IL07- Day 2- Pre-conference – Wiki Basics, Tools and Strategies
Meredith Farkas made this morning’s workshop on Wikis a joy to attend. Starting with the basics, she led the class through a discussion of why wikis lend themselves to so many applications within a library. After she convinced us how easy it is to create a wiki, she then showed us examples of the many ways libraries use wikis – from resource guides and staff manuals to book review sites. She also provided several examples of community wikis (rocwiki.org and daviswiki.org) done by individuals not connected with libraries. Community guides would be great projects for public libraries to start as collaborative efforts with local groups.
Meredith was quick to site several reasons NOT to have a wiki. If control is a factor with your library staff, then a wiki might not be the best way to go. By its very nature, a wiki is only as organized as you make it. Ownership of content is another potential reason libraries may not want to have a wiki. However, most of her points in favor of wikis outweighed these negative concerns, at least for me.
Wiki software was a major focus of her talk and both hosted and client-based products were discussed. Among the server-based software these are some of her favorites:
MediaWiki – most popular because of wikipedia– Little inflexible with css — Can’t put in your own html any more
PMWiki – really great support of css
TWIKI – WYSIWIG – good for novices. Flat files created.
Among the hosted wiki products, she mentioned these in particular:
Pbwiki – register as educator so there are no ads
Wetpaint – rather amateurish looking, but might be good for a teen wiki
SeedWiki– pretty clunky – creates long URLs.
Wikispaces used a lot by school librarians
Before deciding which software is best for you, be sure to look at wiki matrix (www.wikimatrix.org)
I don’t want to give away all of Meredith’s talk, but I’ll just add that her wiki tips alone were valuable enough to make the entire morning worthwhile. I can’t wait to get back to Michigan and contemplate how I can put this new information to work for our library!