17 – Wikis

  1. Wikis are basically web sites that anyone can edit. “Library 2.0 in 15 minutes a day” is a page in the Library Instruction Wiki, which uses the MediaWiki software.
  2. Wikis are by nature a work in progress, and recognize that information is rarely static, and is more often dynamic and multidimensional. A wiki doesn’t just build networks between the editors and authors, it also builds networks between types of information and knowledge.
  3. View this short video on YouTube that gives you RSS in Plain English (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dnL00TdmLY). Be sure to give the video a rating after you watch it. Maybe you can add it to your list of favorites, too.
  4. Read this brief article at Online Community Report (http://www.onlinecommunityreport.com/archives/227-When-To-Use-a-Wiki.html) that discusses when it’s best to use a wiki.
  5. Here are some different places where you can build your own wiki:
  6. Look at some different Wikis. While you browse through them, think about who the target audience is, what the purpose of the wiki is, and how well it seems to be fulfilling that purpose.


Things To Do

  1. Practice editing
    • MediaWiki, the software that this wiki uses, provides a “Sandbox,” where you can play around in a no pressure environment. You can get to the sandbox here: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Meta:Sandbox
    • Once you are there, you can click on the “edit me” tab next to the main heading “Please edit Below.” Before you get started, you might want to check out their help pages, which will outline the funny things you have to type into your article in order to make links work, etc.
    • In the sandbox, practice:
      • Typing a sentence and saving it.
      • Typing a URL. If you just type the whole URL, with the http:// on it, it will automatically hyperlink.
      • Hyperlinking a word or phrase. If you want to hyperlink a word or phrase, use this format: [http://www.fvrl.org Library Home Page]. This will show up on your wiki page as Library Home Page (http://www.fvrl.org). The brackets let the software know you want to hyperlink something. Put the URL first, and then a space. Whatever you type between that space and the end bracket will show up as a hyperlink.
      • Making a new heading. Headings have different sizes, and get their own sections. Once you’re in an article, you’ll see that it’s broken up into some main parts, like “Description,” and “References” and so forth. If you click next to the Edit Me tag next to one of these headings, you’ll see that it has this format: ==Description==
        • The equals sign tells the computer that you’re typing a heading, and the number of equals signs tells it where that heading falls in the general outline. So, use two equals signs for main headings, three for sub-headings, and four for sub-sub headings. Each one of these headings will have an “Edit Me” tag next to it, so that you can just edit that section. Each main heading will allow you to edit that part as well as any sub headings within that article.
      • Try making a big heading and then small headings underneath it.
  2. Write a blog post about: what your library could use do with a wiki. What kinds of projects would work better with a wiki environment? Which wiki software provider looked most appealing to you? What did you think of what kinds of wikis are being made out there?
  3. Tag all wikis and wiki software in your del.icio.us account.
  4. Download the necessary program from the most appealing wiki software provider, and try it out.


Advanced Activities

  1. Edit the Wikipedia page or Stub about your library.
    • Every library has history, and is a prominent part of a community. As a librarian, you are uniquely placed to write a Wikipedia article about your library. Doing so will help you understand wikis, and also contribute to others ability to learn about your library. If your library already has a Wikipedia article, look at ways that you can edit it, or add to it.
  2. Add a Tutorial on a New Wiki Page at Library Instruction Wiki
    • Think about all the tutorials, handouts and how-tos that you or your library has created. If you offer classes on information literacy, database training, or using Word, these can be valuable additions to the Library Instruction Wiki – you can be sure that other librarians around the world are wishing they had a good handout, or an idea for a class. By sharing resources like this, we help each other save time, money and energy.
      • Read the New User (http://instructionwiki.org/New_User) portion of the Library Instruction Wiki.
      • Click on “Instruction Resources,” and select “Handouts, Tutorials And Other Resources To Share.” You will see a list of resources. Each one of these headings will take you to a new page of the wiki where you will find either the text of the resource, or a hyperlink to that resources location online. Some libraries have their tutorials and handouts available over the internet, and creating a hyperlink to them is an easy way to make them more available.
      • Click the “edit” tab at the very top, above the title of the page. Once inside, you’ll see how everyone else’s links are formatted, with a *[[ at the beginning of their term, and another ]] at the end. This tells the software that the link is to someplace inside the parent site.
      • Create a link to your new page. Find where your resource would fit alphabetically into the list, and type in your new link, with the same formatting as the other links. For example: *[[Library 2.0 In 15 Minutes A Day]] Once you’ve created the link, click on it. You’ll be taken to a blank, empty page.
      • Click on “Style Guides And Templates,” then “Resource Template.” You will see a generic template for a standard wiki page, with headings and a table of contents.
      • Click the “edit” tab at the very top, select the entirety of the text, and copy it. Return to your empty page, click “edit” and paste the template into existence! Now you are ready to fill in the blanks!

If you find that you need to copy something out of a blog or other html encoded location to paste into a wiki (you would do this if you had a block of text with lots of links or formatting in it), you can save a lot of time by using a conversion tool like the HTML::WikiConverter (http://diberri.dyndns.org/wikipedia/html2wiki/index.html).


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