Sunday, March 23, 2008

Wandering Around Wikis

Item #16 of the 23 Things/Learning 2.0 training focuses on wikis. I'm planning on building a wiki from scratch soon for an educational project so I enjoyed looking at some other wikis.

However, I noticed a few drawbacks:

1. The design of most of the wikis linked to in the Discovery Resources are visually stark. Templates need to be developed that are more visually appealing.

2. Some libraries are not taking advantage of the participatory nature of wikis. I noticed only librarians can edit St. Joseph County Public Library's Subject Guides. We don't have the market cornered on information. Why not devise a moderation system and let users add great resources?

3. Too often library users are not taking advantage of the participatory nature of wikis. The Butler WikiRef is a ghost town.

How can a wiki be effectively used in a library setting?

For staff, a wiki could be a useful way to replace local information files. It also seems more effective than Google Docs for "today in the library" communication because information can be categorized for quick access.

When I attended the University of Arizona back in the Paleozoic era, David Laird was the University's Library Director. He had a bulletin board in the main library's lobby for Q&A about the library's policies, services, and collection. Quite low tech, but I often stopped to read the cards on it and I learned a bit about the library this way.

Why not share our customer comments with the community? If these could be moderated so inappropriate comments could be screened, we could share answers with all who are interested. The questions/comments could be solicited on the page where they will be posted with the staff response. There also could be a page for purchase suggestions where the selectors could note what has been ordered and why vetoed suggestions were not.

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