Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Week 7, Thing 16 - Wikis & Libraries

After hearing libraries were using Wikis on their websites, I was very curious to see how. It takes a very large effort to create and maintain a wiki. Like I mentioned before, it takes only a moment to register for a site, but to actually make it something an outsider would want to visit, you have to find some dedicated people to maintain it.

Clicking around the Library Wikis, I noticed a couple things - many of the places that were using Wikis were much smaller than our system. One wiki that was linked (Bull Run Library) was actually not run by the system, but by a single patron that had just decided to create it! I thought the BookLovers Wiki was also very cool, though it will take awhile for the site to rival databases like 'FictionConnection'.

Then again, perhaps the familiarity of the Wiki format will draw more patrons to sites like BookLovers Wiki than FictionConnection (which has that silly AquaBrowser that I cannot stand!) Plus, I think people enjoy reading other "normal peoples" review (i.e. not librarians or other book reading professionals). I don't know if I like the idea of the wiki replacing the library catalog, but it would be a nice supplement.

I think a Wiki would be a great idea for our Intranet. Our current site is tricky to navigate, especially for newcomers. It might be nice to turn it into a Wiki, even if the wiki is controlled only by Branch managers or heads of committees. As we move more and more to keeping often used files online, a Wiki would be a great way to manage those files. You could include instructions on how to fill them out, perhaps an FAQ for each form or area, etc.. Again, this would require someone willing and able to update the site when the need arises.
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