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Building Collaborative Applications with Wikis


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For Massachusetts School Library Association Conference, November 11, 2007

Published in: Technology
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Building Collaborative Applications with Wikis

  1. 1. Building Collaborative Applications with Wikis Meredith Farkas November 11, 2007 MSLA Conference
  2. 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. 3. 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
  4. 4. 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
  5. 5. 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
  6. 6. 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.
  7. 7. 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 makes for a flatter learning curve
  8. 8. Wikis vs. Blogs • No one owns • A person owns content their posts • No specific • Organized in organization reverse chron. (hyperlinks) order • Anyone can edit • Only author can other people’s work edit their own A person owns work (others can their post comment)
  9. 9. Wikis vs. Blogs • Perpetual work in • Posts are progress permanent • Good for • Good for collaborative group disseminating work informaton/ starting a dialogue
  10. 10. Why wiki?  Easy to use  Web-based  Anyone can make changes  Version control  Findability  Many free and open-source wikis  Flexible and extensible
  11. 11. 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.
  12. 12. Questions?
  13. 13. Wikis in Practice
  14. 14. How libraries can use wikis with their patrons  Community wiki  Subject guide wiki  Wiki as courseware or Web site  Wiki for collaborative learning  Wiki for capitalizing on the collective intelligence
  15. 15. Community wikis  RocWiki (Rochester, NY)  Davis Wiki (Davis, CA)  Arbor Wiki (Ann Arbor, MI)  PGHWiki (Pittsburgh, PA)  A good start: Mac Library Experience
  16. 16. Subject guides  Ohio University Library’s Biz Wiki  St. Joseph County Public Library Subject Guides  Florida State University Subject Guides
  17. 17. Wiki as Website and courseware  University of South Carolina Aiken Library Web site  Bemidji State University eRhetoric course wiki  English 10 Literature Wiki
  18. 18. Wiki for collaborative learning • Space for group projects • Curriculum topic wiki • Part of research class • Edit the wikipedia! • Stimulate class discussions • Student space to build portfolio of work
  19. 19. Capitalizing on the collective intelligence • Collaborative note-taking • Collaborative study guide • Collaboratively-developed course guides - Plymouth Regional High School Library • Book reviews - Princeton Public Library’s Book Lovers Wiki
  20. 20. How librarians can use wikis  Staff Intranet  Collaborative document editing  Collaboratively-developed manual  Conference wikis  Knowledgebase  Planning space for conferences
  21. 21. Wiki as Intranet for info sharing  Most are behind the firewall or are password protected  Albany County Public Library Staff Wiki  Lakeview High School NCA Wiki
  22. 22. Collaborative document editing  ZohoWriter  Google Docs and Spreadsheets  You could even just use something like PBWiki!
  23. 23. Collaboratively-developed manual  Print manuals are really hard to update!  Antioch University New England Library Staff Training and Support Wiki
  24. 24. Conference wikis  ALA 2005 Chicago Wiki  ALA 2006 New Orleans Wiki  IL 2007 Wiki  Wikimania 2006
  25. 25. Wiki as professional knowledgebase  Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki  CGCS Library Media Supervisors’ Network Wiki
  26. 26. Planning space for conferences  Hard to plan a conference with people from all over the place.  Five Weeks to a Social Library  BarCamp  PodCon
  27. 27. Questions?
  28. 28. Wiki Tips How to develop and maintain a successful wiki
  29. 29. Wiki Tips: Software  Popular options for wiki hosted on your server  MediaWiki  PmWiki  Twiki  Confluence ($$$)
  30. 30. Wiki Tips: Software (cont’d)  Popular Options for wikis hosted by the software company  PBWiki  WetPaint  SeedWiki  Wikispaces
  31. 31. Wiki Tips: Software (cont’d)  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 worried about maintaining a new tech, go with a hosted wiki.  Check out the WikiMatrix when thinking about which software to use
  32. 32. Choosing software: What to consider  Programming language  Ease of installation  Security  Permissioning  Spam prevention  Ease of use  Cost    Version control
  33. 33. What to consider (cont’d)  Syntax  Ability to hold discussions  RSS  Ability to change look  Extensions  Trajectory of development/support of development
  34. 34. 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
  35. 35. Wiki Tips: Documentation  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  If possible, offer trainings (not everyone learns from reading a list of instructions)
  36. 36. Wiki Tips: Content development  Do lots of marketing  If possible, offer trainings  Offer incentives  Don’t do it all yourself!  Give the wiki a grassroots feel, make it welcoming.
  37. 37. 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 dedicated helpers!!!
  38. 38. 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 group of volunteers to patrol a public wiki  If you need to delete something - use discussion area to explain why things were deleted.
  39. 39. Questions? Comments? Meredith Farkas mgfarkas at gmail dot com AIM: librarianmer Links and more resources at http://