What is a Wiki and What Could You Use One For?
 
Michelle Baca

Last week, I introduced you to a resource called the that explains hard-to-understand concepts in “plain English.”  One of the first CommonCraft video explanations that I viewed was about wikis.  After learning about wikis, I was inspired to create my very own! Wikis are gaining in popularity and have many uses in the workplace.   Here is what I learned about wikis and how you can make use of them in the workplace:

Wikis are online collaboration tools that allow individuals to post and contribute to shared files, documents, calendars, images, lists, etc.  They are also perfect for posting firm-wide, read-only announcements, tools, and reference documents, such as human resources policies and forms for example.  Wikis can be used as a means for collaborating on group projects and for sharing files and other content.  They can serve as document repositories and provide version control because they have the capability of tracking changes and reverting to previous versions (if a contributor makes a mistake for instance). You can also password protect your wiki.

You can also use wikis to provide input in a way that makes things simple to manage.  For instance, if you start planning a project using a series of e-mail threads, it could easily get confusing and you may find yourself struggling to find all of the e-mails related to that project.  Instead, create a wiki as a centralized place for maintaining the project’s details, agenda items, and components. And, you can be assured that your wiki will always have the most current documents and you won’t have to put out an e-mail asking your group who has the latest.

Even if “wiki” is one of those terms you’re still uncomfortable with, consider one wiki you have heard of — Wikipedia (http://www.wikipedia.com), the online collaborative dictionary.  Wikipedia is actually one of the largest wikis in existence and allows online collaborators to expand or enhance existing definitions.  The risk of a public wiki like this is that the information it contains is only as good as its contributor, so you do have to pay attention to the sources and double check facts with other sources, too. 

To learn more about wikis, visit the CommonCraft Show’s explanation video at http://www.commoncraft.com/video-wikis-plain-english.  And, when you’re ready to create your first wiki, consider using one of these sites that are designed to help you create your own:
www.pbwiki.com
www.wetpaint.com
www.wikispaces.com
www.wikidot.com
http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/MediaWiki

So, do you have a wiki?  What do you use it for?  If you don’t have a wiki, what might you use one for?

Warm Regards,

Michelle Baca

 

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