Fantastic OSINT Wiki on Non-State Actors in Sub-Saharan Africa

I’m doing some OSINT collection on Sub-Saharan Africa for work and came across a wiki project on Kris Wheaton’s blog on sources and methods in intelligence.

It’s an OSINT wiki project developed by Mercyhurst students on Sub-Saharan Africa. I take my hat off not only to the students but to everyone behind the Mercyhurst intelligence studies program! Talk about revolution in intelligence analysis! Seeing examples of this kind fills me with optimism for the future generation of intel analysts and at the same time overwhelms me with a feeling of lament how far Europe is lagging behind.

Of further interest to wiki enthusiasts will be a paper Kris Wheaton presented at this year’s ISA convention. In it, he discusses lessons learned from using a web-based collaborative tool, commonly referred to as a wiki, to create custom intelligence products for decisionmakers in national security, law enforcement and business. He argues that analysts are massively and consistently more productive using a wiki and observes that the reduction in time spent accomplishing administrative duties, while modest in individual terms, quickly add up giving the teams more time to spend analyzing the data and less time sorting it our or sending it around to other team members. This result is better, more nuanced, analysis no matter how difficult the problem or how successful the team ultimately is in examining the topic under discussion.



One Response

  1. Linda,

    Thanks for the hat tip. The students did do a great job with that project and we have received marvelous feedback from a wide variety of people on it.

    With respect to the wiki paper, the findings are clearly preliminary but I think they are strong enough to warrant further study. While I agree that analysts were more productive, the most interesting thing for me from the experience was that decisionmakers — and “senior” decisionmakers at that — actually liked the wiki format as well.

    BTW, the blog looks wonderful!


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