Saturday, February 23, 2008

Thing 10 -- Wikis

I enjoyed my tour of the listed wikis and wiki resources, and certainly found much of interest. Working in a small library with a small staff, there is definite appeal to being able to start a site and make it easy for our users to contribute their expertise and add their information.

In exploring the resources for "thing 10," I saw a lot of neat things being done with wikis. I really liked SJPL's subject guides; I think that would be a wonderful project for my library. Allowing patrons to post reviews linked to records in the ipac could also be a way to allow patrons more involvement and collaboration with their libraries, as well as another way to promote reading and the library collections. I was also interested in Rochester's wiki. It might also be interesting to start a community web site, contact organizations, and invite them to post their meetings, news, projects, events, businesses, etc. on it--though if the library, a City service, were to officially do so, I think it would be well to involve the City in the planning and participation process. I could see advantages to posting the library's policy and procedures manual in an intranet environment where it could be easily accessed and edited as well. Some of the other wikis really showed off an interesting facet of wikis, collecting a community of people with similar interests.

I have a certain amount of sympathy for teachers who ban Wikipedia or other web sites as resources. While I understand that many people actively read articles, and fix errors, I would suspect it would also be possible for a student to hit an article at the wrong time and use misinformation. It's also true, though, that probably most of us who are book readers have found misinformation in books as well, and the claim that wikis contain biased and opinionated information holds true for many print resources as well. I would respectfully suggest that a better way to handle the situation would be to actively teach students how to evaluate resources and use good research methods (use more than one source, or even more than one type of source, etc.).

I edited the 23 things on a stick wiki. Because I can sympathise with everyone not wanting to "mess up" someone else's work, I added a list of messed up classics for others to FIX up.

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