Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Share Your Successes with the World via Wiki

With much talk about blogs, I am going to shift gears and talk about Wikis. How can they be useful? Take a look at THE library wiki, Library Success. By definition, a wiki is a type of website in which anyone can add and edit content. Library Success is tailored to librarians. If some library is successful with an activity, they can add their story to the wiki. Other libraries can then use the knowledge they gained.

Let's try this. Say you are wanting to create a new program for your agency. You go to the Library Success wiki and you see the category, Programming. You click on that and you see several subcategories, Book Clubs for Adults, Gaming, Technology Training in Libraries, and many, many more.

Under each category, you can read about methods, resources, etc. that other libraries used. Or, if you had a successful program, add an article about your methods and resources you used. Sharing knowledge will benefit everyone.

This wiki is still young, but look for it to grow quickly.


Doris Dixon said...


Thanks for the link.

I think that a wiki would be an excellent way for staff members to share information.

However, I have never explored wikipedia in great depth because I have been suspicious about issues of authorship (i.e., how do you know who wrote what).

Doris Dixon

Doris G. Dixon said...
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Doris G. Dixon said...

Here's a link to a LIBRARY SUCCESS entry about Urban Fiction.


Kevin Dixon said...

While wikipedia is a good starting point, I would not use it as an official source. However, wikipedia is a fantastic place to find information on numerous topics that you would not find elsewhere. And, many times the entries have links to other sources.

While Wikipedia is the "mother of all" wikis, what we see with Library Success is a new way to utilize the wiki. Instead of subscribing to email listservs and depending on everyone on that listserv to develop a useful reference system in their email account, we can utilize a wiki. Everyone can edit/add to the information and it is always organized by topic.

Locally, MPLIC is already utilizing a wiki for the PPM. Now, changes to the PPM can be made instantly. Before, updates were months in the making. Using a wiki will allow for refinement of policies that would not have been possible before, simply because of the massive effort it would take to update the information.

Doris Dixon said...

The PPM is a great example of a successful wiki because it "speaks" from one voice--MPLIC. For me to rely on the product of a collaboration that involves many voices, I want there to be some sort of mechanism for knowing who contributed what. Our print references sources are often flawed. Who hasn't found errors in a reference book? Newpapers print corrections, but who reads those. We learn to tolerate errors in print. Perhaps because we learn to associate "authority" to names like "NEW YORK TIMES" or "WORLDBOOK" or "Doris Kearns Goodwin" (smile). I wonder when online errors will be more tolerable. Perhaps wikis needs some kind of 3-D imaging software. At first glance you would get the latest version. Users who click a certain link could see the changes that have been made over time (like "reviewing" features in Microsoft Word) and who made them.