“Blogs and wikis are fundamentally 2.0” (Maness, 2006).
A wiki is a set of webpages that are created and edited numerous users. Made famous by the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, a wiki is a website build up from all contributors. Many wiki software platforms allow administrators to restricted editing permissions, allowing only some users editing rights, but this in opposition to the basic premise of a wiki and will not encourage success for a wiki (Orlof & Rahman, 2010, p. 10-12). Wiki software allows pages to be reverted to former states if inaccurate information is added or vandalism occurs. Maness (2006) believes that wikis have an important role to play in the future of libraries, but warns of the increased importance of information literacy in determining authoritative sources.
When thinking about writing this post and how wikis might be useful in my role I came across Withers’ 2005 article which discusses the implementation of a wiki for library staff procedures at the information desk. As soon as I saw the article I realised that this what what my library needs. When I started my role six months ago I found it difficult to piece together procedures from the verbal training, limited paper “cheat sheets” and various documents scattered through shared drives. In fact I am still getting my head around some procedures, and often resort to asking colleagues for simple answers that I cannot locate. While my organisation does not have the logistical barriers of large staff numbers and numerous library sites that Withers described, I can see that a procedures wiki could be a fantastic resource in my organisation. It would be invaluable for new staff and for existing staff carrying out complicated or infrequent procedures and for new or changed procedures. Orlof and Rahman (2010, pp. 16-17) also claim that a wiki is an ideal host for an employee manual containing company policies.
I approached my manager today and explained my idea and he agreed with me and has asked me to explain the concept at the next all staff meeting this Friday (!!). We discussed what content should be included and possible ways to implement. While there are numerous free wiki platforms, after speaking with my manager it looks as though the most likely option is a SharePoint wiki, as SharePoint has very recently been introduced and training is currently taking place. The creation of a wiki presents an excellent training exercise for staff to use the new software to streamline our processes.
I hope that this project will be suitable for the second assignment. I’ll have to see how the next few days go. If it gets the green light I’ll pick option A and if it fails I’ll resort to option B.
Maness, J. M. (2006). Library 2.0 theory: Web 2.0 and its implications for libraries. Webology, 3(6). Retrieved from http://www.webology.org
Orlof, J., & Rahman, M. (2010). MediaWiki 1.1 beginner’s guide. Birmingham, England: Packt Publishing Ltd.
Withers, R. (2005). Something Wiki this way comes: An interactive way of posting, updating, and tracking changes in information used by library staff. College & Research Libraries News, 66(11), 775-777.