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Guideline to Acceptable Use of Internal Wikis and Blogs Within the Government of Canada

1. Effective date

This guideline takes effect on November 27, 2008.

2. Acknowledgements

Many people are gratefully acknowledged for their considerable contributions and significant commitment, effort, and support in making this guideline a reality.

Wiki Community Leaders

Thom Kearney

Architecture (Collaborative) Library

Helen Lavergne

Architecture (Collaborative) Library

Caroline Paterson

Architecture (Collaborative) Library

Jean Bernatchez

Green Information Technology (IT)

Peter de Souza

Management of IT Technology Directive

Vijay Shanker

Management of IT Technology Directive

Susan Hall

Management of IT Performance

Katie Hammoud

Management of IT Performance

Fraser Smith

Project Management

Valerie Wutti

Project Management

Advisors and Project Support

Peter Cowan

Natural Resources Canada, Resource Wiki

Marj Akerley

Natural Resources Canada, Resource Wiki

Barbara Dundas

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

Luc Bujold

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Corporate Communications

Maxime Guénette

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Corporate Communications

Ezana Berhane

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Policy Renewal Directorate

Christiane Ngo Manguelle

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Policy Renewal Directorate

Linda Dimitra Jones

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Policy Renewal Directorate

Sylvie Lemieux

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Official Languages

Robert Lévis

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Official Languages

Fanny Lemieux

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Strategic Communications, Parliamentary Relations

Andon Ignatov

Public Works and Government Services Canada, IT Shared Services Infrastructure and Support

Paul Johnston

Public Works and Government Services Canada, IT Shared Services Infrastructure and Support

Rick Lapenna

Public Works and Government Services Canada, IT Shared Services Infrastructure and Support

Chuck Shawcross

Public Works and Government Services Canada, IT Shared Services Infrastructure and Support

Bill Sourour

Public Works and Government Services Canada, IT Shared Services Infrastructure and Support

Policy Centres

Wendy Birkinshaw Malo

Common Look and Feel, Accessibility

Paul Jackson

Common Look and Feel, Accessibility

Pirthipal Singh

Common Look and Feel, Accessibility

Janice Yates

Common Look and Feel, Accessibility

Robert Bousquet

Strategic Communications and Federal Identity Program

Michelle Shipman

Strategic Communications and Federal Identity Program

Laura Simpson

Information Management

Caryn St. Amand

Information Management

Kim Steele

Information Management

Stephen Walker

Information Management

Michele Belisle-Hamel

Information, Privacy, and Security

Donald Lemieux

Information, Privacy, and Security

Sue Lajoie

Information, Privacy, and Security

Terry Murray

Information, Privacy, and Security

Pierre Boucher

Information Security

Chuck Henry

Information Technology

Louis-Phillipe Dubrule

Legal, Intellectual Property, Copyright

Deb Gallant-Gleddie

Legal, Intellectual Property, Copyright

Anne-Marie Carrière

Official Languages

Alexandre Desharnais

Official Languages

Sharon Ginsberg

Official Languages

Anna Zubrzycka

Official Languages

Mary Anne Stevens

Values and Ethics, Use of Electronic Networks

3. Introduction and purpose

This document provides practical advice and guidance on the acceptable use of wikis and blogs within the Government of Canada in the context of relevant policies and legislation. The scope of this guideline is limited to internal implementation and use on Government of Canada private electronic networks and for internal collaboration only. Participation on external Internet sites or on externally facing networks is not covered by this guideline.

The chief information officer of the Government of Canada is issuing this guideline to support the Policy on Management of Information Technology.

The relevant policy requirements are as follows:

6.1.1 Governance must be in place for information technology (IT) under the responsibility of the senior official for IT (wikis and blogs are Web-enabled IT tools);

6.1.2 Departmental IT investment plans are integrated into the overall business plans of the department (plans for the use of wikis and blogs must align with business requirements for departmental and government-wide collaboration environments in support of government business); and

6.1.3 Common or shared IT assets and services (such as the use of government-wide wikis and blogs) are used in departments to avoid duplication, when such assets and services are available and appropriate.

4. Context

Wikis and blogs are IT-enabled collaboration software tools that are part of what is called "Web 2.0." Web 2.0 refers to the next generation of World Wide Web technology characterized by software that enables users to easily create, modify, link, share, and post content through the use of a computer's Web browser in real time. This collaborative environment comes in the form of blogs, wikis (such as Wikipedia), and many new types of online social networking websites, such as Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn.

