Here I am almost at the end of my Cam23 journey – the penultimate Thing! Wikis are something that I thought I used regularly and knew about but, now I’ve sat down to write this post, I realise that a) I haven’t really used that many and b) I’ve never used them in the way in which they’re intended. Must try harder!
I’ve consulted Wikipedia on numerous occasions (who hasn’t?!) when I’ve quickly wanted a definition or explanation for a word or topic that I’ve not come across before. And for this purpose (i.e. quick reference) I think it’s great. However, as we say to our students during our teaching sessions, ‘it’s important to remember to consult and cite other sources’ so whenever I want to ensure that the information is accurate I hunt down additional sources. I’ve never actually edited Wikipedia entries as I’m not enough of an afficionado about a subject to write with authority. But if I do happen across any mistakes or typos in the future I will do my duty as a good librarian and edit them.
The Judge’s Information & Library Service has been using a wiki as part of a CamTools site for a couple of years. This site has acted as a portal to our electronic resources and has provided information about the service. In order to populate the site with content, we set up a wiki with various pages which we then displayed. The wiki itself is hidden and visible to (& therefore editable by) staff members only. Although this ‘flies in the face’ of the wiki ethos, we had to put this ‘security’ measure in place to ensure that no prankster students changed our service information. You may think that we should have more faith in our students, but we’re realistic at how tempting it might be to some!
The only public wiki I have edited to date is the one for TeachMeet as I signed up to give a presentation. For projects such as this, it seems obvious that wikis are the best medium to use for organising and planning and I applaud the project team for their initiative.
As I haven’t had a lot of experience in editing a truly collaborative wiki, I decided to add an entry to the Library Routes Project. (I chose not to include my life story here as not everyone will want to hear it. It’s not a bestseller – I realise that. Believe me – I’ve lived it!)
In terms of whether we can properly employ wikis in our information & library service, an immediate project would be to transfer our existing staff manual on to a wiki – an idea already raised by Claudia. Our current manual is created in MS Word, printed out and then, typically, updated on annual basis. Having the manual in a wiki (a la Antioch University – thanks to Miss Crail for bringing this example to my attention) would mean that any member of the team could update it quickly and also refer to it from the PC where they’re working. So we’re just looking for one of the team to take this on – any volunteers?!