wikis – brief thoughts:

I am, of course, going to have to look at a few more! Like everyone else on the net, I’ve visited Wikipedia a few times, and I’ve actually found its content good. But – I’ve also participated in a chain story on wiki, so I know there are really no controls. It seems a closed community, by invitation only, would have better authority as far as the content goes, but then you lose the community and openness which, I guess, would be one of the main attractions.

As far as the library wikis John linked to are concerned, I had two thoughts:

First, a couple of them didn’t seem at all different from the list of recommended websites we already provide. There were a lot of links with good information, but, as far as I could tell, no interactivity.

Which brings me to my second point: in order to really use some of these wikis, you have to join, and I’m just not a joiner. Yet another name and password to remember; yet another site to keep track of – yes, they are useful and fun, but at what point does it get overwhelming?

When you take these points together, you see that there’s tension between openness and authority. If you let absolutely everybody join and contribute, there is no guarantee that the info in the wiki is accurate. If you don’t let people join and contribute, why call the site you’re building a wiki?

Because of the lack of authority and quality control, my kids (the seniors in my group a couple of years back; they are now sophomores in college) were opposed to setting up a library wiki for our teen group. They thought a myspace or facebook page would be more useful. I haven’t yet asked the younger kids in the group what they think, but I have been told the kids are forbidden to use wikis for homework.

So I see them as being very good for collaborative creativity, possibly very good for social networking, and a mixed bag for actual information. I’ll have to look at a few more and think some more about this. They are kind of fun, though!

Now off to look at Deirdre’s post, and see if I can link to some blogs-

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