Today, many people use these tools extensively to rapidly build communities of interest-sharing information, experiences, ideas, and designs. The multiple-author capability of wikis makes them effective tools for mass collaborative authoring. These tools are typically relatively simple to learn and use.

Web 2.0 is a term that is commonly used to describe the shift of the Internet from a publishing environment to a participative environment. One potential opportunity for the Government of Canada is to use these tools internally to enhance the agility and breadth of consulting with horizontal functional communities. For example, wikis can be used by communities to review definitions or documents or to collaborate on developing the wording in directives, standards, or guidelines.

The use of wikis and blogs is new to the Government of Canada, and all groups will face challenges as they learn how to use these tools to build active communities and encourage participation.

Web 2.0 and other collaborative technologies pose a new challenge to norms. Society and technology are ever-changing, and the Government of Canada needs to adapt to these changes while still respecting existing laws, policies, directives, and standards.

5. Departmental guidance

This section provides departments with specific advice and guidance on key relevant policies and legislation when implementing wikis and blogs.

Wikis and blogs can be implemented to work within and across departmental boundaries. They provide public service employees with real-time access to information, ideas, and dialogues, which fosters effective and efficient interactions between colleagues.

When implementing blogs and wikis, departments should do the following:

  1. select, acquire, and implement IT-enabled applications, including wikis and blogs, in accordance with the Policy on Management of Information Technology;

  2. use, whenever available and appropriate, common or shared IT services to avoid duplication and potentially to increase the size and breadth of the user community, such as by using a government-wide wiki;

  3. undertake a functional assessment to address any legal, procurement, security, information management (IM), and IT issues;

  4. implement an accessible environment;

  5. consult with departmental policy officials (especially those responsible for access to information and privacy (ATIP), communications, and official languages) to ensure compliance with existing departmental policies and directives;

  6. inform users of their obligations with respect to appropriate behaviour and content;

  7. ensure that modifications to content and discussion pages are attributable to registered users (i.e., avoid anonymous contributions);

  8. encourage people to work in the official language of their choice; and

  9. create and maintain a work environment conducive to the use of both official languages in accordance with the requirements of the Official Languages Act and related policy instruments.

Blog owners, wiki community leads, and topic area leaders may typically be asked to take responsibility for many aspects of departmental oversight, such as monitoring and addressing inappropriate community behaviour, determining governance for content changes, and assessing when content should be bilingual. The department may want to ask specific individuals (e.g., subject matter experts) to take on a community lead role or may want to publish a notice outlining the expected authorities and responsibilities of people who assume the role of a community or topic leader.

5.1 Procurement

Much popular blog and wiki software is free and open source software (FOSS). Departments considering acquiring and installing FOSS are advised to consult with their departmental head of IT on the acquisition and use of FOSS.

Note that active participation in contributing any software development or in distributing changes to FOSS outside of the federal Crown can put the Crown at risk of litigation and is therefore not recommended.

A working group under the auspices of the Chief Information Officers Council (CIOC) is currently developing a Government of Canada position on the acquisition of FOSS in the context of Web 2.0 technologies.

Departments are encouraged to investigate the availability and appropriateness of using a shared wiki service offered by the Information Technology Services Branch of Public Works and Government Services Canada rather than installing their own. The advantages of this approach include the following:

  • it reaches a much broader wiki or blog audience and more horizontal communities than a department-only initiative; and

  • it meets the requirements of the Policy on Management of Information Technology to ensure that common or shared IT assets and services are used in departments to avoid duplication, when such assets and services are available and appropriate.

5.2 Copyright

Departments are advised that copyright considerations need to be respected not only with respect to the content produced on blogs and wikis but also to the software that enables it. As detailed in the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, Policy Requirements, under Copyright and Licensing, "Institutions must comply with the Copyright Act and ensure that the ownership rights associated with works subject to copyright are fully respected in all media applications."

5.3 Access to information and privacy

All information posted to blogs and wikis is subject to the provisions of the access to information Act and the Privacy Act. It is recommended that departments ensure that their wikis and blogs contain appropriate notices that advise contributors in that regard. The department's ATIP office can be consulted for assistance. The business leader (or owner) of the wiki or blog would normally work with the departmental ATIP coordinator to respond to any access to information requests.

