Wikis and Information Intelligence

Information Intelligence is the practice of gathering intelligence useful to an organization. It uses Open Source Intelligence to enrich an organization’s ability to gather intelligence for internal use.

Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) is an information processing discipline that involves finding, selecting, and acquiring information from publicly available sources and analyzing it to produce actionable intelligence. In the Intelligence Community (IC), the term “open” refers to overt, publicly available sources (as opposed to covert or classified sources); it is not related to open-source software. OSINT includes a wide variety of information and sources:

  • Media – newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and computer-based information.
  • Public data – government reports, official data such as budgets and demographics, hearings, legislative debates, press conferences, speeches, marine and aeronautical safety warnings, environmental impact statements, contract awards.
  • Observation and reporting – Amateur airplane spotters, radio monitors and satellite observers among many others have provided significant information not otherwise available. The availability of worldwide satellite photography, often of high resolution, on the Web (e.g., Google Earth) has expanded open source capabilities into areas formerly available only to major intelligence services.
  • Professional and academic – conferences, symposia, professional associations, academic papers, and subject matter experts.[1]

In addition to these Media mentioned above there are several sources for Web Data Mining. There are several aspects of improving Information Intelligence:

  1. Gathering information from a variety of openly available sources
  2. Supplementing the open source intelligence with internal information
  3. Providing a collaborative platform to share information
  4. Enriching information – tagging, interlinking, annotating
  5. Versioning information to keep it current
  6. Providing a semantic layer for easy retrieval and integration with other tools
  7. Providing both a horizontal view and specific vertical views of the information

Wiki is an ideal tool for managing Information Intelligence inside an organization. You can start with a base wiki technology like MediaWiki (used by Wikipedia) and build additional layers like Semantic Media Wiki or provide structured data access like DbPedia . You can get information on several vertical sharing information sites using MediaWiki here.

A good example of both horizontal and vertical views is demonstrated by the US Government initiatives Diplopedia and Intellipedia.

Recent congressional testimony from Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia,[5] 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.

Wikis provide a great foundation for Information Intelligence. Enriching Wikis with semantic annotations, providing more powerful viewing options, granular addressing and increasing the quality of links may go a long way in increasing their effectiveness.


This entry was triggered by an email invite to an Intellipedia session at the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence.

One thought on “Wikis and Information Intelligence

  1. OSINT is a good concept.. i developed a social bookmarking application. i had a thought in my mind to develop an social media application that will satisfy needs of an org. i hope this more intelligence & value than just a social media application..

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