Monday, December 4, 2006

#16 (Week 7). Learn about wikis and discover some innovative ways that libraries are using them.

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, but with 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.

  • 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.

Discovery Resources:

Use these resources to learn more aboout wikis:

· Wiki, wiki, wiki - from the Core Compentency 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.
· Using Wikis to Create Online Communities – a good overview of what a wiki is and how it can be used in libraries.

Discovery Exercise:

1. For this discovery 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:

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?

Would you like to read more about wikis? Go to SJLibrary’s page and look for entries under the tag heading “wikis”.

So what's in a wiki? Find out by doing some exploring on your own.

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