How our web site is put together

Our website has three major parts: The Front Page & Menus, the Education & Community areas, and the Tech Forge. The best way to get to know us is to explore! But the site can be a little confusing, so here is a guided tour to get you started.

The Front Page is what you see when you browse to the main site. It has a main reading panel in the center, surrounded by Header and Footer (at top and bottom), a Navigation Menu ("Nav") on the left-hand side, and several selections of shortcuts on the right-hand side, including the "Quick Links" box. You can get rid of the right-hand column and have a wider main reading panel if you wish; click here for instructions.

The Header, besides displaying our beautiful OpenKW logo, has menu buttons for the five main areas of the web site. You can always get back to the Front Page by clicking the OpenKW logo.

The Footer has the usual assortment of footnotes, including a link to our Terms of Service.

The Nav menu on the left-hand side is the main way to get around the system. Many menu options expand into submenus when clicked. From here, you can create new wiki pages, host your own blog, or go to the forums; you can update your personal profile, or log out when you're done. There is also a Search box, and a menu option for Advanced Search. Please explore the Nav menu, it's the only way to get to know the site well.

The main reading panel is where all the site's content is presented for your reading pleasure. But the Front Page is special. It is like a newsfeed, it shows snippets of the newest content posted on the site, with links to each page. So when you log in to the site, you'll see the newest content and can easily click through to read it if you wish.

Last but not least, the right-hand column holds the "Quick Links" box, and boxes of links to the most recently active blogs and forum topics. These change from time to time, but are intended to offer easy access to content that is most likely to be of interest to our users. If you prefer to eliminate the right-hand column and have a wider main reading panel, click here for instructions.

Once you understand the organization of the site, you can start browsing around in our Education & Community areas. There is a Wiki for sharing information, and blogs and forums for sharing ideas, problems, hopes, concerns, and predictions for the future. You can access these areas by using the menu buttons on the top of the page, or the Nav menu on the left-hand side of the page.

Our site is built on a Content Management tool that allows all users, who have signed in, to edit most pages, and to leave comments on almost any page. This model was pioneered by Wikipedia, and it's great for drawing together the expertise of the whole community, and making that community expertise available to every individual.

So please, get a User ID if you haven't already, sign in, and start contributing! If you like an article or a blog posting, or if you find a wiki page useful, leave a comment that says so. And if you have additional info to add, see if there is an "Edit" tab near the top of the wiki page. If so, you can edit the page to improve it. You can also create new wiki pages and forum topics. Please note that all content contributions by users are controlled by our Terms of Service.

The Tech Forge is central to the mission of the Institute. Here, users with ideas to contribute, who want to collaborate on ideas that might solve problems of small-scale energy production, consumption, and global warming, can come together, share their ideas, and make them into reality. This portion of the site has two parts, a public area for publishing inventions after they have been developed, and private areas where Project Group members can work quietly with their colleagues to go from idea, to concept, to realization and perhaps productization.

The Tech Forge deals with intellectual property, so these private work areas are members-only, and require the contributors to sign an Intellectual Property Agreement that establishes the relationship between the Project Group members, the Institute, and each other. Please read the Tech Forge introductory pages for more details.