Thursday, September 4, 2008

23 Things: Thing #10 Wikis

What did you find interesting about the wiki concept?
The wiki concept is a really handy one, especially if a group is working on a project which entails a great deal of information needing to be exchanged rapidly. The ease of editing was a good feature. Of the various wikis that I looked at, the ones with clear sections were more useful than ones where the information was all jumbled together.

What types of applications within libraries and schools might work well with a wiki?
This is something that can definitely be used for a bunch of library things: Storytime, Reading Lists, Summer Reading...the possibilities are endless!
I will probably use one for Summer Reading Book Bingo next summer. It would be great to allow patrons the opportunity to put in their own book suggestions and reviews.
Within the greater scope of the library, I can see wikis being used as a jump-off place for pathfinders, staff needs,& training.

Many teachers/faculty "ban" Wikipedia as a source for student research. What do you think of the practice of limiting information by format?
I don't like the idea of limiting information by format, but since the teachers & faculty are the ones making the grading rules, they get the final say as to what can be used, and what is considered acceptable. Considering that I take Wikipedia for what it is (a good starting spot) rather than The Research Gospel Truth, I don't have a problem using to get ideas of what subjects to look under or other avenues of information.
For a formal paper, though, I agree that the information may be a little spotty...but who's to say that what's printed in a book is any better (just to play devil's advocate for a moment)? The great thing (and the not so great thing) about collaborative/editable technology is that it can draw upon the collective intelligence of people who might not otherwise have a forum in which to dispense their knowledge about a subject. I'm not saying that it's infallible, mind you, but just because it's different doesn't make it wrong.

Which wiki did you edit?
I was brave enough to take on the mackdaddy of wikis: Wikipedia. I edited the Winsted, Minnesota entry. I fixed a link error; I put in the URL & reference for the HL-W-W school entry; and I made a (pathetically small) new section about the Winsted Library and linked it to the Pioneerland home page. My id is Winstedlibrary29 for verification proof.

Overall, I think wikis definitely are a relatively untapped resource for libraries. Even for collaborative school projects these would certainly speed up the process.

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