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Diplopedia, billed as the Encyclopedia of the United States Department of State, is a wiki running on the State internal Intranet, called "OpenNet". It houses a unique collection of information pertaining to diplomacy, international relations, and Department of State tradecraft.

The wiki may be used by U.S. foreign affairs agencies domestic and abroad with State intranet access. It is also available to the United States intelligence community and other national-security related organizations using the Intelink-U network as a mirrored, read-only archive. Both sites are rated by the government as Sensitive but Unclassified. The wiki on either network is not open to the public.

Diplopedia is a project of the Office of eDiplomacy (eDip), located in the Bureau of Information Resource Management within the Department of State. Diplopedia uses MediaWiki, the same software used by the Wikipedia free-content encyclopedia project.[1]


Creation and usage

The project was launched in September 2006[2] after a presentation by State at Wikimania 2006[1].

The program began as part of a larger effort created by former Secretary Condoleezza Rice within the concept of Transformational Diplomacy. Under that plan, personnel utilized Web 2.0 technologies such as wikis, blogs, communities, and virtual work environments to provide diplomacy to areas that have been underrepresented.[3] The program continues under Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton's vision of diplomatic Smart Power which also relies heavily on new media to include the web, blogs, and wikis, in concert with commercial online media distribution including Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. [4]

At Wikimania 2008, eDiplomacy revealed the state of the wiki as of July 2008. In a presentation entitled "Diplopedia: Wiki Culture in the U.S. Department of State" the overall Diplopedia project hosted more than 4,400 substantive articles, is edited by 1000 registered users, and has had 650,000 page views. [5]

In January 2009, Diplopedia was among 27 online technologies named as "The Best Government Tech of the Bush Years" by Wired.[6]

Community practices

The wiki provides so much flexibility that several offices throughout the community are using it to maintain and transfer knowledge on daily operations and events. Anyone with access to read it has permission to create and edit articles after registering and acquiring an account with Diplopedia (there are no anonymous edits allowed). Since Diplopedia is intended to be a platform for expressing the various points of view of the Department, Diplopedia does not enforce a pure neutral point of view policy. Instead, viewpoints are attributed to the offices and individuals participating, with the hope that a consensus view will emerge. Positions or views in an article that do not fairly represent the consensus of the relevant community of interest are to be clearly marked with the author, office, or agency whose views they represent. [7]

Diplopedia has a unique categorization of abbreviations and acronyms (pervasive in government). Each is placed in Category:Abbreviation and most point to articles on the topic the abbreviation represents. Information is also grouped by categories familiar to diplomats and lay people alike such as Missions Abroad, Offices, Information Technology, and Security. [7] Diplopedia also contains non-encyclopedic content including notes and items of internal, administrative interest.

Diplopedia uses the same categorization for frequent users as Wikipedia, namely a number of mythical creatures representing types of editors.

Diplopedia and Intellipedia

Congressional testimony from Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia,[8] notes the difference between vertical and horizontal information sharing and suggests that both could be successful e-government endeavors. Intellipedia is an excellent example of sharing information horizontally across agencies, and Diplopedia has found similar success in sharing information within the Department of State bureaucracy. Statements on both wikis encourage cross posting of relevant information as appropriate.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Bronk, Robert "Chris" (2006-08-01). "Diplopedia: Application of the Wiki Model for Collaborative Drafting in Foreign Affairs". Wikimania 2006, Proceedings:CB1. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Wikimedia Foundation. http://wikimania2006.wikimedia.org/wiki/Proceedings:CB1. Retrieved 2008-02-02. 
  2. "Major Programs of the Office of eDiplomacy". U.S. Department of State. http://www.state.gov/m/irm/c23840.htm#diplopedia. Retrieved 2008-02-02. 
  3. Bain, Ben (2007-07-30). "Diplopedia: The diplomat’s Wikipedia". FCW.com (1105 Media, Inc.). http://www.fcw.com/print/13_26/news/103353-1.html. Retrieved 2008-02-02. 
  4. Lee, Matthew. "Hillary Clinton, e-diplomat, embraces new media". AP on realtas.net. http://www.rialtas.net/blog/2009/03/24/hillary-clinton-e-diplomat-embraces-new-media/. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  5. Johnson, Eric (2008-07-19). "Diplopedia: Wiki Culture in the U.S. Department of State" (video, powerpoint). Wikimania 2008. Alexandria, Egypt: Bibliotheca Alexandrina. pp. 24. http://webcast.bibalex.org/Cast/Offline.aspx?ID=9/rnR8sLHbe96XwDTqyljg==. Retrieved 2008-07-24. 
  6. Thompson, Nicholas (2009-01-27). "The Best Government Tech of the Bush Years". Wired blog network (Wired). http://blog.wired.com/business/2009/01/the-best-techno.html. Retrieved 2009-02-05. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Johnson, Eric M. (2007-11-14). "Diplopedia: Knowledge sharing through an enterprise wiki at the U.S. Department of State" (PDF). EPA Environmental Information Symposium. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. pp. 17. http://www.epa.gov/oei/proceedings/2007/proceedings07/johnson.pdf. Retrieved 2008-02-02. 
  8. Wales Senate Testimony regarding "E-Government 2.0: Improving Innovation, Collaboration, and Access" Page 3,5

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