Knowledge Networks On the Web)
Resources For Development
rural communities have focused development efforts on local resources
- land, labor, or capital. In the 21st Century, the
successful mix of resources will include the ability of rural people
to use knowledge and technology to create competitive advantage.
Rural people will exchange information about local, nearby, regional,
national and global markets. Communities that generate and control
the distribution of knowledge will have an economic advantage over
those who do not. Therefore, the organization of a knowledge network
will become one of the key elements of building knowledge as a resource.
help people define and understand the organization of knowledge
networks, "Communityware", a new generation of interactive,
Internet-based tools are being developed. Communityware helps members
of a community visualize potential collaboration partners. It can
be used to answer questions about a community’s knowledge network,
such as, "Who knows what?" and equally important "Who
knows who knows what?" within the community.
the Knowledge Network
IKNOW (Inquiring Knowledge Networks On The Web) Rural Development
online communityware tool documents the knowledge network of rural
development practitioners in Illinois. This online questionnaire,
when completed by a member of the network captures four types of
data: (1) a communication network of community members — who knows
who in a community; (2) a knowledge network based on community members
providing an inventory of their skills and expertise— who knows
what in a community; (3) a knowledge network of members based on
the links between their web sites and common external web sites;
and (4) a knowledge network based on similarity in content (vocabulary)
among members' web sites. The data from these networks are automatically
captured and are expressed graphically to demonstrate how (through
which contacts) community members are linked to each other and to
external sources. Members of the IKNOW Rural Development can search
the database for individuals with specific knowledge or skills,
and for individuals who they are in contact with and who know others
with particular knowledge and skills — who knows who knows what.
to Access IKNOW Rural Development
login to IKNOW Rural Development, go to the Laboratory for Community
and Economic Development web site at http://www.ag.uiuc.edu/~lced/.
Once at the site, enter under the Community Development Initiative
and find the IKNOW Rural Development link.
you are a first time user of the IKNOW, then set up a new account,
otherwise login and enter your password. The first time you
visit the site, it is important to enter the information under the
Personal Info column on the left frame. After completing
each section, don’t forget to Submit to the database.
Contact Information: Enter your name, email, address, and
home Internet address. The URL for your website is important because
the program will compare the content of your web site to that of
others in the network.
your Password: You may change your password at any time.
Contacts: This section measures your interaction with other
members in the community. For each person listed, enter a score
that reflects your contact with that person. Show Scale defines
each number at the top of the table, and the corresponding level
Level of Interaction
with that member
than once a month
about once a month
twice a week
several times a day
Current Program Areas: Identify the rural development program
topics with which you are currently involved. If there is
a topic that is not included on the list, select Add and
insert the new topic.
Future Program Areas: To better understand the direction
where rural development practitioners will focus within the next
five years, you are asked to list future research and practice
Journals you Read: Identify which rural development journals
you read on a regular basis. If one is not listed, select Add
and include it on the list.
Journals You Publish In: Identify the Journals where you
have submitted articles for publishing. Be sure to Add to
the list if a journal is not listed.
Skills: Identify the skills you have that would contribute
to the knowledge and skill base of the network. Check as many categories
as appropriate and Add to
the list if a skill or technique is not listed.
Professional Organizations: Identify the professional organizations
to which you belong. Check all that apply and Add to the
list if an organization is not listed.
University/Organization: Identify your university or organization
. Add to the list if your organization or university is not
Long Term Goals: Describe your vision or long-term goals
for rural development in Illinois. This is an open-ended question,
yet the software will compare your response (key words) to those
of others in the community.
the analysis work?
the Analysis Column of the left frame you can explore the knowledge
network based on any of the input categories. For example, you can
examine a graphical display of a network based on: Members of the
network (Contacts), Current Program Areas, Future Program Areas,
Journals you Read, Journals you Publish In, Skills, Long Term Goals,
Internal Web Links, External Web Links, or Web Site Similarity.
It is possible to display a network of selected members, such as,
those who belong to a certain organization, or have reported a specific
Metrics: The network can be evaluated according to the strengths
of the links. The links between members of the network represent
similarities between two or more community members. The link can
show the strength between members according to how often they communicate,
or similarities with program areas, journals they read, identified
skills or their shared vision. The network can also identify cliques,
which are groups within the community (network) that have more in
common within the group than they do with the other members of the
success of this knowledge network depends on community members returning
to the web site to update their information and check on other developments.
As new people are added to the network, it is important to update
your contact information. At first you may wish to revisit the site
on a monthly basis and then once the network has stabilized revisit
the site about two to three times a year.
Fesenmaier (email@example.com) Laboratory for Community and Economic
Development, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 217/244-0120.
Rural Development copyrighted 1997 by the Board of Trustees of the
University of Illinois, Noshir Contractor, Barbara O'Keefe, and