Sunday, October 4, 2009

Thing 10 - wikis

Wikis are a great tool, and I wish we had one set up at work. It’s a great way to organize and share large amounts of information and documents under multiple subject headings. I’m in love with the organization as much as I am the multiple sources.
I understand why teachers don’t like Wikipedia – the information cited is changeable, and very well could be incorrect, but I don’t think Wikipedia is a bad source of information, and it is a fabulous starting point. In my own research, if it is an assigned topic I am unfamiliar with, I go to Wikipedia to get an overview, something I will not get from scholarly journals, because those already assume I know the subject. Checking Wikipedia is lighting a lamp in the darkness of subject-specific ignorance. Teachers don’t like Wikipedia often, so I never cite it, but I use it as a jumping off point.
Often the citations in Wikipedia articles are solid, citeable resources, so Wikipedia is also good as a subject directory.
At my work, a running wiki could replace another one of my duties – updating and editing the Help Desk website. What often happens is, a phone tech finds a solution to a problem. They email me or their coach (who emails me), I discern whether or not the info could be useful to another tech, which it usually is. I update the intranet, and notify the whole help desk via email of the update – an overview and where it can be found. If we had a wiki, we would just need someone to check and approve the updates as the techs made them, and the techs would have an investment in the intranet site and be more inclined to use it often, as they should.

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