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Wikis: Basics Tools and Strategies


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Wiki preconference by Meredith Farkas for Internet Librarian, October 28, 2007

Wiki preconference by Meredith Farkas for Internet Librarian, October 28, 2007

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  • 1. Wikis Basics, Tools and Strategies Meredith Farkas October 28, 2007 Internet Librarian
  • 2. What you will learn
    • What a wiki is
    • What wikis are good for, what they’re not so good for
    • How libraries and other groups are successfully using wikis
    • How to get started with wikis
    • Tips on developing a successful wiki
  • 3. Who am I?
    • Meredith Farkas
      • Distance Learning Librarian at Norwich University (VT).
      • Author - Social Software in Libraries .
      • Columnist – “Technology in Practice” column in American Libraries .
      • Blogger - Information Wants to be Free .
      • Wiki manager - Library Success , ALA 2005 and 2006 , etc.
  • 4. My experience with wikis
    • Looking for a way to collect knowledge for ALA Annual 2005.
    • A Website would only collect my knowledge
    • ALA Chicago 2005 Wiki
    • Amazing community formed around the wiki!
  • 5. Library Success Wiki
    • Where does a new librarian go to get ideas and learn from other people's successes?
    • Library Success Wiki: Designed to collect best practices, good ideas, useful articles and links, etc.
    • Site has developed a diverse community of individuals who add content in their areas of interest.
  • 6. Other wikis I’ve created
    • ALA 2006 New Orleans Wiki
    • CIL 2006 Wiki
    • IL 2006 Wiki
    • KM World 2006 Wiki
    • Buying and Selling eContent Wiki
    • IL 2007 Wiki
    • Many other personal wikis for planning, internal wiki at work, etc.
  • 7. What is a wiki?
    • Content management system
    • Allows people to collaboratively develop a Web site without any tech-savvy
    • Wiki = quick (in Hawaiian)
    • All community members can add to or edit the work of others
  • 8. Wiki background
    • Ward Cunningham and the Portland Pattern Repository
    • Wikipedia
    • Conference wikis, fan wikis, wiki knowledgebases
    • Wikis in the library! Still often controlled access.
    • Organizations jump on the wiki bandwagon
  • 9. Wiki Structure
    • All wikis start off as a single blank page
    • Pages are created and connected by hyperlinks
    • No ownership of pages; anyone can change the work of others
  • 10. Wiki Components
    • Pages community members can add to or edit ( example )
    • Discussion area for each page
    • List of all of the changes made to a particular page (version control)
    • List of all changes made to all pages.
  • 11. Wiki Syntax
    • Ways to format text, change color, create links, create tables, etc.
    • Wikipedia editor’s guide
    • Not difficult to learn, but different
    • Differences for each wiki
    • WYSIWYG is the future
  • 12. Wikis vs. Blogs
    • No one owns content
    • No specific organization (hyperlinks)
    • Anyone can edit other people’s work
    • A person owns their post
    • Organized in reverse chron. order
    • Only author can edit their own work (others can comment)
  • 13. Wikis vs. Blogs
    • Perpetual work in progress
    • Good for collaborative group work
    • Posts are permanent
    • Good for disseminating info/starting a dialogue
  • 14. Why wiki?
    • Easy to use
    • Web-based
    • Anyone can make changes
    • Version control
    • Findability (with database wikis)
    • Many free and open-source wikis
    • Flexible and extensible
  • 15. Knowledge management (KM)
    • All organizations want to make the best use of organizational knowledge
    • Most are really bad at it
    • Wiki is a great KM tool
  • 16. Wiki = quick
    • No editing in Dreamweaver, no FTP-ing into the server.
    • No waiting for the Webmaster to update your page.
    • Different people can be responsible for different content areas
  • 17. Collaboration
    • Wikis are a great way to get patrons/colleagues to participate in building a Web space
      • Resource guides
      • Conference
      • Book reviews
      • Area guides
    • You can learn a lot from your patrons and colleagues!
  • 18. Why not wiki?
    • Too open (trust issues)
    • Concerns about ownership of content
    • Disorganized
    • Vandalism and spam
    • Wikis aren't for everyone. If control is a major issue with the site you're developing, then a wiki may not be right for your project.
  • 19. Questions?
  • 20. Wikis in Practice