5.4 Common Look and Feel

The Common Look and Feel Standards for the Internet (CLF 2.0) does not apply to Web-enabled applications or websites that are only available to internal Government of Canada users; it is considered, however, a best practice to use CLF rules as much as possible when implementing collaborative tools such as wikis and blogs.

5.5 Federal identity

The Federal Identity Program (FIP) and the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada apply to wikis and blogs. Departments are advised that these policies require that the institution's official FIP symbols be displayed in a manner consistent with the positioning required by CLF. The signature of the Government of Canada (or that of the department or agency) and the "Canada" wordmark are to be displayed in the top left and top right positions respectively on each page.

5.6 Accessibility

The Policy on the Duty to Accommodate Persons with Disabilities in the Federal Public Service enables an inclusive, barrier-free environment in the federal Public Service to ensure the full participation of persons with disabilities. This policy is consistent with various legal principles and existing legislation such as Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Canadian Human Rights Act and the Employment Equity Act.

For best practices on implementing the above mentioned policy, please refer to Common Look and Feel Standards for the Internet, Part 2: Standard on the Accessibility, Interoperability and Usability of Web Sites. Key accessibility features include the use of XHTML, scalable fonts, cascading style sheets, and text indicating the format and size of uploaded documents. Screen reader support can be provided by using text equivalents for non-textual elements (such as images) with <ALT> tags and by avoiding the use of colour alone to convey special information.

Requirements in Part 2 of the Common Look and Feel Standard referenced above can be met by implementing accessible skins (templates), ensuring that the wiki or blog software is accessible, enabling users to generate accessible content, and monitoring and correcting any accessibility issues with user-generated content.

  • Accessible skins (templates): Most wiki and blog software packages provide the ability to customize the interface through the use of skins to ensure consistent navigation, layout, and design. Providing accessible skins for all wiki and blog implementations can have a significant effect on the level of accessibility of each wiki and blog page. Skins based on the CLF 2.0 template can help to ensure a consistent navigation experience and take advantage of accessible features that have already been implemented on many Government of Canada websites.

  • Accessible wiki or blog software: Most wiki and blog software packages have built-in specialized pages (such as edit and preferences pages) that may not be accessible. Departments are advised to ensure that they either procure software that is accessible or takes steps to assure accessibility.

  • Enabling users to generate accessible content: Most contributors will have very limited knowledge related to developing accessible content. Although posting plain, unformatted text will rarely introduce accessibility issues, it can be difficult for contributors to make specialized content accessible. Examples of specialized content include data tables, images, links, and multimedia. It is recommended that tools and guidance documents be provided to assist users in creating accessible content.

  • Monitoring and correcting any accessibility issues with user-generated content: In many cases, tools and guidance documents alone are not sufficient for ensuring that contributors are generating accessible content. Monitoring can help wiki and blog users with administrative privileges detect and correct accessibility issues in user-generated content. Some accessibility checks can be automated through the use of accessibility validation tools, but other accessibility checks can be more subjective and are best performed manually.

5.7 Official languages

Government of Canada blogs and wikis are considered regularly and widely used work instruments and part of work environments. Departments are therefore advised that the policy requirements relating to regions designated as bilingual for language-of-work purposes apply as stated in the Treasury Board Policy on Language of Work, Directive on the Use of Official Languages in Electronic Communications, and Directive on the Use of Official Languages on Web Sites.

In regions designated bilingual for language-of-work purposes, blogs and wikis are considered bilingual work instruments. Departments would need to provide blog and wiki interfaces in both official languages and permit any user to choose their preferred official language to be compliant with official languages requirements. Users are encouraged to add information in the official language of their choice.

In certain circumstances, such as a controlled access site, blogs and wikis may be in one official language. Guidance on this is provided in theDirective on the Use of Official Languages on Web Sites.

Blogs or wikis are not required to be bilingual when used exclusively by employees who are located in a region designated as unilingual for language-of-work purposes. The language of use is the language that predominates in that region. In the case where the department determines that bilingual blogs and wikis are required, the following terms and conditions are suggested:

Bilingual blogs

  • The department posts the initial blog in both official languages.

