We're all familiar with Wikipedia and the notion of a wiki as a website written and edited by a community.
But aren't wikis a bit 'old-hat' now? All very 2005/2006. Take a look at all the articles and talks about wikis listed on the professional development library wiki Library Success; they all date from 2005-2007. Facet Publishing have even got around to publishing a dead-tree book about library wikis.
We've got Twitter and blogs now. Aren't they the Web 2.0 tools of choice?
I think that in many ways, blogging software has replaced wikis - it's more intuitive, easier to set up and customise. But wikis can still be a useful way of storing documents that are linked in linear and non-linear ways and in enabling collaboration.
- Wikis are really great for managing project documentation. I worked on a 4-year digitisation project which generated a lot of reports, minutes of meetings, plans and timetables. The project wiki was a great repository for all that information, enabling all members of the team, on both sides of the Atlantic, to read, edit and upload all this material at a glance. Documents could easily be shuffled around and archived. A wiki discussion was much more easily retrieved and organised than an email thread.
- Staff Intranet Several university libraries use wiki software to manage their staff intranet. Take a look at the University of Minnesota or the University of Connecticut. The wiki operates as a content management system, combining both publicly available and restricted access documents.
- Staff Manual If you want to produce a document with multiple sections that you'd like staff to be able to edit or comment on, with those changes being tracked, a wiki might be the answer.
- Subject guides Have a look at this example from Ohio University. It's fine but a basic list of links like this is probably easier to put together with blogging software. Chad Boeninger from Ohio University set up a popular BizWiki guide to business-related info in 2006 and has now replaced it with a Business Blog. Take a look at both and see for yourself which is the most user-friendly.
Wikis are still a great medium for archiving and publishing large quantities of documents, no matter how you obtained them.
But for the final word in deciding between blogs and wikis, what better than a presidential debate??