Wikis: Basics, Tools and Strategies


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Preconference presentation for Computers in Libraries Conference.

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Wikis: Basics, Tools and Strategies

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