Skip to content

#10 This Wiki World

2009 August 10
by naomi

A wiki is a collaborative website and authoring tool that allows users to easily add, remove and edit content. Wikipedia, the online open-community encyclopedia, is the largest and perhaps the most well known of these knowledge sharing tools. With the benefits that wikis provide the use and popularity of these tools is exploding. Some of the benefits that make wikis so attractive are:

  • Anyone (registered or unregistered, if unrestricted) can add, edit or delete content.
  • Tracking tools within wikis allow you to easily keep up on what has been changed and by whom.
  • Earlier versions of a page can be viewed and reinstated when needed.
  • And users do not need to know HTML in order to apply styles to text or add and edit content. In most cases simple syntax structure is used.

I hope you’re not sick of these “In Plain English” tutorials, because I think they’re so darn good. So let’s plan a camping trip:



As the use of wikis has grown over the last few years, libraries all over the country have begun to use them to collaborate and share knowledge. Among their applications are pathfinder or subject guide wikis, book review wikis, ALA conference wikis and even library best practices wikis.

Discovery Exercise:

  1. First, please take a look at some library wikis to see how they are being used in Library Land. Here are a few examples to get you started:
  2. Next, play around and gain some experience adding to a wiki by adding a few of your favorite things to the Library Development A Dozen Ways to Two Step Favoriteswiki. (Note: this is a wiki we created using PBworks, one of the many free wiki tools available today.)
    • To do this, access the Library Development A Dozen Ways to Two Step Favorites wiki and create a login account for yourself.
    • Then, once logged in to the wiki, practice leaving the URL to your favorite blog on the “Favorite Blogs” page. To do this, click on the link to the “Favorite Blogs” page. Next, click on the “edit” tab at the top to edit the page. The editor is very similar to the editor in most Word processing programs. Type the text you want to appear, highlight it, then click on the “insert/edit link” button. Set the link type to “URL”, enter the URL and check the box to open the page in a new window (if you like.) Then, don’t forget to add your name or alias or initials so we can distinguish one comment from another. Finally, save the page and you’re done. See — easy!
    • OPTIONAL: Add a favorite or two to a few other pages (Favorite books, Favorite vacation spot, etc). And, if you feel up to the challenge, you might even want to create a separate page for book reviews or short travel essays and link up to that.
  3. Finally, create a blog post about your findings titled (you guessed it) “Method 10”. What did you find interesting? What types of applications within libraries might work well with a wiki?


More information about PBWorks

Finished learning this Two-Stepping Method? When you’re ready, move on to Method 11.

6 Responses leave one →
  1. November 5, 2009

    I just finished the Method 10 and it was great.
    I had never used PBworks before and it was so easy. I have used other wikis, ALA, Google, etc. and they seem very similar.

    I added two different comments in different areas and it will be easy to include other pages. I see where this will work with the library for discussion groups, book clubs, etc.

    I wonder if people would respond better about what types of workshops and when they would like them to be offered? We ask constantly, but get little response.

    What do you think?

  2. DeAnna Willman permalink
    December 22, 2009

    I could see the value of wiki for certain things such as a book club or other clubs. However, I am very leary of things such as wikipedia. It is too easy for the population at large to mix personal opinion or misinformation in with what others are looking to for fact/truth. But, it might be interesting to try this out with the youth among our population concerning things such as favorite books series.

  3. Mary permalink
    February 22, 2010

    As usual, adding a link is my downfall. Should be an easy thing, but for me it is a challenge. I did do it.

  4. Demetria Williams permalink
    February 22, 2010

    This was a great step too. I enjoyed reading about the favorite blogs that everyone has posted. I am almost finish. Looks like I will make the Feb. 28, 2010 deadline.

  5. Juanita Hazelton permalink
    February 28, 2010

    I’m developing a wiki for myself and staff to play with — see how we can use a private wiki for staff input about library things. So far, I’m just checking to see if anyone has input on our technology plan revision.

  6. Linda Gray permalink
    March 3, 2010

    keep using the “…in Plain English” video tutorials since they are very effective!

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS