Virtual knowledge communities: lessons learned in making them work


  • Anne Hardon


This case study analyses the development of three online communities, facilitated by KIT Information & Library Services. The development of these communities started in 2003, with the objective to exchange information with partners in developing countries on Information Management, Gender, Society and Development, and Sexual Health. A year later the platform was designed and online operations of the communities could start. After a pilot period of 20 weeks, an evaluation was carried out.

This article looks at the objectives behind the launch of these online communities, describes why the development took seven months, and discloses the evaluation results. It concludes with reasons why two of the three communities were closed down, explores whether this could have been prevented and draws the lessons learned from the exercise.