Wiki software allows any dummy to create a website. No need to know html code, nor be able to use intricate web creation software like MS FrontPage or Dreamweaver. No need for access to servers. It’s all free online.
Wikipedia provides this definition of wiki and tells us that it is derived from a Hawaiian word meaning “fast”.
As a person who knows html code, takes pride in my use of website creation software, and works diligently to create webpages that are well designed both graphically and informatively, I find the wiki tools to be extremely restrictive. The wiki people control the look and feel of the finished wiki. Attempts to push these constraints to the limits are frustratingly awkward and never provide the desired result.
My job as the eLibrarian in the school though means that I have been using wiki tools to create wikis for the staff and students. So far this year I have created 30 wikis. There is no doubt that wikis provide an online platform that is perfect for collaborative projects; and the web-wise students take up these tools with ease and enthusiasm. So I create the wiki skeleton, invite the participants, provide the access points on the library website and in the library catalogue, and provide any training and assistance as it is required.
This week I presented at the SLAV Conference in Melbourne on the topic of wikis. My session was a joint effort between myself and work colleague and Web 2.0 convert Jenny Luca.
Typically as a Librarian I am an introvert and not a confident public speaker, however I know my topic and this helped. I could sense that the audience was keen to hear the practical how-to steps into the Web 2.0 world, so I concentrated on delivering that content to them. As I spoke I could see them taking notes in earnest. I gave the URL’s for the instructional information I have placed online and hopefully this will help others to take up this tool in a thoughtful way. How to create a wiki and How to create a wiki using pbwiki2
The keynote speaker was Will Richardson and his opening address was thought-provoking, informative, and rich with knowledge from an obvious expert in this field.