Use WordPress as a Wiki

Wordpress

I’m not sure why you’d want to do use a content management system as a wiki – but I’m such a fan of WordPress that I thought this article on WordPress Jedi looked interesting.

Many webmasters use solutions such as MediaWiki to add a Wiki section to their website. There is nothing wrong with that approach. But integrating MediaWiki with WordPress could be challenging. Besides, having to deal with a new content management system is not always fun.

Check out the 5 plugins in this article if you’d like to learn more.

PBWiki Name Change

The most well known (at least in libraries) wiki is changing it’s name!

Next month [PBWiki] have some big changes that we will be announcing, and one of them is a new name and logo. Yes folks, the peanut butter sandwich is going into retirement.

Your workspace will remain exactly the same – with the same features and login information. And we will always be an easy-to-use solution that you can depend on, with great free products. But we hope you’re excited about all the additional things we’ll be bringing you.

Changes are good – but I’m not sure that changing your well-known brand is a good idea …

For now, if you want to guess the new name, read about the fun PBWiki contest to win a soon to be vintage t-shirt.

PBWiki Offers Free Premium Account to Librarians

Thanks to The Krafty Librarian, I just learned that PBWiki is offering free premium accounts to librarians and teachers (a $250/year value).

What is the PBwiki Partner Program for Education?

PBwiki wants to make 2008-2009 the year of collaborative learning.

We know that budgets are going to be tight, and we don’t want a lack of funds to deter educators from using collaborative technologies like wikis with their students.

To this end, PBwiki is giving each teacher or librarian who signs up as part of the program between August 18 and November 30, a free premium wiki (regular price: $250/year).

Sound like something you’d be interested in? Learn more here.

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Encyclopaedia Britannica Goes — Gasp! — Wiki

After the back and forth in the Wikipedia/Britannica debate, Britannica caves:

Long a standard reference source for scholarship, largely because of its tightly controlled editing, the Encyclopaedia Britannica announced this week it was throwing open its elegantly-bound covers to the masses. It will allow the “user community” (in the words of the encyclopedia’s blog) to contribute their own articles, which will be clearly marked and run alongside the edited reference pieces.

This seems to be a response to the runaway success of the user-edited online reference tool Wikipedia. (See for yourself. Do a Web search on a topic and note whether Wikipedia or Britannica shows up first.) Scholars have been adamantly opposed to Wikipedia citations in academic papers because the authors and sources are always changing. Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia’s co-founder, agrees with this, but in next week’s issue of The Chronicle (click back to our home page on Monday for more) he also points to some changes in the reference tool that may make it more palatable to scholars.

It will be interested to see what happens with this new tool. Read more from The Chronicle.

What do patrons know about Wikipedia?

My husband told me a shocking story last night!! He and his colleagues were debating whether America’s favorite ice cream topping is called “jimmies” or “sprinkles.” One of his colleagues (and I should mention that they’re all early thirties and under) said, we’ll check Wikipedia after lunch. My husband responded, we can’t trust that, people will edit the article to meet their opinion. His colleague was shocked. He asked what my husband meant only to learn that anyone can edit pages in Wikipedia. After lunch my husband showed his colleague how to edit the page on “sprinkles” in Wikipedia.

Most articles (or blog posts) I read usually assume that people know that Wikipedia is a wiki and a wiki is a page that anyone can edit – but somehow that fact has still escaped some of our patrons. How do we educate people like this? Of course they were just looking up something for fun – but what if it was something more important??

I mention this because Wikipedia has been in the news (again) lately. Today I got this article from the New York Times pointed out to me and a earlier I got this one.

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A Wiki goes Social

Well – wikis are social – but what other title could I give this post? Turns out that WetPaint has added some new social networking features to it’s wiki package.

(Seattle, Wash. – March 10, 2008) Wetpaint, the leading social publishing platform with a network of over 750,000 social sites, today unveiled a complete set of social networking features to supercharge creation of content on its award-winning wiki service that now unifies the two things people love to do online socialize and share content with others.

With the addition of such new features as a Friends Network, Custom Member Profiles, a What’s New site activity dashboard and Friends Feeds, Wetpaint has created the first truly integrated social publishing platform, empowering anyone to easily create a completely social and collaborative website.

Sounds pretty interesting – something to keep in mind before you set up your next wiki. Learn more here.

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More reliable?

Judith Seiss points us to Veropedia.

Veropedia "is a collaborative effort by a group of Wikipedians to collect the best of Wikipedia's content, clean it up, vet it, and save it for all time. These articles are stable and cannot be edited." It is not competing with Wikipedia"”they "prefer to think of [themselves] as a meta-layer, highlighting the best that Wikipedia has to offer." There are two types of links, green (already verified) and blue (not verified, directing you back to Wikipedia). It contains over 4500 articles there now. Very interesting.

Would you use this over Wikipedia? I know that a lot of librarians are skeptical about articles on Wikipedia and that author David Weinberger thinks it’s an amazing example of how the third order of order has been successful – does this mean that Veropedia is something that could keep both audiences happy?

My guess – probably not. Why? Because Veropedia are still not “experts” in the traditional sense. For me? I think it’s great and shows that the people out there creating and editing content care about what they’re doing and that’s awesome!

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Communication 2.0 at EMA

I presented with Sarah Theimer from Syracuse this morning. Sarah talked about how they use MediaWiki for keeping track of procedures. She started by asking “Will a wiki work?” and her answer was “Sort of” – my answer is YES! :)

It was fun to listen to Sarah because a lot of what she said was repetition of what I’ve heard from others. It’s nice to hear that you’re not alone.

She talked about how she was the sole editor of procedures and didn’t want to be anymore – the wiki seemed like the best solution. Her actual comment was that others should be allowed to share in the “pleasure” of editing these documents.

I think that the reason that Sarah has had a harder time that I did at Jenkins is because she was forced to use MediaWiki. While this tool is very powerful and awesome – it’s not easy to learn the syntax or to organize your content in the way that librarians like to. It’s a shame that I didn’t realize how useful our Intranet was going to be – if I had the foresight I would have written it so that it could be released as and open source app for all libraries.

For those of you who want to see my presentation here you go:

Communication 2.0 with Blogs & Wikis
Exlibris Mid-Atlantic Users Group, Rider University, NJ, October 30, 2007

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Collaborative Dictionary

I have to catalog a lot of foreign language materials at work – and I speak 1 language (typical American). So I use a tool called Babylon (not a freebie) to help me translate bits of text as I search through OCLC for the right copy.

Well, now the makers of Babylon are trying something new – they have a wiki-dictionary – a wiktionary, a wikitionary … hmmm – anyway they have a new site LingoZ where anyone can add entries to the dictionary. Sounds like a neat idea and helpful for those stranger terms and jargon that we can’t find definitions to elsewhere.

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