This is it! You’ve made it to the second-to-last week of 23 Things Kansas. This is the last week of “things”; next week is the wrap-up week! Time sure does fly by fast. I’m Eric Gustafson, director of Morrill Public Library in Hiawatha, and I’m here to talk about Wikis. If you paid attention during Week 8: Cloud Computing, this might be a review for you. Hey, it’s the last week and you deserve a break.
How many people here have heard of Wikipedia? Wait, everyone has? According to Wikipedia (see what I did there), a wiki “is a website that allows the easy creation of and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a web browser using a simplified markup language or a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) text editor.”
However, why read about it when you can watch a great Common Craft video?
The great thing about wikis is the ease with which users can collaborate. Need to plan a conference or a program? Think about using a wiki. Looking for a great way to create a knowledge base that everyone can contribute to? Maybe a wiki is right for you.
Wikis have several advantages over more traditional websites:
- Like a blog, a wiki allows you to edit with an easy to use interface.
- Wikis are built to handle multiple users. You can choose who you want to edit your wiki.
- Wikis are searchable with search functionality built right into the site.
- Wikis are designed with collaboration in mind, so it is easy to add and link new pages.
Obviously, there are many possible ways in which a wiki can be used in the library environment, so be sure to keep that in mind the next time that you have a collaborative project!
There are a number of sites (these are often called “wiki farms”) that will allow you to create your own free wiki and I will highlight two of the most popular here.
This site’s name, formerly PBwiki, comes from the idea that making a wiki is as easy as making a peanut butter sandwich. Launched in 2005, it was one of the early wiki farms and now boasts over 1,000, 000 wikis. One of the advantages of this site is that the free version does not have ads.
This wiki farm, launched shortly after PBworks, shares many of its functionalities. It has added some social networking functions and boasts a slick interface. However, the free version is heavily peppered with ads.
There are many other wiki farms that you could choose to use and not surprisingly, Wikipedia has a great comparison of them.
For the first activity this week, I would like you to try editing an established wiki (and blog about the experience). In most cases, that means finding a wiki and choosing the “edit” or “edit this page” options. Sometimes you will be prompted to create an account, and some times you won’t; it really depends on the individual wiki. With Wikipedia, you don’t need an account to do this. For example, you could find your hometown on Wikipedia and add an interesting or little known fact. Or maybe there is an error in the entry for your favorite author that you could correct.
Here are some wikis that you might consider editing:
Just remember that there are lots of wikis out there on many different subjects, so it’s good to explore. If you are really uncomfortable editing a wiki, please explore some examples of wiki use and write about your experience in your blog.
For one of the final activities in 23 Things Kansas, I would like you to use a wiki to collaborate with your peers! I have created a wiki for this purpose, so let’s get started.
- Visit the 23 Things Kansas wiki that I have created.
- Find the page titled 23 Things Kansas Participants and click on the easy edit button and either
- Sign in with an existing Wetpaint account,
- Sign in with your Twitter, Facebook, or Windows Live account OR
- Create a new Wetpaint account.
- Once signed in, you should be able to click on the add a new page link to add a new page to the site. A window should open with several options. Please be sure to
- Set the page location so it is under 23 Things Kansas Participants by selecting move page and clicking on 23 Things Kansas Participants.
- Enter your name as the page name
- Then click on add page. You should see your page appear.
- Navigate to your page and choose the easy edit option. Tell the group what you enjoyed most about 23 Things Kansas and feel free to spice up the page with a photo or embedded video. Don’t forget to save when you are finished!
- Link your new page from the 23 Things Kansas Participants page by
- Navigating to said page
- Clicking on easy edit
- Typing your name on the list
- Using the mouse to highlight the text of your name and choose the link button in the upper right hand corner. This should open a window from which you can use the find page option to select your newly created page from the list. Don’t forget to save when finished!
If you have any questions about either activity, please ask on the listserv or post in the comments area of this blog post and I will be happy to help!
Congratulations on completing 23 Things Kansas! (But don’t forget about Wrap-up Week next week!)