This outline is a work in progress towards the establishment of a modular design and implementation of a virtually free, rich, open source, database-driven multi-purpose platform for a non-profit or community-based organization.
A prototype implementation is under way for a ten year initiative of the NGO Committee on Education of CONGO - the Conference Of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations. Networks of inter-related web-sites are being developed in support of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014), the Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (2001-2010) and related overlapping Decades.
The design is also being offered as a draft framework for the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues - established in July 200 with a mandate to "discuss indigenous issues within the mandate of the Council relating to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights - with the goal of establishing an ongoing global forum that would enable local, regional and global dialogue among indigenous communities to make use of increasingly affordable convergent media-rich digital technologies to support broad-based participation a diversity of modalities of participation and consultation among the world's indigenous communities - on issues expressed in the Draft United Nations declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples and under consideration during the Second International Decades of the World's Indigenous People (2005-2014).
The design is predicated on the observation of the existence of a common set of functions and processes of non-profit and community-based organizations - membership, meetings, newsletters, documents/reports, committees and sub-committees, projects, campaigns, events, forums, fund-raising, education, outreach, etc.
The modular design of the architecture means that each committee, project, campaign, etc. can have its own section of the site based on variations of a common template that has the same features as the site as a whole - e.g. each committee has space for membership. meetings, projects, events, etc.
The domains are designed to be interactive and participatory, with a choice of options for registered participants to contribute: in a community blog, in wiki spaces, or through the use of easy-to-use forms - e.g. for posting information on upcoming events, news items, information of interest, web resources, books, etc.
A key element of the design is the adoption of a common set of protocols for forms, form fields and scripts to provide for the most effective integration of information, and to enable ready sharing and exchange of information - e.g. integration of calendar-related information - within and between organizations - for example - and where applicable, to provide the ability to tap into common external bodies of knowledge.
It is protocols that define the Internet and enable the remarkable degree of interoperability and free exchange of information already supported by the Internet. The adoption of common data exchange protocols would represent a significant next phase in the Internet - Web 3.0? Among other things, this would be of significant value in the compilation of a rich public domain with common bodies of knowledge and public information - whether demographic, economic, geographic, hydrological, botanical, etc.
For a registration page, for example, common protocols will be used for the names, format and sizes of the various contact information elements - with both country-specific and international protocols. Common names of states or provinces and cities, with applicable GIS information would be accessible for download and integrated as selectable form options and into an organization's database.
Books provide a good example of drawing on existing information, and a form for sharing book recommendations would have a field for the book's ISBN number. Providing the ISBN number would activate a script for automatic retrieval of the bibliographic information and could also generate a link to the publisher's web site or to online book sellers.
References to United Nations documents, global agreements, conventions and treaties will be linked into a common hyperlinked body of such documents already under development at www.un-documents.net
Similarly, a plant identification form for a community garden web site - for which La Perla Garden in New York's Upper West Side will be serving as a prototype - will be linked into a botanical database that can either generate or create access to a web page - or set of web pages - with a wealth of information about the plant and its properties, uses, geographical distribution, place in the Linnaean system of classification and its relationship with other plants and species - e.g. milk weed and the Monarch butterfly - etc.
Web Application Toolkit
Web forms offer the simplest way to gather information contributed to a web site
More to come ...