HOUSTON - The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) Foundation recently launched FMpedia, a new free online resource for the global facility management (FM) community. With the click of a button, users can now have FM terms and definitions available at their fingertips any time.

Built on the Wikipedia model, FMpedia presents a non-commercial facility management glossary with an international scope. It provides an opportunity for users to chat, post new definitions, comment on existing ones, and provide a repository for related material. Initially, the online glossary took definitions from four different sources - one from Australia, one from Europe, and two from the United States. It already houses between 350 and 400 definitions to date.

As part of its research initiatives, the IFMA Foundation conducted an international survey to receive feedback related to topics it is considering for white papers during the current year. Survey objectives included: prioritizing the topics being considered; identifying additional topics for consideration; identifying potential subject matter experts and sponsors; and the solicitation of input from both national and international facility management organizations.

The survey asked respondents to select their level of interest in various categories, such as alternative energy sources, the best practices of green cleaning, peak oil, workplace management, and the economics of maintenance. The results showed an increased interest in creating an FM glossary, which led to the creation of FMpedia.

“We conducted the survey to examine where our colleagues thought the Foundation should direct its research and energy,” said IFMA Foundation Executive Director William Rub. “The response we received for an FM glossary was incredible, proving its already-existing potential. I anticipate that FMpedia will not just be an online glossary, but will become a medium without borders - a tremendous resource for facility managers worldwide.”

The Internet-based glossary took nearly five months to create. The IFMA Foundation board provided feedback after reviewing the initial FMpedia pilot. Focusing on functionality, the creators wanted to ensure people’s involvement with the site. The site had to be open - allowing contributors to create and edit definitions, create links to other Websites, and so forth. Users must also provide e-mail addresses so the FMpedia Webmaster can ensure the material’s validity.

President and founder of Graphic Systems Inc., IFMA Fellow Eric Teicholz designed and created FMpedia. Focusing on quality control measures, Teicholz anticipates increased positive response and support following the launch of FMpedia.

“We are working to establish a worldwide dialogue between people interested in facility management,” Teicholz said. “The site will resemble a people’s encyclopedia for FM glossary terms, discussion, technology, and new concepts. We are very excited about FMpedia’s potential and look forward to the glossary going live.”

Graphic Systems Inc. will host the Website and act as the Webmaster in the site’s initial stages. Eventually, the plan is to turn over the development and maintenance of the site to a third party, such as a university featuring a facility management program.

To learn more about the IFMA Foundation, visit www.ifmafoundation.org. For more information about IFMA, visit www.ifma.org.

Publication date:10/08/2007