More LGSearch

LGSearch, my local government Google Coop effort, has proven pretty popular amongst people working in the sector – on the blog I’ve stuck up some of the nice things people have been saying.

I’ve had some interesting discussions with Steve Dale, who works as a knowledge management consultant for I&DeA. Sounds like some of the plans I’ve got for the site link up with some of the work he is doing. It’ll be interesting to see how things work out.

Here’s an extract from an email I sent to Steve:

I’ll quickly jot down my plans for where I think LGSearch might be headed. My first task is to integrate a search for other authorities (Police, Fire, Health), then to have national government departments and agencies in there too. Google Coop does allow you to filter searches down by tagging the sites being searched – so it will be easy enough for people to drill down into results to find what they are after.

I initially started the LGSearch blog literally as a way of getting information on the web without having to code much HTML. However, I have found myself having to resist the urge to post on non-LGSearch related matters, largely on topics of social media and local government. This has made me consider the prospect of starting a new site (LGNewMedia?) of which the search would just be a part, with the aim of the site being to promote the use of social media, with guides and how-tos, lists of resources etc, running from a blog.

I’ve also been developing a wiki, which is currently hosted alongside, and branded as, LGSearch. Feel free to have a look, though it isn’t public yet – it runs on PMWiki, which seems pretty good. This was to be in answer to those people who wanted to set up their own searches. So, I’d have some wiki pages on how to use Google Coop, as well as an updated list of what sites were being used within LGSearch. Another possibility would be to use the wiki to house a list of sites and resources identified as being useful – so providing a directory approach as well as the search based one, if that makes sense.

Of course, the more I thought about the wiki, the more applications I have thought of for it, i.e. providing space for social media projects, sharing best practice etc, the more it became clear that it belonged under the putative umbrella of LGNewMedia.

Other ideas for LGNewMedia included the ubiquitous forum – though these can become barren wastelands of inactivity, of course – and even a Digg style system of people sharing useful links. Again, the lack of traffic might be an issue here. But the main parts of the site will be the blog for communicating and the wiki for collaboration.

The other key aim for the LGNewMedia site would be that it runs on freely available and easily obtainable open source software: WordPress for the main blog, PMWiki for the wiki, probably phpBB for the forum and Pligg for the Digg-link thing.

Rather than using several different systems, I’ve been thinking about using Drupal, which is pretty extensible, as the CMS for the whole thing. But, in conversation with Ben, it sounds like Drupal is not wiki-friendly, and the wiki will hopefully be the most important part of the whole arrangment. So it looks like I need to learn some better CSS to get a common template sorted out.

[tags]lgsearch, pmwiki, wordpress, drupal, pligg, phpbb, wiki, social media[/tags]