Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Thing 16

I read all the discovery resources and what I found most interesting was that wiki comes from the Hawaiian language, meaning quick. I wonder why or how Ward Cunningham came up with picking a word from the Hawaiian language when he created the first wiki.

I looked at quite a few of the library wikis. For one stop looking to really see all the kinds out there, Library Success: A Best Practices wiki was the best. It was really interesting to see how many libraries have already made wikis. I didn’t realize that some sites I’ve gone to in the past, like the Mid-Hudson Library System’s EZ Library Program Database was a wiki. Seeing all the successful ones listed shows that almost everything a librarian does can be organized into a wiki.

I think our website could easily be converted to a wiki with its organization of information about the library, electronic resources available and directory of internet resources, and more. Staff are already encouraged to contribute to it. The difference would be that staff and everyone “on the street” would be able to directly update links, and delete or add others. From what I saw that could be very good for the library, because as one of the wiki articles noted it can be difficult for librarians or the ‘webmaster’ to keep up with checking that all links are still current.

Further, to stop constantly re-inventing the wheel, if all of us librarians contributed to a programming wiki, we would have our own online database of Baby Brilliant (baby, toddler, & preschool), School age, Teen, even Adult programs to share with all of our branches and all the internet. Particularly for children’s programs, where we type a sheet to give parents/caregivers, this could save time and make our job easier.

Really the discovery resources about wiki listed many of the uses for them: subject guides, community guides, conference guide, education tool, etc. The Libsuccess wiki lists any that the resources missed. I think that wiki really ties in with the previous Thing 15 on Library 2.0—it broadens the library to everyone—other librarians & other libraries all the way to the entire world.

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