  • The department posts a notice on the blog indicating the terms of reference regarding the use of official languages.

  • Users can respond to any post, or any reply to any post, in the official language of their choice.

  • The department ensures that its response to a post is in the official language in which the post was received.

  • The department advises users that the responses or replies displayed are in the language in which they were received.

  • If a department decides to provide summaries of the blog, it ensures that the summaries are posted in both official languages simultaneously and are of equal quality.

Bilingual wikis

  • All official wiki best practices pages, navigation, and official departmental positions are available in both official languages simultaneously and are of equal quality.

  • The department posts a notice on the wiki indicating the terms of reference regarding the use of both official languages.

  • Pages in development

    1. The department can decide to make them available in either one or both official languages.
    2. When users are asked to edit pages, they can do so in their preferred official language.
    3. Once the content is finalized and approved it is bilingual, or a link to the final document where there are English and French versions is provided. Both versions are posted simultaneously and are of equal quality. The appropriate links are established between the English and French versions. The department ensures that the document is posted in both official languages.
    4. When the content does not reach a final version but changes continually, the department determines at which point the content should be made available in both official languages.
  • Discussion pages
    1. Discussion pages are made available in both official languages.
    2. Users contribute in their preferred official language.
    3. If a department decides to provide summaries, the summaries are posted in both official languages simultaneously and are of equal quality.

5.8 Information security

It is recommended that departments review the requirements in the Government Security Policy so that information posted to an internal wiki or blog is protected with controls commensurate with the protected or classified nature of that information. The policy further indicates that classified information can only reside on a wiki or blog that is situated within a classified network and that is limited to individuals that have a need to know.

5.9 Communications

Departmental heads of communications are responsible for internal communications and have an oversight role on Web content. In this regard it is recommended that departments inform their heads of communications of projects involving wikis and blogs. The departmental communications strategist(s) or advisor(s) can provide advice and guidance where there is any uncertainty about the nature or appropriateness of intended contributions or discussions on wikis and blogs. For further information see the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada.

5.10 Governance-Operations and oversight

Blogs and wikis are essentially electronic repositories of information in collaborative environments. It is recommended that wiki and blog governance be clear, succinct, and well communicated so that participants may be made aware of how decisions are made regarding changes to content.

Departments are advised to ensure that contributors are informed of the implications of posting information on a departmental blog or wiki. Departments may choose to have users accept a terms of use agreement that governs the wiki or blog before access is granted or, alternatively, may choose to post appropriate notices on the wiki or blog.

It is suggested that departments ensure that users are:

  1. informed of their responsibilities depending on their roles (e.g., blog owners, authors, contributors, community leads, or users that only view content);
  2. informed that content will be monitored and by whom it will be monitored;
  3. aware that all information posted on wikis and blogs is subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act;
  4. advised that their content can and may be modified (i.e., deleted, edited, or added to) by the department or other users;
  5. informed of their obligations with respect to appropriate behaviour and content;
  6. encouraged to work in the official language of their choice; and
  7. registered and have a valid Government of Canada email account to ensure that all contributions (i.e., content or material on discussion pages) are attributable.

6. User guidance

This section provides Government of Canada users of wikis and blogs with specific advice and guidance on key relevant policies, legislation, and best practices.

In keeping with the spirit of the people values outlined in the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service, participants are advised to demonstrate respect, fairness, and courtesy in dealing with their colleagues as well as to respect the diversity of opinions and the linguistic duality of Canada.

6.1 Acceptable use of electronic networks

Participants are advised that the Treasury Board Policy on the Use of Electronic Networks states that Government of Canada electronic networks are to be used by authorized individuals to responsibly carry out the business of government.

Unlawful use means activities that could bring sanctions of different kinds in a court of law. These activities may be criminal in nature or violations of regulatory statutes or may result in civil action lawsuits of the authorized user, the department, or both. Unacceptable use means activities that violate Treasury Board policies, such as the Government Security Policy, as well as theValues and Ethics Code for the Public Service or the Criminal Code.

For further information see the Policy on the Use of Electronic Networks, whichcommunicates the Government of Canada's expectations of acceptable use and provides information and examples of unacceptable or unlawful activity.

