The Foundation Center has launched the next generation of IssueLab
By Mark Foley, Manager, Associates Program, Foundation Center
Announcement of new service:
The Foundation Center has launched the next generation of IssueLab, a web site that provides free and open access to resources that analyze the world’s most pressing social, economic, and environmental challenges and their potential solutions. The platform contains more than 11,000 documents and represents one of the largest collections of social sector knowledge, spanning 40 issues areas, from agriculture to immigration to welfare.
Earlier this year, the Foundation Center acquired IssueLab, then an independent online publishing forum. Since then, it has worked to integrate IssueLab with PubHub, the Center’s catalog of more than 7,000 annotated links to foundation-sponsored reports. The result is a unified platform that retains the name IssueLab and contains a wide range of case studies, white papers, evaluations, fact sheets, issue briefs, annual reports, and toolkits from the social sector.
“IssueLab’s integration into the Foundation Center is a critical first step in our ongoing commitment to the spirit and practice of data sharing,” said Gabriela Fitz, director of knowledge management initiatives at the Foundation Center. “This resource makes it easy for anyone to find, access, and share the collective intelligence of the social sector.”
IssueLab’s features include:
• Efficient searching and browsing by social issue area, author, publishing organization, or geography;
• A one-of-a-kind searchable database of more than 9,000 authors and researchers in the social sector; and
• The ability for any organization to add research to the collection as a way to share valuable resources with a broader audience.
In addition, IssueLab offers customizable “Knowledge Centers,” which organizations, coalitions, and networks can use to create and maintain their own online libraries in a proficient and sustainable way, while allowing automatic and easy sharing of their knowledge with new audiences through IssueLab.
As a centralized collection and knowledge sharing platform, IssueLab keeps users current on social sector research, and it also provides long-term access to important documents that may otherwise be lost. For example, when the organization Public/Private Ventures recently ceased operations after 35 years, its large body of groundbreaking research was transferred to the Foundation Center under a Creative Commons license. These reports — many that evaluate programs that help young people from high-poverty communities — are now part of IssueLab’s permanent collection and continue to be freely available to others working to help children, youth, and families.
The re-launch of IssueLab aligns with the Center’s Foundation Center 2020 strategic plan and reflects its commitment to building the global data platform for philanthropy, providing nonprofits with the resources they need to succeed, and empowering donors with knowledge tools for strategic decision making.
(Article originally published on FC website, December 2012 Associates Program newsletter)