial and especially in developing countries. Offering free access to up to date information is our contribution to a better and cleaner future.
Energypedia – Connecting Knowledge
There are many projects fighting against climate change and energy poverty. However, there is still a huge lack of information and knowledge exchange between those efforts resulting in the disappearance of important information and experiences collected by individuals and institutions. Energypedia tries to fill this gap, connecting knowledge by offering an open wiki platform where everyone can benefit from the experiences of the global society by reading, writing, and revising articles on technologies and approaches related to renewable energy and energy efficiency.
We not only want to foster worldwide social and economic development by removing knowledge and communication barriers, but we also intend to connect people. By bringing energy experts, universities, civil society, as well as the public and private sector together, theoretical knowledge can benefit from the lessons learnt by practitioners and vice versa to catalyze innovative sustainable energy technologies and services. Therefore, energypedia not only offers editable wiki articles but also social media features like a newsblog, an event calendar, and an internal messaging system.
From a Project Wiki to an Open Renewable Energy Platform
It all started at the end of 2007 when the Dutch-German Energy Partnership "Energising Development" (EnDev) first tested wiki solutions for internal applications like agendas and information sharing. After some beta-testing, EnDev launched the internal EnDev-Wiki for knowledge and project management of the 22 worldwide projects in January 2009. The number of users increased rapidly and even colleagues outside the project requested accounts. As a result EnDev decided to open the wiki to these requests, paving the path to the more general energypedia for renewable energy and development cooperation, on June 8th, 2010. Perhaps the biggest milestone in our young history was achieved in September 2011 when energypedia went public – from this moment on, all web user have been able to read energypedia articles without prior registration. Although registration is not required anymore for viewing the wiki (only for editing articles is a user account necessary), the number of registered users is still rising. Within a year, the number of users has almost tripled. At the end of 2011, more than 1,600 energy experts, development workers, and international students from more than 100 countries were registered contributing to hundreds of articles about technologies and country information.
From Hydro Power to Impact Monitoring
Energypedia is easy to use and offers a general search function as well as a clear-cut navigation system to guide users to our main portals. A wide range of topics is covered on energypedia ranging from renewable energy technologies (solar, hydro, wind, etc.) to energy use like improved cooking to cross cutting issues such as grid extension and impact monitoring. While all mentioned portals can still benefit from your input, we are planning to extend our content to new topics such as productive use of energy, energy policy, and energy efficiency. If you have any experience in one of these topics or any other related fields, please feel free to share your knowledge on energypedia!
Beyond Scope – Quality Matters
We highly appreciate all user contributions and keep explaining that no article will ever be finished since it is in a constant state of revision. But we are also aware that beyond a broad scope of topics, energypedia also has to offer quality information to be attractive for users and to refute the common claim that wikis suffer quality deficits. As a result we are continuously working on our quality management. While the energypedia team guarantees a basic wiki gardening, we try to encourage users to get active themselves. For this purpose, we have installed the “Energypedia - Quality matters” page informing about our efforts and user guidelines as well as a maintenance system. Similar to Wikipedia, users can put one or more out of five maintenance boxes (revision, copyright, plagiarism, contradiction and redundancy) on an article indicating that it needs attention. These articles are then displayed on the Quality matters page enabling other users to remedy the articles' shortcomings. Additionally, energypedia tries to cooperate with universities to win students for revision of articles.
Creating a Wiki – A Continuous Developing Process
Besides content development and quality management, we keep trying to improve our services by continuously developing energypedia's technical aspects. For example, we offer features such as:
- the incorporation of pictures, videos, and maps to visualize information;
- a book creator for storing several wiki pages in a PDF format;
- open database applications like the PicoPV database encompassing more than 90 systems;
- and a job portal focusing on renewable energy.
But more developments are under way. For example, we are working on improving the editor for a more user friendly writing process. Moreover, we are testing a new discussion tool enabling users to actively discuss wiki articles and exchange ideas.
In addition to these efforts, part of our service is the offer of password restricted wiki workspaces within energypedia for organizations or projects. All workspaces are stored on a subdomain of energypedia allowing organizations to benefit from energypedia's software while sharing confidential information only with a selected user group. For more information about our workspace offer, visit the workspace information page or contact us directly.
Get In Contact
As a wiki provider we live the wiki philosophy of free information and cooperation. Hence, we would not only like to invite everyone to contribute to energypedia's content but we also highly appreciate any comments, suggestions, and ideas about energypedia from your side. In addition, we would be glad to hear from other energy wiki providers to share experiences and discuss cooperation opportunities. Please feel free to contact Benjamin Rebenich (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Your energypedia team