Pop Quiz: If you wanted to find the latest published research on arts and culture, immigration reform, health care children and youth – or any other of the many program areas in which foundations and their grantees work – where would go?
Before you answer that – here’s a bonus question: If you had research on those – and other topics – where would you turn for help in getting this knowledge into the hands of people who need to see it?
In both cases, the correct answer is IssueLab.
Billed as the “online home to the collective intelligence of the social sector,” IssueLab has recently undergone a major upgrade and has been integrated with the Foundation Center’s PubHub, an annotated catalog of of more than 7,000 annotated links to foundation-sponsored reports.
The service, which now contains more than 11,000 documents, represents “one of the largest collections of social sector knowledge, spanning 40 issue areas, from agriculture to immigration to welfare,” says Gabriela Fitz, director of knowledge management initiatives at the Foundation Center.
IssueLab has been in operation for several years, but thanks to the Foundation Center’s recent acquisition of the service, it’s now poised to do more and for more people.
Among IssueLab’s key services and activities are these:
- Providing easy online access to a digital archive of foundation and nonprofit research.
- Offering users a fast and efficient way to distribute their own research widely through IssueLab’s channels, which can increase the chances it will be seen by policymakers, journalists and other key audiences.
- Helping foundations to better manage and publicize the research work of their grantees.
There’s no cost to use IssueLab and it’s easy to set up an account. Once you do, you can upload electronic versions of your organization’s white papers, reports and other publications so they become part of the site’s permanent collection and available for anyone searching for information on those topics. As a user you can also use IssueLab’s tools to search by author, issue area, geography or by name of organization.
“Our goal is simple,” says Fitz, “to collect and share the intelligence of the social sector.” She adds that “we also know that nonprofit research deserves a lot more exposure than it currently gets. We’re talking about an incredibly diverse body of research that dates back decades and simply lacks a publishing platform. There is no reason that this body of work can’t be more effectively made available to the very people who need it need it most, such as nonprofit practitioners, program officers, researchers, librarians, students, advocates, and evaluators.”
Take a tour of IssueLab today. Also, if you are an IssueLab user and want to let others know how to get the most of the service, use our comments box to share your tips.