AquaPedia:About

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What is AquaPedia?

The AquaPedia Case Study Database was created for sharing insight and information about water conflicts and challenges, especially those that cross physical, sectoral, and political boundaries. It is a way for water professionals - scholars, managers and others - around the world to share what they have learned. AquaPedia is a way to synthesize our ability to address complex water problems around the globe.

An AquaPedia case study describes how multiple stakeholders - with competing and often conflicting interests – have been involved in efforts to address conflicting water issues. For such water issues scale and complexity are not easily separable: science, policy, and politics affect the outcome. These problems cannot be solved by science and technology alone. They require negotiated resolution of the science, policy, and politics of water. AquaPedia cases can describe how these events and negotiations have unfolded, highlights the ways in which scientific information has been used and the parties have managed their interactions.

This is a wiki-style resource that can be continuously updated by different contributors. It’s available to anyone who wants to explore how conflicting water issues have been addressed elsewhere, and discover transferrable insights. It is a collective effort to integrate multiple issues and perspectives, and build trust in the knowledge we create and solutions we propose.

Anyone can contribute to the database. It is a continuous process without end. AquaPedia is constantly growing and evolving, both in content and management. At the beginning of this project, in 2012, the content development was overseen by a staff member at Tufts University and a student intern with several graduate students involved in content creation.

The scope AquaPedia’s editorial oversight is limited to ensuring that facts and figures can be attributed, arguments and opinions are provided within the correct article types (ASI articles), and that discourse remains civil. AquaPedia editors are curators of information, not determining which view point is correct, but ensuring that represented information and viewpoints are accessible to users seeking the information.

About Case Studies

Case studies are used as tools to understand the complex contexts in which water problems occur. There are multiple case study databases for water problems on the internet. We have a List of Sources for Water Management and Water Conflict Case Studies that you can add to and edit. We hope that valuable information from these cases is included in AquaPedia to better link the resources to the individuals seeking both explicit and tacit water knowledge.

While many universities, NGOs, government agencies, and other groups have assembled case studies on water problems, these case studies are typically not linked to each other. Some are assembled from a particular point of view or to illustrate examples for a specific purpose. Some are shared on the internet, but some exist in only in academic texts or journals, making them difficult for some potential users to find.

Even of the case studies shared via the internet, some are presented entirely as downloadable documents, limiting the opportunity for the case to be found in an internet search. Some exist as "snapshots in time" and are not presented in a way that can be easily updated as the case grows over time.

We acknowledge that case studies can be an illustrative and useful tool, but these cases would be more useful if we can connect them, and

  1. make their core content more easily searchable,
  2. use structures for organizing information that helps people trying to solve water problems more efficiently find and learn about how these problems have been approached by others
  3. highlight and acknowledged different nuanced views and insights into water problems by both the groups involved with the issues and the scholars who study water cases.

About AquaPedia Case Studies

AquaPedia uses Semantic Mediawiki and Semantic Forms. The form based editing allows users to add important facts about riparians, rivers, infrastructure, case issues, and stakeholder groups without knowing much about wikitext or how semantic links work -- contributing users can add content and the system will insert the semantic meaning.

These facts also don't exist solely in tables, as in a traditional database. Detailed case studies and articles with supporting graphics or videos are connected to these facts. The semantic links allow for related articles to be connected -- links between articles include a relationship. Case studies link to the riparians involved. All background articles include a list of articles that are linked to them with a semantic relationship. You can learn more about semantic properties at Help:Semantic_Properties.

Each article on AquaPedia, including case studies, has its own discussion page. Anyone can add questions or comments about the case.

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Original Vision

AquaPedia Case Study Database was originally envisioned at Tufts University for these purposes:

  1. To organize and search information presented on case studies for complex water problems that cross boundaries (e.g.: spatial, temporal, cultural, etc)
  2. To incorporate and organize opposing views from existing case studies
  3. To provide a method for distilling knowledge that is useful to water managers and knowledge that is useful for water scholars in a simplified format.
  4. To develop case studies that can function as living documents and be updated as our understanding of the case and related events develop.