6.2 Access to information and privacy

All information posted to blogs and wikis is subject to the provisions of the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. It is recommended that contributors be made aware of the implications of posting information on a departmental blog or wiki. See also Section 4.7, "Information Security," for details on posting classified or protected information.

6.3 Personal information

It is suggested that personal information not be posted on a departmental blog or wiki. Personal information includes résumés, educational credentials, home addresses, personal identifiers, and photographs.

The Privacy Act, however,states that certain types of personal information are excluded from the definition for purposes of use and disclosure and therefore need not be protected. This means that these types of personal information may be posted on a departmental wiki or blog. These types of information include the following:

  • information about an individual who is or was an officer or employee of a government institution that relates to the position or functions of the individual, including the following:

    • the fact that the individual is or was an officer or employee of the government institution;
    • the title, business address, and telephone number of the individual;
    • the classification, salary range, and responsibilities of the position held by the individual;
    • the name of the individual on a document prepared by the individual in the course of employment; and
    • the personal opinions or views of the individual given in the course of employment; and
  • information about an individual who is or was performing services under contract for a government institution that relates to the services performed, including the terms of the contract, the name of the individual, and the opinions or views of the individual given in the course of the performance of those services.

Wiki contributors may post non-protected personal information to the user page associated with their wiki user account; it is suggested, however, that such information be relevant to the business of the Government of Canada. Personal information that may be relevant includes departmental subject matter areas of expertise and work coordinates (including email address and government-issued telephone and cell phone number).

The departmental ATIP coordinator can provide clarification and additional information.

6.4 Personal opinions

Personal opinions that relate to the position and functions of the individual as an employee or of the individual in the performance of services under contract with the federal government and that would have normally been expressed in the course of their duties may be expressed on wikis and blogs.

The Policy on the Use of Electronic Networks states that the posting of personal Web pages on Government of Canada resources is not permitted. It adds, however, that authorized users may use specifically designated Government of Canada resources to post personal information, provided such information is relevant to the business of the department and is in compliance with all other aspects of the policy.

Wiki contributors may also post their personal opinion about the content of a particular wiki article. It is suggested, however, that the information be posted to the discussion page associated with the wiki article and not to the article itself. The opinion expressed should be one that the individual would have normally expressed in the course of fulfilling his or her duties as a public service employee or as a person performing services under contract with the federal government. In expressing personal opinions, individuals are advised to be respectful of other wiki contributors and of their contributions. Acceptable use of wikis and blogs is consistent with the requirements and expectations contained in the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service and the Policy on the Use of Electronic Networks.

6.5 Copyright-Content considerations

As detailed in Section 28 of the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, "Copyright and Licensing, institutions must comply with the Copyright Act and ensure that the ownership rights associated with works subject to copyright are fully respected in all media applications. This includes ensuring that no copyright material is posted on a wiki or blog without the express permission of the owner.

6.6 Intellectual property

All contributions made on a wiki or blog are provided freely and are therefore available for use by the Crown and its employees. Intellectual property rights for all content created on a blog or wiki by public service employees reside with the Crown. Intellectual property rights for consultants are as specified in the consultant's contract with the Crown. Ownership of the overall wiki or blog resides with the Crown. If in doubt, consult your departmental contracting authority. For more information see the Copyright Act.

6.7 Information security

Users are advised that the Government Security Policy indicates that classified information is not to be posted on a blog or wiki. It specifies that information posted to an internal wiki or blog must be protected with controls commensurate with the protected or classified nature of that information. The policy further indicates that classified information can only reside on a wiki or blog that is situated within a classified network and that is limited to individuals that have a need to know.

6.8 Official languages

Blog and wiki users are encouraged to contribute in their language of choice.

A blog or wiki is not required to be bilingual when used exclusively by employees who are located in a region designated as unilingual for language-of-work purposes. The language of use would be the language that predominates in that region.

For wiki users who take on the role of a community or topic area leader, Section 3.7 of this guideline, "Official languages", provides additional guidance (such as determining when to provide bilingual pages).

6.9 Information management stewardship

Recognizing the value of information and managing it well is pivotal to our success as individual employees and as an organization. Documents provide an important record of the circulation of information, the actions taken, the decisions made, and the reasons for all of these, allowing for transparency and accountability.

