Sunday, November 18, 2007

Thing 17: Library wikis

Here is the comment I added to the SI sandbox:
No one person, or group of persons, can be an expert on every subject. I suppose that the standard printed dictionary of years ago was written by a set of scholars and researchers, but wouldn't they have benefited greatly from the knowledge and ideas of a larger group of people? Although I use Wikipedia with a somewhat jaundiced eye, the scope and expertise embodied in it is remarkable and it does have its place. I see wikis being useful in the library setting as a way to track key resources in popular or hard-to-find topic areas and to supplement vendor documentation on how to use library software.

There is a fascinating article about Ward Cunningham, father of the wiki, on He said in March 2006 that "the power of collaborative development has only just begun to be realized, and open-source software will continue to spur more collaboration and more innovation." Interestingly, he used to work in an open-source group at Microsoft.

It seems to me that libraries are organizations very suited to be communities of practice. This concept is used in business, so why not in libraries where we have a common interest in providing exemplary service to customers and can benefit greatly by collaborating, sharing ideas, finding solutions, and building innovations. By looking for ways to share the knowledge of group members, we would encourage participation, create a shared identity, and transfer knowledge to all members.

The wiki search site at was helpful in locating library-related wikis. Especially interesting was the Library Website Hall of Fame but this is where I turn cynical -- did these libraries add themselves?

No comments: