As far as I am concerned, there is nothing more useful on Social Source Commons than a well-made community toolbox. A community toolbox is a toolbox that someone has created with a particular theme that they can invite others to build on. This allows community members to contribute their knowledge of tools and resources. Toolboxes then serve as collaboration hubs that connect SSC members and aggregate knowledge. And we all know what that means… Increased Community!
Let’s check out some good examples of Community Toolboxes already up and chugging away on SSC:
Compiling a variety of nifty tools to help you and your team members figure out just how much time to spend making that ham sandwich, the Time Tracking Toolbox is a good example of a toolbox that compiles many tools, all with a similar focus.
This is a good example of a toolbox putting together tools that expand the utility of a single program. CiviCRM is an open source Constituent Relationship Manager and the CiviCRM World Toolbox shows you the other tools on SSC that can complement it, saving you a trip to Google.
The Global Voices Toolbox is a great example of the customization that is possible within a toolbox. The author of this toolbox, David Sasaki, added customized descriptions to each of the tools to explain how they are useful when working with Global Voices. He also included great screenshots that show you exactly what he’s talking about. On top of the basic tool descriptions, he also fleshed out the Community tab by adding Mailing Lists and Chat Rooms that relate to Global Voices. As a result, the Global Voices Editor Toolbox is a great example of taking advantage of toolbox customization.
Within a SSC toolbox, information can abound. Perhaps no other toolbox showcases this better than the Open Translation Tools Toolbox. Created as a complement to Aspiration’s Open Translation Tools Event 2007, the toolbox is able to showcase the connections between the event and the software and online resources that were featured. Not only relevant tools, but also online documentation and community links are aggregated under the toolbox so that people can have a rich resource about Open Translation. Under the Community tab you can find discussion lists for Open Translation while under the Support tab you can find event documentation, videos and links. This toolbox even aggregates its own feeds, so that under the Feeds tab you can see new info about Open Translation as it comes in. All of this information combined makes it a great resource for information regarding Open Translation and that, in turn makes it a great community toolbox.
There is a lot that can be done when creating a community toolbox. From custom descriptions to adding supporting content to aggregating feeds right in the toolbox, SSC toolboxes allow for one-stop information shopping. I hope this mini-whirlwind journey through the joys and wonders of community toolboxes gives you a better idea of what they’re there for and what you can do yourself when you create a community toolbox. And in a future post I’ll take you through the steps of creating a community toolbox so you can get your hands dirty. So check out what Community Toolboxes are out there on SSC and take ’em for a spin!