A wiki is a collaborative website and authoring tool that allows users to easily add, remove and edit content. You probably already know, and may have even used, Wikipedia, the online open-community encyclopedia. It is the largest and perhaps the most well known of these knowledge sharing tools. With the benefits that wikis provide the use and popularity of these tools has continued to grow. Some of the benefits that make wikis so attractive are:
- Anyone (registered or unregistered, if unrestricted) can add, edit or delete content.
- Tracking tools within wikis allow you to easily keep up on what been changed and by whom.
- Earlier versions of a page can be viewed and reinstated when needed.
- And users do not need to know HTML in order to apply styles to text or add and edit content. In most cases simple syntax structure is used.
As the use of wikis has grown over the last few years, libraries all over the country have begun to use them to collaborate and share knowledge. Among their applications are pathfinder or subject guide wikis, book review wikis, ALA conference wikis, sharing meeting information and even library best practices wikis.
Use these resources to learn more about wikis:
- Wiki, wiki, wiki - from PLCMC's own Core Competency blog
- Wiki’s: A Beginner’s Look – a short slide presentation that offers a short introduction and examples.
- What is a Wiki? – Library Success wiki presentation
- Using Wikis to Create Online Communities – an overview of what a wiki is and how it can be used in libraries.
1. For this discovery exercise, you are asked to take a look at some library wikis and blog about your finding. Here’s a few examples to get you started:
- SJCPL Subject Guides – a pathfinder wiki developed by the St. Joseph County Public Library system
- Book Lovers Wiki - developed by the Princeton Public Library for their 2006 Summer Reading Club (for adults)
- Library Success: A best practices wiki
- ALA 2009 Midwinter meeting wiki – an example of a wiki created to support a specific event
- The Bull Run Library wiki - a public library wiki and also a Learning 2.0 participant
- WikiNorthia – a local history wiki by the Yarra Plenty Regional Library (in Melbourne, Australia)
- Other library wiki examples
2. Create a blog post about your findings. What did you find interesting? What types of applications within libraries might work well with a wiki?
So what's in a wiki? Find out by doing some exploring on your own.
Continue on to Week 7, Thing 17