Let me begin by saying that I love wikis. I think they're easy, quick, informative, and I love that they can be created for virtually any topic or institution. While I always keep in mind the fact that any person can edit or add to a wiki, thus calling the contents' validity into question, I check Wikipedia at least once a day for any number of things: bios, definitions of words, tv show episode guides, historical information, ANYTHING. It's my go-to site for getting informed quickly on the basics of whatever I'm interested in. But I also use the Lost wiki (http://lostpedia.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page) to check for spoilers and recaps and theories. And I've also used the World of Warcraft wiki (http://www.wowwiki.com/Portal:Main) when I was geeking out over the story behind it and the history (I love reading fantasy, so I was very excited to say the least when I heard that it had orcs and elves and stuff in it). Both of these wikis are easy to use and readily accesible. You can even search the World of Warcraft wiki right from the Google search results page.
It's a good thing, I think, for libraries to use wikis, provided that they can either control the content a little bit from the outset or have someone on staff to monitor the content that the patrons post. I looked at the Princeton Public Library's Book Lovers wiki, and really liked it. I like reading book reviews, and that's basically what the content of this site was. Unfortuntately, this wiki hasn't been updated in almost a year, but the book reviews are still up and available for searching. I think this is a great way for libraries to use the wiki. Customer reviews are some of the more reliable ways that I find for people to decide which books to read or which books they might like. I consult the book reviews on Amazon before I purchase any book from them; I've come to believe that as long as most people like the book, I figure it's probably good.
I also checked out the Library Success wiki, and found this one really interesting. What a great way for libraries and librarians to learn and discuss different methods, programs, and policies that are being used anywhere to make their libraries more efficient and user-friendly! One of the benefits of specialized wikis like this one is that all the information on a particular subject is in one place, which makes searching for particular items easy and allows for happy accidents of browsing other pages of the wiki during a search for something specific.
Overall, I think that wikis are an excellent technique for sharing information--as long as the content can be monitored. The one weakness of wikipedia is that the content for some of the more popular culture items can't always be trusted. It looks like the Library Success wiki tries to monitor their content from the beginning by requiring registration before someone can edit or enter information. In reality, I think the only way that you can be sure no one is posting or removing inaccurate or relevant information, respecitively, is to have someone available on staff who can check up on the updates made and make sure that nothing suspect is going on. If that can be handled, there's no reason why wikis shouldn't be a go-to, reliable source for everyone.
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7 years ago