Friday, May 9, 2008

It's a Wiki World Out There

On the Info Desk, we refer to the IS Fugitive Facts wiki quite frequently, and some days it feels like every other reference question requires a trip to Wikipedia to get a handle on the topic before we can even know where to begin our search. So I've been familiar with wikis for a while now. The one thing I haven't yet done is actually edit a wiki for myself. Jen keeps pestering us to add to our YA Wiki, but thus far I haven't come up with anything brilliant to contribute.

My biggest concern with wikis is the usual: who gets to edit, and how do you know the information is reliable? I sort of vaguely knew before getting to this 2.0 item that not all wikis are open for anyone to edit, but it was nice to get confirmation of that when I read several of the articles for this Item. I was impressed by the St. Joseph County Public Library Subject Guides wiki. That one is edited only by the librarians, and it seems to do a great job of pulling together a great deal of useful information and links--the kind of information we've tried to do on our website, only SJCPL has done a better job (in my opinion) of grouping the information and making it easier to find and browse. I'd love to see us create something like that--sort of a cross between our IS Fugitive Facts wiki and the information we've gathered for our website. I think our patrons (and staff!) would find it enormously useful, especially for the layout that puts local links & other links up near the top and then the "articles" below the table of contents for each page. In fact, I'd bet our patrons would use a wiki like this far more than they use our website because it would be far easier to navigate than our current website is. (Sad to say, I'm continually discovering new, great links on our site entirely by accident because I stumble across them while searching for something else entirely--I never seem to find these things on purpose, and our site often feels too "busy" for my taste.) Just my $.02!

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