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Published by Emilio Velis
Published 2021
License CC BY-SA 4.0

Appropedia allows a variety of content that can be used for different purposes that align with the goals of this wiki. This page describes the most common types of resources that we welcome, as well as their use cases.

General goal of content on Appropedia[edit source]

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Our community does not describe Appropedia as an encyclopedia, but as a compendium of knowledge to solve planetary problems, mostly from a human-centered perspective: poverty, climate change, conservation, health, education, etc. Appropedia focuses mostly on open know-how, which means that knowledge documented tries to help people and organizations understand, study and reproduce actions, to create an effect in their immediate environment.

Page types on Appropedia[edit source]

Appropedia can also be described as a library of technical knowledge, and as such, is varied and used in different ways. Here are some of the most common page types on Appropedia and how to find them on Appropedia.

Topic pages[edit source]

Topic or knowledge pages are usually intended to help readers expand their knowledge about a specific subject. They can relay knowledge, but they are not encyclopedic articles. They must provide the following:

  • A general overview of a concept, technology, skill or procedure.
  • A starting point to introduce the general concepts of a subject, subdivisions and other considerations.
  • Lists of examples and most common cases in the literature, including cases on Appropedia that may serve guide research on the subject or the selection of a technology to replicate.

Readers may use a topic page as a useful resource to explore the variety of use cases and experiences documented on Appropedia about a technology or a procedure.

Literature reviews[edit source]

Literature reviews list a summary of sources and commentary on a subject. Literature reviews on Appropedia are usually connected to a specific project that aims to develop or implement a specific method or technology. Despite being fairly personal (and messy) documents created during research, keeping documentation of the research process is a very valuable asset for future researchers to find relevant literature and to understand the reasoning behind design decisions for a project. They serve as an invaluable resource to understand the reasoning behind a specific project or design and produce verifiable information that can be reused in the future.

Devices and projects[edit source]

These pages usually describe a specific instance of a technical implementation, either through the design or construction of a specific, or by implementing a on a specific setting. To understand the difference between both categories, it is important to note that while many projects on Appropedia involve the construction of a device, they do not require it as they may use social or environmental methods and techniques. The possible use cases are:

  • Project pages that do not require the construction of a device. Examples are community-based projects (clean up projects, activism), disaster response and relief projects and others that involve mostly persons, having tools and technology as a secondary resource.
  • Project pages that involve the construction and deployment of devices. An example would be the study of how rocket stoves were built and used in a community.
  • Device pages which contain the bill of materials, assembly instructions and other resources needed to replicate it.

Skill-based content[edit source]

This refers to all how-tos and tutorials aimed at transferring know-how in different settings, such as education and international development. Skill-based content can take various forms on Appropedia, for example, technical briefs (publication by) and books (ported literature). These can be created by

Making documentation[edit source]

Appropedia has a set of tools and page types that can be used to describe a variety of things, ways of building these things, and experiences. These are designed to be adapted to different types of projects and to ensure their reproducibility and openness by teaching others the necessary knowledge and skills to understand, adapt and execute them.

Documentation is useful for a variety of situations and processes, for example: brainstorming ideas and idea mapping, designing a device, executing a project, or doing research. The community of Appropedians document real-world experiences by using the most common page types, or by combining them. For example, a nonprofit looking to co-create a new type of rocket stove for a community might research previous solutions through a literature review, test out designs and document their design files and assembly instructions on a device page, document how the construction went out with a project page, and create a step-by-step list of instructions on a skill page. We hope that Appropedia can serve all these purposes.

For this reason, we have considered the typology of hardware documentation, which considers elements such as instructions, design files [1][2], as well as of other types of projects such as the ones present in international development documentation.

See also[edit source]

References[edit source]

  1. Bonvoisin, J., & Mies, R. (2018). Measuring Openness in Open Source Hardware with the Open-o-Meter. Procedia CIRP, 78, 388–393.
  2. OSHWA Certification Process. (n.d.). Retrieved June 16, 2021, from