Thing 10. Wikis

A wiki is a collaborative Web site and authoring tool that allows users to easily add, remove and edit content. Wikipedia, the online open-community encyclopedia, is the largest and likely the most well known of these knowledge-sharing tools. Wikis have many benefits, are easy to use, and have many applications.

Some of the benefits of wikis:

• Anyone (registered or unregistered, if unrestricted) can add, edit or delete content.
• Tracking tools allow you to easily keep up on what been changed and by whom.
• Earlier versions of a page can be rolled back and viewed when needed.
• Users do not need to know HTML in order to apply styles to text or add and edit content.

Libraries all over the country have begun to wikis to collaborate and share knowledge. Among their applications are pathfinder or subject guide wikis, book review wikis, ALA conference wikis, staff handbook wikis, and library best practices wikis. As you can will see when you view the wikis in the list below, the content of a wiki depends on the knowledge and commitment of participants.

1. Watch this Common Craft video on Wikis. It is a quick and easy intro to wikis.

2. Take a look at some library wikis and blog about your findings. Here are a few examples to get you started:
Here are some Minnesota wikis:

3. Add or edit an entry in the 23 Things On a Stick (access key for the wiki is multitype) wiki or any other wiki you choose. (Note: When you create your account and sign in to the 23 Things wiki, be sure you uncheck the box asking to receive an update every time this wiki is updated. If you don't, you will receive an email everytime anyone edits the wiki.) Or, if you don't want to "mess up" a wiki (not really possible...), practice in the Wiki Sandbox. Let us know in your blog which wiki and entry you edited.

Use these resources to learn more about wikis:
  • Using Wikis to Create Online Communities – a good overview of what a wiki is and how it can be used in libraries.
  • This 2007 presentation by Joyce Yukawa, MLIS Program, College of St. Catherine at Minnesota Library Association is a great resource on how libraries can use wikis as their Web presence.
  • Wiki, wiki, wiki - from the Core Competency blog of the Public Library of Charlotte-Mecklenburg County.
  • Wikis: A Beginner’s Look – an excellent short slide presentation that offers a short introduction and examples.
  • What is a Wiki? – Library Success wiki presentation.
Blog Prompts
  • What did you find interesting about the wiki concept?
  • What types of applications within libraries and schools might work well with a wiki?
  • Many teachers/faculty "ban" Wikipedia as a source for student research. What do you think of the practice of limiting information by format?
  • Which wiki did you edit?
Challenge (optional)
1. Want to create your own wiki? These sites provide free wiki hosting. 23 Things On a Stick Wiki uses PB Wiki ("easy as making a peanut butter sandwich").
2. Choose a topic, create the wiki, add entries, and let us know what you are doing.


ck said...

Would an editor put "multitype" in quotations so it's easier to figure out that's the word that goes in the logon section on the 23 Things wiki?


Vicky Schluter said...

I didn't realize that changes are tracked on Wikipedia. Are changes routinely tracked, checked or corrected. If someone is habitually posting incorrect info, can they be blocked?

4/7/08 Vicky - VickysWords