thing 17: UR wikis

At my library, we have a couple of wikis set up. One is basically a transfer of our main service desk manual from paper to online, and the other is Boatipedia, our FAQ. I agree with Carol in that the format works well for our manual, and I also agree with her that I’m not entirely sold on the idea of a FAQ in wiki format, unless the intent is more for the ease of allowing many authorized users to edit it. As Carol puts it, “we really don’t want anyone to be able to go in and change content — do we?”

As for other uses for an internal wiki… I could see myself using a wiki to organize information about our electronic resources, licenses, and contacts. Being able to search across pages to find information and the ability to have input from each of the individuals involved in the process would both be pluses for the format over more traditional paper files and email archives. However, we have paid for a tool specifically designed to do that, which also interfaces with the public side of linking users to the resources, so it wouldn’t make sense to use a wiki instead of or in addition to that tool.

thing 16: wikis

One thing I have learned from participating in several wiki projects — from Wikipedia to my libraries’ FAQ/Policies wikis — is that it takes a lot of work to populate and maintain a useful wiki. One of my favorite uses of a wiki is Whole Wheat Radio (which seems to have disappeared recently).

The streaming radio station out of Talkeenta, Alaska, switched over to using a wiki to maintain information about the artists played and available albums/tracks. Users could contribute as much information as they wanted to. For a while, I was addicted to adding content to it. Part of why I haven’t listened much in the past few months is because I would easily spend an hour or two adding data to the site every time I turned on the stream.

If the site ever comes back, I recommend you check it out. Aside from the wiki aspect, anyone can play DJ and pick the songs they want to have broadcast. Pretty cool!

side note: It appears that the music, at least, is still streaming.

search engine wars

Marketplace had and interesting story yesterday on the search engine wars. One of the people that the reporter talked to said that although search engines are currently the hot ticket for online advertising, he is looking forward to the next big thing to come. He said that back when Goggle was just getting started, web portals were the thing, and now web portals are a thing of the past.

Today as I browsed through the blogs and Google News searches in my RSS feeder, I got to thinking about how blogs and wikis are becoming more and more popular, and probably whatever comes out next in the way of big money on the Internet will be realted to RSS feeds. I just added a few saved searches from Feedster, which are based on keywords, and I thought, “If Wil Wheaton has a blog, then why wouldn’t X10 or some of the other more annoying online advertisers set up blogs and use keywords to get folks like me to view their site?” Scary thought.