Blogs and wikis do not have records management retention and disposition specifications. Page (article or document) ownership can become unclear when several people on a wiki make changes to the content of a page. For most business purposes, documents (or pages) must come to official or final stages, possibly for formal or more extensive consultation or to be used as an authoritative version. It is recommended that the content author take responsibility for the retention and disposition decisions and processes: this may be as simple as moving finished content to another document form and maintaining the official record in a records management repository, such as the Records, Document and Information Management System (RDIMS). For additional information, see the Policy on Information Management.

6.10 Accessibility

The content posted to a wiki or a blog should not introduce accessibility issues. Although posting plain unformatted text will rarely introduce accessibility issues, posting specialized content, such as data tables, images, links, or multimedia, significantly increases the risk of introducing accessibility issues. For additional information see the Common Look and Feel Standards for the Internet, Part 2: Standard on the Accessibility, Interoperability and Usability of Web Sites.

6.11 Communications

Departmental heads of communications are responsible for internal communications and have an oversight role on Web content. In this regard it is recommended that departments inform their head of communications of projects involving wikis and blogs. The departmental communications strategist(s) or advisor(s) can provide advice and guidance when there is any uncertainty on the nature or appropriateness of intended contributions or discussions on wikis and blogs. For further information, see the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada.

7. Conclusion

The interest in and use of Web 2.0 collaboration tools, including wikis and blogs, across the Government of Canada is steadily gaining momentum. The use of these tools in the workplace has the potential to significantly increase both efficiency and effectiveness by enabling horizontal functional communities to be more engaged and collaborative. This guideline is intended to support the implementation of these innovative technologies by providing advice on their acceptable use and best practices.

7.1 Next review date

This document will be reviewed and updated by March 31, 2010. It will be subsequently updated on an annual basis.

7.2 Enquiries and comments

Please direct any enquiries or comments about this guideline to:

Chief Information Officer
Chief Information Officer Branch
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
2745 Iris Street
Ottawa ON K1A 0R5
Telephone: 613-957-7070
Fax: 613-952-8536

8. References

  • Access to Information Act
  • Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • Canadian Human Rights Act
  • Common Look and Feel for the Internet 2.0
  • Common Look and Feel Standards for the Internet, Part 2: Standard on the Accessibility, Interoperability and Usability of Web Sites
  • Communications Policy of the Government of Canada (soon to be the Policy on Government of Canada Communications)
  • Copyright Act
  • Directive on Management of Information Technology
  • Directive on the Use of Official Languages on Web Sites
  • Directive on the Use of Official Languages in Electronic Communications
  • Employment Equity Act
  • Federal Identity Program
  • Financial Administration Act
  • Government Security Policy
  • Official Languages Act
  • Policy Framework for Information and Technology
  • Policy on Access to Information
  • Policy on the Duty to Accommodate Persons with Disabilities in the Federal Public Service
  • Policy on Language of Work
  • Policy on Information Management
  • Policy on Management of Information Technology
  • Policy on Privacy Protection
  • Policy on the Use of Electronic Networks
  • Privacy Act

9. Definitions

Authorized individuals
employees of the federal government, contractors, and other persons who have been authorized by the deputy head to access electronic networks.
Administrator
a user with maximum administrative privileges and not necessarily a member of any specific community on the wiki. Administrators assist users with wiki and blog problems, monitor the wiki or blog, and help improve the experience for users overall.
Author
a blog user with posting rights; these users are usually few in number, in many cases no more than one when most of the blog's content is composed of responses to the author's posts.
Blog, or Web log

a specialized online site similar to an online diary that allows a group of individuals to share a running log of events and personal insights with other online audiences. Blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject, such as food, politics, or local news; some function as personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, Web pages, and media related to its topic. Readers' ability to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs. Blogs can be thought of as a simple replacement for email threads that are intended for a broad audience or functional community.

Blogs can be used to share the status of an issue or initiative with a broad community in a simple manner through a website using special-purpose blog software. Updates are posted frequently, typically daily, by the blog owner or author. Anyone in the community may reply to any of the posts and may reply to other replies that are published on the blog. The site is usually set up so that the most up-to-date entry is at the top of the page with the rest following in reverse chronological order. Replies may be screened (moderated) by the owner before posting on the website to ensure that there is no profanity, racial slurs, or other inappropriate language or behaviour.

A blog is effective when there is a sufficiently large community of people interested in the topic, the content is updated frequently, and there is a reasonably high number of participants on the blog site.

