The Many Uses of Wikis
This week’s readings and videos explain how a wiki can be used to collaborate on a project – such as Wikipedia. However, this is just ONE way to use wikis.
Many organisations use wikis for internal communication and collaboration.
Do you use a wiki at work?
Can you think of other ways in which wikis can be used?
What advantages does a wiki offer for the workplace?
I have been out of the workforce for a number of years to raise my children and have missed out on important developments in technology, so I’ve been looking for some news on how wikis are used to enhance the workplace, and found this article:
It gives a sense of why wikis would work well in the workplace, as “some companies worry about the risks of uncontrolled communications
leaking out. But a growing number believe the new collaboration tools
are good for innovation and growth”, and by collaborating with one another information is shifted more effectively (Tapscott & Williams 2007). This article makes for an interesting read and a insightful one for me personally, because prior to this module I never thought wikis could indeed be used in the workplace.
Having a look at the socialmedia today link and finding that Pixar (one of my favourite movie producers) uses a wiki system makes perfect sense because such a firm would have a lot of information to pass from employee to employee.
Can you see any similarities here between the use of wikis at companies like Pixar, and the reasons that prompted Tim Berners-Lee to develop the early Web?
Absolutely, Berners-Lee states that the Web was designed to “to help people work together” (cited in Woods 2013) and wikis are able to facilitate by easy access of information that can be edited and improved upon by other employees in a company. This to me is the embodiment of why Berners-Lee developed the Web, to link everyone from different areas, that focused can create a better environment to work in, by not just sharing ideas and knowledge, but also keeping contact at a social level.
Woods, S. (2013) Topic 1.2: … and what is the World Wide Web? [Lecture]. Retrieved from http://echo.ilecture.curtin.edu.au:8080/ess/echo/presentation/cbc1bc75-abda-42a4-b32d-cf95728882ea
Blogs vs. Wikis
How do wikis work? Some of the discussions around blogs have been about what makes blogs different from other types of online media formats, and we can ask similar questions of what makes a wiki, and what makes a wiki different.
How do you tell a wiki from a blog?
Does a wiki offer any advantages over a blog?
Tell us what you think.
To be honest, I’m not sure why a blog is compared to a wiki, simply because they are both seen as web 2.0 applications and both are in that sense collaborative in nature. To me blogs are a place where one or many authors can write about what interest them in a public area. They may allow comments, but others may not necessarily be able to change their content. This is where the one to many concept comes in.
In wikis, there can be many authors who may contribute, edit and improve web content, and everyone is seen as making a difference, on a many to many point of view. Obviously this is generalising, but the idea is the same. In my somewhat limited point of view, both are excellent in putting opinions and knowledge out in the public so both serve their own purpose and have my complete support. I love my blog and I love the fact that I can contribute a little bit in Wikipedia, as an example, by merely correcting some spelling mistakes.
Research and Wikipedia
We all do it – we don’t understand something or aren’t familiar with it, so our first port of call for any information we need is probably Wikipedia.
But is Wikipedia reliable?
This week’s reading material mentions the John Seigenthaler Wikipedia hoax. More recently, US radio show host Rush Limbaugh was taken in by a similar hoax that presented false information about a judge.
What did you think of the arguments put forward by danah boyd and on the Wikipedia page on ‘Researching with Wikipedia’?
Both texts acknowledge that Wikipedia has both limits and benefits. Do you agree with their arguments? (Don’t forget to look at the comments/discussion sections of each page to see other readers’ critiques!)
So, just how reliable is Wikipedia as a source of information?
I agree with boyd (2005), Wikipedia is indeed the first port of call, but it should not be the last. As Woods (2013) said in this week’s lecture, the reason why academia does not prefer Wikipedia as reliable references is because we are now at the stage beyond laymen terms; we need to dig deeper and like most encyclopedia and dictionaries, Wikis simply don’t have the depth.
But as a source of knowledge, even if it’s just to check something as simple as checking the background of my favourite actor, and a place to contribute and improve pages, Wikipedia is a phenomenon that should be maintained and not eliminated. I like this quote by Shirky (cited in Woods 2013), “Wikipedia is a process, not a product” and nothing is set it stone.
boyd, d. (2005). Wikipedia, Academia and Seigenthaler. Many 2 Many. [Blog]. Retrieved July 3, 2013, from http://many.corante.com/archives/2005/12/17/wikipedia_academia_and_seigenthaler.php.
Woods, S. (2013). Topic 2.2: Wikis. [Lecture]. Retrieved July 2, 2013, from http://echo.ilecture.curtin.edu.au:8080/ess/echo/presentation/0521cc4f-0111-41c2-938e-f854a1e4d631.
This week’s activity invites you to modify a Wikipedia page. Ah, the power!!!!!
Have you tried editing a page yet? (You may have to register as a user before you do this.) Which entry did you edit? Why?
Did you feel that you were making a contribution to knowledge? (or did you feel like a vandal?)
After registering with Wikipedia I spent a seriously crazy amount of time searching for a page “just right” to edit and found myself getting more and more nervous. It is a big responsibility to edit and make a page better, which is the path I wanted to take. I could have written something funny and checked back to see how long it would have taken to be edited out, but I prefer improving a page.
Here’s a link to some of my edits, now that I’ve done it, it’s not so intimidating and if I have the time I’d love to continue to improve, if only to fix the odd syntax or delete dead links and such.