Getting Started Guide

This guide helps users learn the basics of using The Observatory Tool.

After reading this guide, you will know:

  • The general layout of the interface.
  • The basic principles of content harvesting and filtering.
  • How to search and browse for items.
  • How to access the items and sources using third-party software.

The Getting Started guide is available for download in English as a PDF.

The text of the GIPO Tool getting started guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Dashboard User Guide

This guide is designed to familiarize you with GIPO's Tool Dasboard.

After reading this guide, you will know:

  • The general layout of the interface.
  • How to customize dashboard elements.
  • How to save and load saved dashboards.

The Dashboard User Guide is available for download in English as a PDF.

The text of the GIPO's Tool Dasboard User Guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.



Q: What version of the tool am I using?

A: This is the first public version, and the second in a series of four releases ending in December 2016. Current version is focused on improving the effectiveness of search results and providing a more usable interface to the end user.

Q: Is the current version a reliable software release?

A: The software is currently in a beta stage, so you may face some bugs and missing features but overall it will give you a thorough impression of what we consider a tool of this type should offer.

Q: How do I submit bugs and feedback?

A: If you have any suggestions on how The Observatory Tool might improve - by doing things better or offering new functionalities –, you are welcome to send us your comments using the contact form available within the tool.

Q: We are an initiative. How can we collaborate with GIPO?

A: We are eager to collaborate with other observatories and initiatives focused on Internet Governance topics in several ways, such as making efforts to standardize data sharing methods. For more information please contact us.


Q: What are the options for finding specific Items?

A: In essence we have developed an interface that serves two main user strategies for exploring the information collected by the tool: browsing and query searching. Generally speaking query searching is suitable for users that want to see items which meet their criteria. Browsing is more suitable for users that prefer to be led through a series of choices to help them narrow their focus. Each of these information retrieval approaches has advantages and drawbacks, and frequently the best option for a user is to combine both. For instance you can start with a query and then refine it by browsing the metadata associated with the search results.

Q: Is it better to browse than to search?

A: Our aim is to design and offer a software tool for the global community, and suitable for different types of users, being them experts in the Internet Governance field or layman users with lack of domain knowledge. Experts usually know which terms/keywords can be selected within each Internet Governance issue, and thus formulate an efficient query in fewer steps to complete a search. On the contrary, layman users may not have a clearly defined information need, or they simply do not know the terminology associated with some issues. We consider that browsing is especially appropriate for them.


Q: Does this software rely on standards?

A: Yes. The Observatory Tool is built on open standards, which are necessary for data and systems to be interoperable.

Q: Does this tool offer machine-friendly access?

A: Yes. For this version of the tool we offer output feeds in open, machine-readable and standard format (XML-RSS). Every feed contains a list of the items or entries gathered by GIPO for a specific Internet governance aspect covered in the tool. Moreover all information sources covered by GIPO tool can be downloaded as an OPML file.

Q: What type of metadata are being distributed?

A: Each entry in the feed includes all the relevant metadata such as category, tags, or even the URL pointing to the copyright page or legal notice in the original source. This way any user or observatory can use their own tool or services to properly handle further aggregation and filtering for own presentation and analysis purposes.


Q: What are the main technologies used by this tool?

A: The presentation layer with which users or external services interact is on top of a powerful and scalable system that includes web crawlers, semantic services, and other state-of-the-art software components.

Q: How can I review the automated decision-making process?

A: Complex as it is, users can still get a glimpse of what is behind the scenes in an automated tool like this. We provide all users (read-only) access to a simple but effective filtering system based on rules for recognition of keywords and named entities. Any user can suggest more filters or changes to the current ones.


Getting Started

Welcome to your GIPO home page. From here you can do many things.

  • Explore


    Search information on Internet policy developments and decisions

  • Visualize


    Discover and analyze trends with your own graphical dashboard

  • Build


    Get useful data for your website and develop apps using the API

More info
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