Tools for Collaboration Between Transnational NGOs: Multilingual, Legislative Drafting

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ConferenceInternational Colloquium Communication and Democracy: Technology and Citizen Engagement, August 4-6, 2004., Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
AbstractNon-governmental organizations (NGOs) face a broad spectrum of barriers to effective transnational cooperation (y Siochr 2003). One critical barrier is the lack of ready access to software tools that facilitate transnational, multi-lingual, collaborative work. As an example, Civil Society's drafting processes for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) have been very complicated, tedious, and prone to error. Inputs are received from many NGOs or caucuses composed of NGOs. These inputs may consist of commentary or specific recommendations for language in some consensus document. All such inputs must be reconciled for inconsistencies, debated, and placed into a structure for the overall document. Complicating the process further is the fact that NGO communities are now often distribute across multiple languages. There are, for example, six official languages in WSIS. Truly democratic debate over document revisions is severely hampered until translations of a draft have been produced.The goal of strengthening transnational networks within civil society must, therefore, include the development of ICT tool sets that solve both the technical and social problems involved in managing formal or semi-formal democratic processes. A number of content management systems now exist that might be extended and adapted for this purpose, but no fully functional system as such exists. A critical factor in providing this type of tool is the use of a free software model. Proprietary solutions to various aspects of the problems of collaboration and multi-lingual drafting exist, but they are expensive for most NGOs to acquire and operate. This paper will present the context in which advanced collaboration tools for NGOs is needed. It will discuss general system requirements and provide technical background. Some current technologies that provide parts of the functionality needed to support greater collaboration among NGOs will be discussed. The paper will conclude by presenting a high-level technical architecture for such a system.
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AffiliationNational Research Council Canada; NRC Institute for Information Technology
Peer reviewedNo
NRC number48066
NPARC number8913621
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Record identifier345a33ae-7926-4b08-8b1a-358bb079f56a
Record created2009-04-22
Record modified2016-05-09
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