Wiki development

03Feb09

Knowledge Management specialist Heather Colman has published an in-depth article about developing an enterprise wiki. I attended a meeting where Colman and Connie Crosby discussed wiki development.
Crosby talked about best practices, including navigational basics like a home button on every page, as well as incorporating see also links, and subscription to RSS feed buttons.

I have had both positive and poor experiences with wikis. A couple years back the local library community here was excited about the law library conference, Libraries Without Borders. Without reading the help guides,  I found the Libraries Without Borders (Password: NE2007, Need to PB Wiki account) one easy to use and navigate around. I even added a comment at one point. It used PB Wiki as a platform.

However, I was not as successful with the 23 Things wiki, at Special Libraries Association (membership only), which uses Confluence. I have worked my way through the self-paced learning modules. But when I produced my own private page, I had problems using the templates. I could not find any formal help guides.

Through 23 Things, I found out about Wikihow, a giant how-to manual. In the orientation, there is a mission statement of sorts, and a set of writers guidelines. I was impressed by the collaborative nature and sense of community building at Wikihow.

Building a corporate or enterprise wiki is not unlike other library projects. Heather Colman mentioned finding champions who are strong advocates, testing with a small group of super users, small chunks of targeted training sessions and a short timeline for development. One of the big advantages of wikis was breaking down information silos and overcoming the need to go different places to grab information.

Wiki Platforms

Fully Web hosted: pbwiki, Wetpaint, Wikispaces – nothing to install, monthly or yearly fee to use (some free to educators), easy for beginners

Open Source: MediaWiki (powers Wikipedia), MoinMoin, Twiki – requires local installation, free, often preferred by advanced users

(Source: Interview, The State of Wikis in Education, April 10, 2008)

I was approached about a blog for book club last year, and I think if the person understood the technology better, what they needed was a wiki.

– Brenda

Other reading:

7 effective wiki uses and the companies that benefit from them

Mader, Stewart. Interview, The State of Wikis in Education, April 10, 2008

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