Wikis and Blogs: When, Why, and How to Use Them
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Wikis and Blogs: When, Why, and How to Use Them Wikis and Blogs: When, Why, and How to Use Them Presentation Transcript

  • Wikis and Blogs: When, Why, and How to Use Them Leslie O’Flahavan, E-WRITE Administrative Office of the US Courts Washington, DC September 4, 2008
  • Presentation overview
    • What wikis and blogs are and how they work
    • Why wikis and blogs are such a popular way to publish content online
    • How a wiki or blog could help your agency
    • How to manage some of the liabilities of wikis and blogs
    • A little bit about social networking…if time allows
  • Presentation schedule
    • Start and 9 a.m. EST
    • End at 1 p.m.
    • Have a 15-minute break at about 11 a.m.
    • Participate in activities throughout
  • Part 1: Not all wikis are encyclopedias
  • What is a wiki?
    • “ A wiki’s just like a web site, only you can edit it.”
  • What is a wiki?
    • From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    • “ A wiki is a website that allows visitors to add, remove, edit and change content, typically without the need for registration. It also allows for linking among any number of pages. This ease of interaction and operation makes a wiki an effective tool for mass collaborative authoring . The term wiki can also refer to the collaborative software itself ( wiki engine ) that facilitates the operation of such a site, or to certain specific wiki sites, including the computer science site (the original wiki) WikiWikiWeb and online encyclopedias such as Wikipedia .”
  • Wikipedia: the most familiar wiki example
  • Wikipedia Main Page
  • Wikipedia: C&O Canal page
  • C&O Canal Discussion page
  • C&O Canal Discussion page
  • C&O Canal Editing page
  • C&O Canal Revision History page
  • Common Craft: “Wikis in Plain English”
  • Discuss: How might a wiki solve your department’s own e-mail-related communication problem?
  • How do a wiki and web site differ?
  • National Park Service’s C&O Canal site
  • C&O Canal Association’s site
  • What kinds of wikis does this presentation cover?
    • Federal, state, local
    • Project or task wikis:
      • Project Communication
      • Application Support
      • Research
      • Product Planning
      • Customer Service
  • Some wiki samples …
  • Shrink and Grow: “This wiki acts as a design doc for the game…”
  • RocWiki.org – the People’s Guide to Rochester
  • wikiHow: “The How-to Manual Anyone Can Write Or Edit”
  • FLICC/Fedlink Environmental Scan wiki
  • NCI caBIG
  • National Alliance for Medical Image Computing wiki
  • US Court of Appeals – Seventh Circuit
  • Article on 7 th Circuit’s wiki
  • Argonne National Lab’s SEED Project Wiki
  • The AAA Wiki …
    • “ Welcome to the AAA Wiki - created to coordinate the Assembly, Alignment and Annotation of the now 12 sequenced Drosophila genomes.”
  • Goochland County Public Schools
  • MassGIS Geospatial Web Services project wiki
  • “… caGrid provides the core enabling infrastructure necessary to compose the Grid of caBIG™”
  • Intellipedia
  • The “hall of mirrors” wiki: a presentation by Janel Brennan-Tillmann, UMD Coord. of Foreign Lang. Instructional Technology
  • Is it a wiki or a web page?
  • Why are wikis so popular?
    • Anyone can write or edit
    • Outside the normal permissions and approval process for web content
    • Encourage interaction
    • Easy to learn
    • User-defined life span
  • Wikis vs. Web sites
    • Require permission to publish
    • Mediated by experts
    • Transactional
    • Governed by workflow or publishing cycle
    • Graphic design conveys content organization to user
    • Staffed by professionals with a range of skills: designers, developers, content types
    • Judged by outcomes
    • Relevant
    • Useful
    • Correct
    • Alive
    • Updated regularly
    • Read
    • Authored collaboratively
    • Little to no graphic design
    • Foster dialogue or conversation
    • Socially mediated
    • Content author in charge of content over time
    Web Sites Shared Traits Wikis
  • Edit-before-publish vs. Edit-after-publish
    • “ Something that’s 80% accurate, on time, and shareable is better than something that is too much, perfectly formatted, too late, and over-classified.”
    • Chris Rasmussen, Knowledge Management Officer, Intellipedia, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Department of Defense
  • Discuss
    • What are the risks involved in launching a wiki for your department or court?
    • What kinds of policies or guidelines would you need to have in place to offset the risks?
  • Why do you need wiki writing guidelines?
