Welcome to iHCPL. This site was created as an adjunct to Harris County Public Library's iHCPL Learning 2.0 Program; a discovery learning program designed to encourage staff to explore new technologies and reward them for doing 23 Things. In addition to our staff, we would like to encourage our customers to explore these same technologies. The program is adapted from The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County's Learning 2.0 Program.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Week 7: #16 So what's in a wiki?

If you aren't able to view the embedded video, click here.

A wiki is a collaborative website and authoring tool that allows users to easily add, remove and edit content. Wikipedia, the online open-community encyclopedia, is the largest and perhaps the most well known of these knowledge sharing tools. With the benefits that wikis provide the use and popularity of these tools is exploding.

Some of the benefits that make wikis so attractive are:

  • Anyone (registered or unregistered, if unrestricted) can add, edit or delete content.
  • Tracking tools within wikis allow you to easily keep up with what has been changed and by whom.
  • Earlier versions of a page can be viewed and reinstated when needed.
  • Users do not need to know HTML in order to apply styles to text or add and edit content. In most cases simple syntax structure is used.

As the use of wikis has grown over the last few years, libraries all over the country have begun to use them to collaborate and share knowledge. Among their applications are pathfinder or subject guide wikis, book review wikis, ALA conference wikis and even library best practices wikis.

Discovery Resources:

  • Wiki, wiki, wiki - from PLCMC's Core Competency blog
  • Beginner's look at Wikis from Meredith Farkas
  • What is a wiki? - Library Success wiki presentation
  • Using wikis to create online communities

Discovery Exercise:

For this discovery exercise, you are asked to take a look at some library wikis and blog about your finding. Here's a few examples to get you started:

  • iHCPL Sandbox wiki
  • SJCPL Subject Guides - a pathfinder wiki developed by the St. Joseph County Public Library system
  • Book Lovers Wiki - developed by the Princeton Public Library
  • Library Success: a best practices wiki
  • ALA 2007 Annual Conference wiki - an example of a wiki created to support a specific event
  1. Access the iHCPL wiki and create a login account for yourself. [The Wiki Password is hcpl].
  2. Either add your blog to the favorite blogs page on the iHCPL wiki or add a favorite or two to other pages on the wiki.
  3. Now that you are more familiar with wikis, create a blog post about your findings. What did you find interesting? What types of applications within libraries might work well with a wiki?

So, what's in a wiki? Find out by doing some exploring on your own.

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