CSE is the developer and manager of the India Environment Portal, a one-stop shop for information and knowledge on environment and development issues. It is aimed at developing an open, networked and informed society, who can use knowledge to make change.
Open source platform for the people’s portal
The India Environment Portal has been developed using Drupal, an open source content management system that allows users to easily publish, manage and organize their content. The choice of an open source platform for the India Environment Portal reflects the strong belief that information must be widely accessible and freely shared among a vibrant community of information providers and seekers.
Tagged information for quick access
The key strength of the India Environment Portal is its use of a unique and built thesaurus of environmental and geographic terms. Each topic is classified and sub-classified and all information in the portal is manually tagged with a comprehensive thesaurus of more than 8000 environmental terms. This makes the search for resources more accurate, relevant and contextual.
The keywords, a relational database of environmental subjects, geographical location and names of the agents involved (government institutions, NGOs, industries, individuals, etc) allows users to track each resource not just by the subject but where it is located and who is the agent involved.
On-going documentation & content management
The environmental resource centre for CSE, one of the best environmental documentation facilities in Asia is responsible updating the portal every day with newspaper articles, features, magazine articles, books and documents. The CSE resource centre scans over 50 newspapers each day from across the country, in particular regional editions, to categorized information of relevance. The resource centre also scans over 1000 journals, e-documents and books to locate relevant information. Each day over 400 new records are tagged and accessioned, thus adding to the resources on a timely basis, essential for policy makers and other analysts. In addition to this, in-depth articles from Down To Earth are also tagged and updated on the portal on an ongoing basis. Currently the portal has more than 3, 50, 000 documents.
The in-depth section provides an overview on the critical issues as well as updated information on latest developments, policies and resources. In-depth sections on issues like- climate change, mining, public transport, pesticides & toxins, wildlife & people provide backgrounders, analysis, updated information and other resource materials.
Green directory on the portal lists key institutions working in the field of environment and serves as a gateway to such institutions by linking to their websites. We also hope that many of these institutions will become be nodes of the portal – joint collaborators and partners – so that their issues are also highlighted and disseminated.
This has been conceptualised as a people's portal which will be expanded in various phases to include collaborative features for active collation and exchange of data, research and information from people working in the field, in campaigns, in scientific institutions, in research and in industry.
It will provide easy-to-understand information that can be used by people, right from how to install a solar water heater to the best work in wastewater management. These will be virtual ‘how to do’ manuals – on subjects ranging from organic farming and vermiculture to solar energy, wastewater recycling and rainwater harvesting. The content of the portal is currently in English, but there are plans to make it available in other languages as well.
The ultimate aim is to expand the portal, identify regional portal nodes, train them and get contributions on environmental issues from researchers and NGOs across the country. Thus the portal will serve as an open-source platform consisting of a community of people and institutions from various regions across the country and will actively facilitate dynamic interaction and networking.