    • Organic growth of content can cause many communication problems
    • Producing valuable content of any type requires reviewing and editing
    • Wiki users search vs. navigate , thus putting extra pressure on words
  • What should the wiki writing guidelines cover?
    • How to organize content
    • How to make content easy to read
    • How to write as a wiki citizen
  • Guidelines on writing to organize
    • How to name pages
      • Use concrete descriptive words; use the most commonly searched terms: not ID but Social Security Number or Passport
      • Strive for names you can use in a sentence: not hips – replacement surgery but hip replacement surgery
      • Provide guidance on caps, numbers, special characters
      • Give a name that will last over time: not Proposal – Final Version
      • Avoid beginning with articles: not The Interagency Agreements Team
      • Develop naming guidelines for different types of pages/articles
    • How (or whether) to group pages
  • Clear naming at Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki
  • HRE Wiki: Naming Problem
    • HREwiki
    • Home
    • Ready-to-use resources
    • Resources in development
    • Images
    • New topics
    • Projects
    • Useful websites http://hrewiki.pbwiki.com/
    • Featured resources
    • the Univeral Declaration of Human Rights
    • Nepal
    • death Penalty - teaching materials
    • Discrimination
    • Voices of people affected by human rights abuses
    • Ideas for HRE
    • Using this wiki
    • Request a password
    • Writing for this wiki
    • Developing this wiki
    • 'How to'
    • Reporting problems
    • Reproducing content
    • Terms of Use
    • Disclaimer
    • About
  • Debian wiki: organized by user
  • Guidelines on writing readable wiki content
    • Headings
    • Vertical lists
    • Links (no click here )
    • Conciseness
    • Tone
    • Mechanical correctness
      • Spelling
      • Punctuation
      • Grammar
      • Abbreviations
      • Dates
  • Wiki wall of words …
  • Bulleted wiki article: Easy to scan or read?
  • Developing a wiki that contains few content types requires explicit writing guidance.
  • PolicyOptions Wiki: Lots of guidance about writing issue briefs
  • Guidelines on writing as a wiki citizen
    • Use your real name
    • Write objectively (?)
    • Comment considerately
    • Contribute original content
    • Avoid slang
    • Explain edits in “Comments” section
  • Wiki software options
    • MediaWiki – www.mediawiki.org
    • Tikiwiki - www.tikiwiki.org
    • PBwiki - http://pbwiki.com/
    • Wikipedia’s article “Comparison of wiki software” at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_wiki_software
  • Wiki writing guidelines
    • ColabWiki: Wiki Style Guide
    • IBM’s Redwiki Writing Guidelines and Etiquette
    • wikiHow’s Writer’s Guide
    • BattleMaster wiki Style Guide
    • LinuxQuestions.org’s LQWiki:Manual of Style
    • MuppetWiki Building a successful wiki community
  • Wiki resources
    • NIH Wiki Fair – February 28, 2007
    • Wiki Home Page at COLAB , the collaborative work environment: “Hosted by GSA Intergovernmental Solutions”
    • “Which Wiki is Right for You?” in School Library Journal , May 1, 2007
  • Part 2: Blogs
  • What is a blog?
    • “ A weblog, which is usually shortened to blog, is a website where regular entries are made (such as in a journal or diary) and presented in reverse chronological order. Blogs often offer commentary or news on a particular subject, such as technology, politics, or local news… A…blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic.
  • How is a blog different from a website?
    • Easy
      • to set up
      • to update
      • to organize and archive
    • Interactive
    • Personal—Individual POV, not agency
  • How do blogs work?
    • How do you publish a blog?
    • How do you read a blog?
  • How do you publish a blog?
    • Use off-the-shelf, user-friendly software (blogware) to
      • Create new blog posts
      • Organize, archive and retrieve information from old posts
      • Create links from your posts
      • Enable other bloggers to link back to a specific post on your blog (Permalinks)
      • Let bloggers see who has viewed their posts and commented (TrackBack)
  • How do you read a blog?
    • Subscribe to a blog with
    • RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed
    • Portal or browser based aggregators (GoogleReader)
    • Web based aggregators (Bloglines, FeedReader)
    • E-mail updates
  • Subscribe with RSS
  • Use a blog aggregator
  • Get blog posts by e-mail
  • Who blogs?
    • “In April 2007, blog search and measurement firm Technorati was tracking over 70 million blogs and reported seeing about 120,000 new blogs created each day. That's 1.4 blogs every second.” (webcontent.gov)
  • Who blogs in the Federal government?
  • Why do Federal agencies blog?
    • Communicate with the public
    • Communicate internally
    • Blogging “puts a human face on government [and] makes government more open.”
