library joy

sharing the joy that the library brings

Thing #16 more wiki crap… ugh! 2008 December 1

Filed under: post-launch — nova @ 5:44 pm
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did you see my last post?? if so, then you’ll know i don’t like wikis all that much. i added my blog link to the learn & play wiki (i was first!), but it wasn’t easy getting it there, i’ll tell you that much. i know others have had trouble and i just want you to know I HEAR YOU! this is where the clunkiness of wikis comes into play for me. first off, it wasn’t just like anyone participating in learn & play could go to the wiki, add their blog link and then go. oh no. i had to approve each and every single person so they could do this. so, every blog that you see linked there was done by a separate person and each of those people had to be given access by me. now, is that practical? really? no, to me it’s not. it meant remembering to check that site every single day of learn & play once that thing was introduced. it meant working with people who were unfamiliar with it to show them how to edit and how it’s not, unfortunately, like a word processor or like trying to update your blog. i don’t think wikis are good for large groups, but maybe i haven’t been in a large group that has been able to effectively make a wiki work?

so once all that was over, then there was still creating the other wiki pages. this is where i get confused. all the elements of a wiki: the main page, the inner pages, the sidebar. the sidebar? what’s that? it’s helpful, but i can never get mine to correspond with the other pages i’ve created and then i get mad and pouty. honestly, my experience with wikis has not been overly positive, but i’ll use them when i have to and i DO see their purpose. (doesn’t mean i have to like it, though…)

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Thing #15 wikis

Filed under: post-launch — nova @ 5:32 pm
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yeah, uh, i don’t really like wikis all that much. i mean, i “like” them, but i’m not “in like” with them. first off, they’re ugly and and can be somewhat clunky. trying to get all your users up-to-speed if they’ve never used one before is hard to do. even trying to arrange your information clearly and concisely can be tricky. gee, am i creating a page or am i just creating another section on this page? do i use one bracket or two? the fact that they don’t use simple html markup is frustrating sometimes. i know editing a wiki can be easy, but i want it to be all html, don’t make me learn special markup just for wikis.

okay, wikis are not very pretty, either. give me fabulous headers and footers and pictures and hearts and flowers! i know i can make the wiki look pretty, but it still doesn’t seem to be enough. i mean, have you seen the wikipedia? BORING!

however, they do serve a purpose. they are very good for project work. the IT/DS wiki that we use here at work, while devoid of any pretty pictures or font, does have extremely important information in it all one place. in fact, it is the routine now to make sure you “update the wiki” when any changes are made to projects. so i do see the value.

as far as libraries using them, i love what St. Joseph County Public Library is doing with their subject guides, one of the reasons why i used them as examples for this Thing. however, did you notice… no pictures!! no pretty font, nothing!! maybe that’s my new mission: bring the “pretty” to the wikis!!!! so, i think using wikis as subject/reference pages is one library application that works well for them. i don’t think it’s practical to allow customers to edit the pages, however, at least not in this case.