Here’s a short article (PDF) I wrote for the latest edition of APA Technology Division‘s quarterly newsletter about the ParticipateDB relaunch that’s currently underway:
ParticipateDB: Digital Engagement Tech Catalogue
Founder & CEO of Intellitics, Inc.
Digital engagement, the use of information and communications technologies to involve the public in decision making and planning processes, is a rapidly growing field. While the concept isn’t entirely new – the term “e-participation” has been around for a few decades – there has been a strong acceleration in recent years. Today, we see an ever-increasing flow of new tools and services from around the world entering the market, as adoption of these technologies becomes more widespread.
For practitioners in the planning, public participation or broader civic engagement communities, it is often a considerable challenge to make sense of all the available options and assess which tools or services might best fit their needs. As digital engagement consultants, we were facing the same problem a few years ago.
In 2009, we launched ParticipateDB (http://participatedb.com), a more collaborative approach towards cataloguing the digital engagement tool landscape. The site, open to contributions from anyone, aims to build a complete list of tools that exist and provide the necessary context on how each technology is being applied in practice.
Since its launch, ParticipateDB has grown to become the most comprehensive resource of its kind, with more than 250 tools already listed. However, we know that there is a vast amount of information that’s still missing. We’ve received a lot of user feedback over the years how to make the site even easier to use. The site is currently undergoing a refresh that aims to:
- Make it easier to identify, assess, and compare tools and services.
- Make it more convenient to become an active contributor.
- Re-emphasize the collaborative nature of the site.
In addition, we’ve started to talk to potential partners in the public, private, and non-profit sector to explore how their specific expertise (regarding a particular tool category, or industry, or geographic region etc.) might help us significantly widen our coverage and improve content quality and completeness.
The first few enhancements (responsive and mobile-friendly page layout, simple search, a draft taxonomy) have already rolled out. Expect to see a lot more exciting features to be added over the next couple of months.
Please get in touch if you’d like to get involved or if your organization is interested in partnering:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tim Bonnemann is the founder and CEO of Intellitics, Inc., a digital engagement firm based in San José, CA. He serves on the Board of Directors of the International Association for Public Participation in the United States (IAP2 USA).
Quick correction, the site just saw the addition of its 300th tool.