    • --Bev Godwin, USA.gov
    • Humanize your agency
    • Create a dialogue
    • Get feedback
    • Keep public updated
    • Improve visibility—search engine placement
    A new way to communicate with the public
    • Share information
    • Create community agency-wide, nationwide or worldwide
    A new way to communicate within the agency
  • Before starting a blog, consider
    • What’s your purpose?
    • Who will write the blog?
    • Will you allow comments?
    • What’s your approval process?
    • What legal issues should you address?
  • Disseminate Information: DC Public Safety Blog
  • Support a project: The Big Read
  • Add Value: Eye Level
  • Customer interaction: TSA’s Evolution of Security
  • A 6-week special event blog: EPA
  • Personal Experience: Volunteer Journals
  • Discuss: How could a blog help your organization improve communication?
  • Who will write the blog?
    • “They’ve got to be authentic. You must be the author of your post—not your staff, not your secretary or administrative staff, and certainly not your campaign manager or consultant.”
    • -- Christopher Barger, IBM blogging consultant
  • Director, Corps of Engineers
  • Director, CBO
  • A team of employees
  • Front-line employees
  • Will you allow comments?
    • Most federal agencies allow comments
    • Will you moderate or edit the comments?
      • Edit for grammar
      • Edit for content
      • Limit comments to specific issues
    • What will you do with the comments—feedback?
  • Will you allow comments?
    • Without comments, a blog is “just a glorified press release.”
    • -- Mike Cornfield, professor, George Washington University
  • No Comments
  • Enabling comments
  • The Corps-e-spondence comments policy
  • Evolution of Security comments policy
  • How will you use comments?
    • Change policies or programs
    • Get customer feedback
    • Incorporate comments into your posts
  • Incorporate comments: Corps-e-spondence
  • The blog approval process?
    • Outside formal clearance process
    • Posts will need to be reviewed before they’re published
    • Blogger + blog’s purpose + blog publication schedule
  • Legal issues
    • Confidentiality
      • Does your organization have confidentially guidelines for other types of communication?
    • Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)
    • Copyright
  • Establish and publish blog policies
    • Incorporate your decisions on into a written blog policy
    • Purpose
    • Writers/contributors
    • Comments policy
    • Approvals process
    • Legal Issues
  • Publish your blog policies: GSA GovGab
  • Resources
    • Blogs from the U.S. Government http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Reference_Shelf/News/blog.shtml
    • Blogs in Government , Bev Godwin, July, 2006 http://www.usa.gov/webcontent/documents/Blogs_in_Government_June_2006.pdf
    • Webcontent.gov http://www.usa.gov/webcontent/technology/blogs.shtml
  • Managing the liabilities of wikis and blogs
    • Before publishing, identify the purpose of your wiki or blog and measure the risk against that purpose
    • Remember that wikis and blogs are publishing tools; we CAN manage publishing
    • Develop guidelines for publishers/contributors and for users/readers
    • Limit access
    • Learn from those who have gone before you!
  • Blog Scenario #1
    • Your agency director wants each division head to write an internal blog.
    • The director wants to review each blog post by each division head before it’s posted.
    • “We speak with one voice and that voice is the voice of the director.”
  • Blog Scenario #2
    • Due to changes in legislation, a post from March 2008 contains incorrect information.
  • Wiki scenario #1
    • You launch a wiki, tell the team about it, set up passwords for all contributors, and post information on the wiki yourself.
    • No one else contributes content or refers to the wiki.
  • Wiki scenario #2
    • Your wiki is growing rapidly and some of the content is of “first draft” quality.
  • Wiki scenario #3:
    • “Joe” writes an e-mail to “Sue.” His e-mail includes a well-written explanation of a complex process.
    • Sue likes the e-mail so well that she publishes it to the department’s wiki without asking Joe’s permission.
  • Social Networking: Sharing, Rating, Connecting
  • Sharing: YouTube
  • Sharing: Slideshare
  • Rating or social bookmarking
  • Rating: Digg
  • Rating: StumbleUpon
  • Connecting: LinkedIn
  • LinkedIn: US Courts
  • Connecting: Facebook
  • Connecting: Ning
  • Connecting: Twitter
  • Questions or comments?
    • Clare De Cleene
    • Web Communications Manager
    • Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts
    • [email_address]
    • 202-502-1182 (Direct Line)
    • 202-502-2615 (Web Help Desk)
    • Leslie O’Flahavan
    • E-WRITE
    • [email_address]
    • 301-989-9583