This page collects some basic introduction and guidance to using the Public Lab website. There are many ways to use the site, but this page focuses on supporting newcomers.
The Public Lab website is being continuously refined, but its purpose is to:
support a diverse range of people to exchange knowledge about environmental issues that affect people, and collaborate on ways of monitoring them, organizing around them, and supporting one another in these activities.
(Draft diagram from this post)
The website is organized into several areas, including:
- Questions and Answers - organized by topic
- Methods - approaches to monitoring, including those under development
- the Blog - stories across our network
- the Dashboard - latest activity across the site
Questions and Answers
All questions are collected on PublicLab.org/questions, and also displayed by topic across many parts of the site. There are no "bad" questions -- if you don't understand something, or can't find something, please ask!
Newcomers have a unique ability to see things that have been overlooked, so we need your help!.
This word means different things to different people, but our Methods page collects many different approaches to monitoring environmental problems, from off-the-shelf commercial tools to in-progress Do-It-Yourself techniques, to community organizing and advocacy tactics.
Each page listed will have a Questions section for related questions, and will list activities you can do related to that topic.
It's not a comprehensive list of topics or methods, so please ask a question if you can think of one you want to see on there, or have related resources to share!
Above: a sampling of methods from the Methods page
The Public Lab Blog is a place where we share stories from across our networks and communities -- a place to stay updated as well as to remember the people and communities working every day to drive all of these efforts forward. See our main Blog page to learn more and to submit an article.
Your dashboard is where you can see all the latest activity on Public Lab, for a sense of what's going on across the site in the past week. It features updates and new posts, whether they're activities, events, or questions.
- activities and notes they've authored or co-authored
- questions and answers they've posted
- comments they've made
- their optional photo and bio
You can add tags to your own profile page to add information -- more on this coming soon!
Here's an example of a profile page:
Topic pages, or tag pages, collect all the activity around a given topic name, as represented by the "tags" each page is annotated with. See the tags section of this page for an example of tags.
To get to a Topic page, click on the tag. You'll be directed to a page like this one, for the topic "Sampling":
This page collects:
- activities and notes
- other content
and displays it, most recent first. It's a good way to get a "snapshot" view of what's happening on a topic. But it relies on people adding the related tags (using the tag input form, which you must be logged in to see) to each page.
If you have questions about the website, please ask here!