Contributor
a user of a wiki who edits pages, adding to the total content; some may prefer to make only small changes, while others add large amounts of content. Wiki gnome users are contributors who mainly make stylistic, formatting, or grammar-related changes to improve the overall quality of the content.
Community leads
the people responsible for engaging their colleagues in a knowledge exchange. They may have some administrative privileges, such as creating accounts for new users. Community leads participate greatly in their community pages by setting them up, monitoring them, steering the discussions, and attempting to boost user participation. They also indicate how the content area is governed. Community leads should be familiar with the wiki and should always be learning more about how it works as they participate in their wiki community. Community leads must also fully understand the code of ethics and acceptable use behaviour and ensure that all members of the community abide by the acceptable use guideline.
Department
a federal entity as defined in Schedule II of the Financial Administration Act unless excluded by specific acts, regulations, or Orders in Council.
Electronic networks
groups of computers and computer systems that can communicate with each other. Without restricting the generality of the foregoing, these networks include the Internet, networks internal to an institution, and public and private networks external to an institution.
Information management
a discipline that directs and supports effective and efficient management of information in an organization, from planning and systems development to disposal or long-term preservation.
Information technology
any equipment or system that is used in the automatic acquisition, storage, manipulation, management, movement, control, display, switching, interchange, transmission, or reception of data or information. It includes all matters concerned with the design, development, installation, and implementation of information systems and applications to meet business requirements.
Internal collaboration
the process of working together with one or more other individuals internal to an organization (in this case the Government of Canada) in pursuit of common objectives.
Personal information

information about an identifiable individual that is recorded in any form. The Privacy Act provides the following examples of personal information:

  • information relating to the education or employment history of the individual, such as found on a résumé;
  • any identifying number, symbol, or other particular assigned to the individual, such as a Social Insurance Number (SIN) or Personal Record Identifier (PRI);
  • the address, fingerprints, or blood type of the individual;
  • the views or opinions of another individual about the individual; and
  • the name of the individual where it appears with other personal information relating to the individual or where the disclosure of the name itself would reveal information about the individual.
Private electronic networks
in the context of this guideline, electronic networks that are internal to an institution (i.e. the Government of Canada electronic networks).
Viewer
a user who does not usually contribute to the blog or wiki but mainly reads it to gain information and learn from the available content. Most users (80 to 90 per cent) fall into this category.
Wiki
a Web-enabled application that uses a Web browser composed of content pages and discussion pages that can be easily and quickly created and modified by any user who has been granted access. Wiki is derived from the Hawaiian word "wiki wiki" meaning quick.
Wiki page
a single page is referred to as a wiki page, while the entire collection of all the pages is referred to as the wiki.

10. Sample privacy notice

Departments can post this sample privacy notice on their wikis or blogs.

The Government of Canada is committed to providing visitors with websites that respect their privacy. This page summarizes the privacy policy and practices on the Department X wiki [blog].

  • To register you to this wiki [blog] so you may contribute with comments or other content, we require certain personal information from you. Your personal information will be used to create an account for you thereby giving you permission to access and use the wiki [blog].

  • You should also be aware that any information you post to a federal government wiki or blog is subject to the provisions of the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act, which means that the information may be accessed and disclosed in response to a request under either of these acts.

  • Wiki [blog] users are advised not to post personal information on this wiki [blog]. Personal information includes résumés, educational credentials, home addresses, personal identifiers, and photographs. Non-protected personal information and information that is relevant to the business of the Government of Canada is normally acceptable. This type of information includes your subject matter areas of expertise within the department and your work coordinates (including email address and government-issued telephone and cell phone number).

  • This wiki [blog] may use cookies to improve your navigation experience or to allow you to choose to stay logged on across multiple sessions. It does not normally use cookies to track how visitors use this site or to determine sites previously visited. If cookies are in use and you have your cookies notification option activated on your browser, the system will notify you before any cookies are used so that you may refuse them. (A cookie is a file that may be placed on your hard drive without your knowledge by a website to allow it to monitor your use of the site.)

  • Should you have any questions about this notice or wish to access your personal information under the Privacy Act, please contact your departmental privacy coordinator at XXX. For more information about privacy issues and the Privacy Act, you may contact the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada at 1-800-282-1376