  • 21. How libraries can use wikis with their patrons
    • Community wiki
    • Subject guide wiki
    • Wiki as courseware
    • Wiki as Web site
    • Wiki for capitalizing on the collective intelligence
  • 22. Community wikis
    • RocWiki (Rochester, NY)
    • Davis Wiki (Davis, CA)
    • Arbor Wiki (Ann Arbor, MI)
    • PGHWiki (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • 23. Wikis that build community
    • Tax Almanac
    • Mandriva Club
  • 24. Subject guides
    • Ohio University Library’s Biz Wiki
    • St. Joseph County Public Library Subject Guides
    • Florida State University
  • 25. Wiki as Website and courseware
    • University of South Carolina Aiken Library Web site
    • Bemidji State University eRhetoric course wiki
  • 26. Capitalizing on the collective intelligence
    • Resource guides and book reviews
      • ProductWiki
      • wikiXbox360
      • Princeton Public Library’s Book Lovers Wiki
      • Wyoming Authors Wiki
  • 27. How librarians can use wikis
    • Staff Intranet
    • Collaborative document editing
    • Collaboratively-developed manual
    • Conference wikis
    • Knowledgebase
    • Planning space for conferences
  • 28. Wiki as Intranet for info sharing
    • Most are behind the firewall or are password protected.
  • 29. Collaborative document editing
    • ZohoWriter
    • Google Docs and Spreadsheets
    • You could even just use something like PBWiki !
  • 30. Collaboratively-developed manual
    • Print manuals are really hard to update!
    • Antioch University New England Library Staff Training and Support Wiki
  • 31. Conference wikis
    • ALA 2005 Chicago Wiki
    • ALA 2006 New Orleans Wiki
    • IL 2007 Wiki
    • Wikimania 2006
  • 32. Wiki as professional knowledgebase
    • Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki
    • Library Instruction Wiki
    • Qwiki : Quantum Physics Wiki
    • The New PR Wiki
  • 33. Planning space for conferences
    • Hard to plan a conference with people from all over the place.
    • Five Weeks to a Social Library
    • BarCamp
    • PodCon
  • 34. Wiki Tips How to develop and maintain a successful wiki
  • 35. Wiki Tips: Software
    • Popular options for wiki hosted on your server
      • MediaWiki
      • PmWiki
      • Twiki
      • MoinMoin
      • XWiki
  • 36. Wiki Tips: Software (cont’d)
    • Popular Options for wikis hosted by the software company
      • PBWiki
      • WetPaint
      • SeedWiki
    • If you want control, no ads, etc., host the wiki on your server.
    • If you don’t have server space, need the wiki for a small time-limited project, or are scared of maintaining a new tech, go with a hosted wiki.
    • Check out the WikiMatrix when thinking about which software to use
  • 37. Choosing software: What to consider
    • Programming language
    • Ease of installation
    • Security
    • Permissioning
    • Spam prevention
    • Ease of use
    • Cost  
    • Version control
  • 38. What to consider (cont’d)
    • Syntax/WYSIWYG
    • Ability to hold discussions
    • RSS
    • Ability to change look
    • Extensions
    • Trajectory of development/support of development
  • 39. Wiki Tips: Seeding the wiki
    • No one wants to add to an empty wiki
    • Also, people often don’t know what to add
    • Add some content to the major categories before going live
    • Creating an organizational scheme will prevent orphan links and chaos
  • 40. Wiki Tips: Education
    • Wikis need lots of info for novice users
      • What is a wiki
      • What can you do with this wiki
      • How to edit the wiki
      • FAQ
      • Whom to contact for more help
    • Training is important
  • 41. Wiki Tips: Content development
    • Do lots of marketing
    • If possible, offer trainings
    • Partner with groups/people related to your mission
    • Don’t do it all yourself!
    • Give the wiki a grassroots feel, make it welcoming.
  • 42. Wiki Tips: Management
    • Security
      • Should you require registration?
    • Dealing with spam
      • Install spam-killing plugins or blacklists
        • Bad Behavior plugin.
        • Monitor the wiki several times a day
        • Get to know and love RSS
    • Find lots of dedicated helpers!!!
  • 43. How to deal with posts you don’t like
    • Guidelines
      • Limit to on-topic posts
      • Take a note from the Wikipedia’s policies and guidelines
    • Get a committed group of volunteers to patrol a public wiki
    • If you need to delete something - use discussion area to explain why things were deleted.
  • 44. Questions? Comments? Meredith Farkas mgfarkas at gmail dot com AIM: librarianmer Links and more resources at