Saturday, October 1, 2011

Learning 2.0 Activity #5 - Wikis!

I see have always seen wikis as somewhat of a fad that will eventually fade away, but Wikipedia has taken off, not as a respectable information source but as a source of quick, fun information used to determine bets or somewhat satisfy inquiring minds. 

Other than Wikipedia, I have utilized Google docs for class projects and for working on lists with my husband.  Knowing the other people with which I was working lent credibility to the project, something that sometimes lacks when you have numerous anonymous contributors to a wiki (as pointed out in the blog and the "slide show" we read for this activity).  This type of activity, with contributors working on one project, makes an effective use of a wiki, but it appears that not wikis provide that type of experience.

The BookLovers wiki makes good use of patron-added content, but it doesn't look much different than a blog with comments - the reviews appear to be done by individuals instead of collaborative input.  Although now that I think about it, the wiki doesn't necessarily have to be a within-document collaboration, but could also be just within-site collaboration, like the UConn IT staff wiki, however, there are new online services like Diigo, del.ic.ious, or digg that allow users to bookmark or add links on related content that anyone can access.  It seems like these newer approaches are more effective than using a wiki just to collect links to other content.

The Subject Guides wiki is an interesting use of a wiki because it does contain the collection of links approach to collaborative wiki-ing, but also listings that include varying type of information  - not just articles on the subject, but also staff recommendations   and local information (like when and where the local farmer's market takes place).  Libraries would benefit from this type of wiki because it could be localized by patrons. 


  1. Wikis are often used for collaborative site development. Specific people can be granted permission to add pages and update content. Updating wikis is easier than using a sophisticated web authoring tool like Dreamweaver. Since there are many freely available wiki tools it's also more affordable although you sometimes need to give up some freedom of design in favor of ease of use. A wiki tool I've used is WikiSpaces.

  2. I have seen the wiki for the booklovers site, and I agree with you about the fact that it is not the most collaborative of sites. I wonder if this is due to the fact that we are not yet accustomed as a culture to changing the words or the thoughts of others. I know that I would never consider what I had to say as more authoritative than say a wiki entry on a subject.
    Something that always intrigued me about wiki sites is the ability to have several people working at once on a project. I have experienced this with classes and other kinds of educational encounters, but the most fun I had with wiki/Google docs kind of technology has been in using them in collaboration and near instantaneous content input. Wikis are a place where a group of people pursuing a common goal can get together no matter the actual distance between them and be able to connect to one another and to a project.