A Wiki for Every Purpose

by | Dec 8, 2008 | Writing Matters Blog | 0 comments

Are you considering using a wiki to support a project, collect the intelligence of your colleagues, or help far-flung staff members work together?  If so, you may be interested in wiki examples that are smaller than Wikipedia, with its 684 million visitors per year and its 10,000,000 articles in more than 260 languages.  For your review, I’ve gathered four wiki examples.  Each one has a different purpose. Maybe one of these wikis will serve as a model for yours. 

  1. Software documentation and development wiki.  The Scantegrity wiki supports both users and developers of Scantegrity, an “…open source election verification technology for optical scan voting systems.” The wiki’s appeal and usefulness is evident.  Users in the Scantegrity community can easily find documentation and other types of support while developers can contribute patches or download the latest version of the source code.  And the openness of a wiki makes it a natural information-sharing system for an open source software product.
  2. “People’s guide” wikiRocWiki, the “people’s guide to Rochester,” features restaurant suggestions, a city wish list, guides to seasonal activities, and links to oddities such as the decommissioned cremation facility within Mt. Hope Cemetery.  Compare RocWiki to the rather staid Visiting/Leisure pages at the City of Rochester web site.  The content is similar in both places, but the City of Rochester site speaks with an “official” voice; it doesn’t offer the passion RocWiki’s contributors provide.
  3. Community of practice wiki.  The Adult Literacy Education (ALE) Wiki invites educators to add knowledge “… from your experience teaching adult learners, from research
    or professional wisdom, or from your experience as an adult learner.”  This mature, well developed wiki has designated ALE Wiki Topic Leaders  who help maintain and deepen the content in their topic areas.
  4. Conference wiki. It’s never a surprise when librarians, the original information architects, present deep, useful content.  The 2008 American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference wiki for conference attendees and exhibitors provides all kinds of information to help people show up for, make their way through, and get the most from the conference.  Wiki article topics range from “Annual Conference on the Cheap” to “Events and Resources for Job Seekers.” And because a conference is a collaborative effort that requires and generates a great deal of content, a wiki is just the right publishing option to make the conference outcomes extend beyond the five-day event.  On a lighter note, this annual conference must inspire great fervor amongst librarians.  One of the Ground Rules  for this wiki is “No organizing boycotts”!  

Are you contributing to or using a wiki?  Are you interested in launching a wiki but not sure how to begin?  Share your lessons learned or your questions and we’ll address them in upcoming posts.

— Leslie O’Flahavan

Tags: Wikis


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