October 23, 2006

5. Learn About Wikis


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A wiki is a collaborative website and authoring tool that allows users to easily add, remove and edit content. Wikipedia, the online open-community encyclopedia, 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 is exploding.

Some of the benefits that make the use of 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 rolled back and viewed 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 and even library best practices wikis.

Resources

Use these resources to learn more aboout wikis:

Extra "credit" resources
  • Why Wiki? - This online video course will introduce you to the benefits and disadvantages of wikis. Each of the 4 sections is between 10 and 20 minutes long - feel free to just watch part of the sessions if time is an issue!

Exercise

For this exercise, you are asked to take a look at some library wikis and blog about your findings.

Here are a few examples to get you started:

Create a blog post about your findings. What did you find interesting? What types of applications within libraries might work well with a wiki?

18 comments:

sexybeast said...

I like the iread wiki for the different genres. I don't trust some of the information, since anyone can post the information.

Robin said...

That is a weakness of wikis - you either have to have a pretty small, close-knit group using it or a HUGE group that self-regulates like wikipedia does. Good point!

Age is only a # said...

The thing that I didn't like about the iread page is that the titles were not connected with the book titles in the catalog. What they basically give you is a list of titles and authors, but no additional information about the books. If I were looking for a new book to read, the title, author, and genre would help, but I would like more description before I think about checking it out (or ordering in my case).

Lesley said...

I like the fact that there are reviews next to the book titles on the iread wiki. It helps to know what other people think about a book before I read it.

Bald&Beautiful said...

Town square. That's what keeps popping into my head as I walk through the various wikis. Each wiki is unique, just as a Library in a different town would be if you traveled there physically. A wiki is a living breathing creature, growing and changing. As far as the information being accurate, just bounce around and see what the general buzz is as a whole before you make up your mind.

The Book Lovers Wiki was my fav. from the list.

Tammy said...

What a variety of Wikis already exist! I had only heard of and used Wikipedia prior to this. The SJCPL Subject Guide page is interesting in that it serves to explain libary resources, how they can be used, where to find them and even library terms such as the difference between biography, autobiography and memoir for their patrons. It also serves as a community/reference page by providing answers to common questions such as where is the local Red Cross located? Only the library staff can edit this page to control quality of information.

The Book Lovers Wiki was interesting too. Looking at the links to their catalog showed why this could be such a great site for their patrons since no summary of the titles I looked at was given. Thanks to everyone in Tech who adds a summary and or chapter headings for our OPACs!

I liked the IRead wiki too. This could be a useful site when a patron knows a character but not the author or the title of the work at least for the mystery section.

cobb said...

Reviewed Wiki material. Still interesting.

Noelle said...

I liked the iread and booklovers wiki the most. iread had some good examples of children's genres. It would be cool for the children's department to have their own wiki, and then when we can easily update our genre lists as well as our favorites.

eyeoh said...

Wikis are the perfect format for reviews, which I prefer over long lists of recommended titles when searching for the next great read, or something to order. A book or movie review is personal, so bias is expected, but when used as a source for papers and such, a freely-editable source requires verification. In this case, you might as well bypass the wiki. Having said that, wikipedia is a great help when needing to know the plural form of platypus. Apparently, platypi is pseudo-Latin, and not correct. Platypuses or platypoda it is, then.

Jessica's Stuff said...

I found the book lovers wiki the easiest to navigate through, I guess it's like anything else, what is aesthetically pleasing and easy follow is different to everyone.

Debbie deliberates said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debbie deliberates said...

I liked the library sites, but I felt like they were more web site, than a wiki site. Are they supposed to support more interaction? As for wiki's in general, I feel they can be a good forum for collecting information, or sharing information, but I too have a problem with trusting the information.

Robin said...

Wikis require you to actively hit the "edit" tab (usually) at the top of the page you are reading to start editing it. It really requires you to decide whether or not you want to participate. If you choose not to become a contributor (and most do just that), then yes - it is just another website with information from many sources.

Becky Ford said...

I love to see what books make it into "favorite" or "classic" lists. The iread wiki was fairly good, but again, they didn't "quote their sources" or give any additional info.

Crow's nest said...

This is an exciting new way to interact using the internet, especially useful for libraries, schools and corporations. I would not feel comfortable with information obtained from a wiki for anything important, but they are an interesting way to communicate opinions and learn of others. I'm happy our library now has a wiki, and it has been fun investigating it.

missjan said...

dywexwow i think i actually pulled a muscle in my brain. this is slick stuff. i can see it being very useful to myself as i become a better children's clerk. wow, what a wiki. i feel connected, free and able to gain helpful ideas for patrons, perhpas. i like the iread and book lovers the best.

Thoughts from the CROA said...

I liked the St. Joseph County Public Library wiki. It had a broad range of topics covered with easily understandable text. Funny how in their tax information and forms section they start off by pointing out where visitors can attain federal forms and tax information...getting right to the point of hint, hint, we don't provide those two things. The SJCPL wiki even had a section with info about local sports and recreation - something that could be helpful to an out of town visitor or a person new to the area. I just liked the SJCPL front page layout in general.

Roussel said...

Wikis are a fascinating tool - they are even more versatile than I realized. Reading about these wikis makes me anxious to edit a few myself. I use Wikipedia a lot and I have seen a Star Trek wiki, but I have not used other types of wikis before. I look forward to contributing to Library wikis. It could be very useful to network with other people about obscure or out of print authors and books. And also we could use a library wiki to direct people to resources that might not come up in a Google search. Also, using wikis for local information and events is a great idea.