Well Wiki’d

Here we are, the final push for the summit and completion of 23 Things. And it’s wikis, possibly the Thing I have the most experience with (apart from blogging).

Earlier this year, we had a wiki within our department for staff to contribute ideas as part of a collaborative contribution to the UL’s strategic framework. We used the wiki in CamTools for this, which was easy to use and extremely effective for this form of collaborative working between almost 20 different people. It was much easier than attempting to do something by email or scheduling several meetings in person. This way, by the time we did all meet in person we had a body of work to discuss and refine together. I actually think that this wiki was better for collaborative working than using Google Docs, it was less slow and more stable. It also required no special login as we were registered on the CamTools site by our existing Raven user names and using our work emails. I would recommend the CamTools wiki function – the only problem I had was that it doesn’t seem to have a way of telling you when someone else is actively working in a document at the same time as you (or maybe I just haven’t figured this out, I can’t say I looked very hard) whereas Google Docs tells you very clearly who else is looking at the document (even though often this means they just had it open recently but are no longer actually active there).

Unlike some of the other wikis mentioned, CamTools had the advantage of being available to anyone invited (since we were all University staff) while remaining a private space, not indexed on Google or visible more publicly. A bit of privacy is sometimes a good idea when you’re working on drafts or brainstorming ideas that aren’t quite ready for public consumption yet.

Cambridge Librarian TeachMeet logo

logo by Girl in the Moon

Andy very kindly mentioned the TeachMeet – as one of the organisers of the Cambridge Librarians TeachMeet, I’ve looked at other pages on the general TeachMeet wiki pages as well as contributing to our own TeachMeet page. I’m very glad to hear other people reporting that they found it easy to use. It’s a good use for a wiki and we haven’t (as yet) had any issues with spam or malicious posting.

I looked at all the suggested links, there were some really interesting uses of wikis in the library workplace. If you haven’t read everything yet then it’s really worth taking the time to look at Antioch University’s wiki page on Staff Roles and Responsibilities or, “Rules the Man has come up with for you; the person sitting at the front desk right now”. Number 9 is “no knitting”. Not pandering to any librarian stereotypes there. And number 10 is something that one would like to this goes without saying, but obviously doesn’t.

I’ve come across the use of wikis for internal documentation before as I have a strange fascination for and interest in library documentation. I’m not sure this affliction has a name but I do like reading procedures and protocols for other libraries (and cataloguing/technical services departments in particular). It tends to be more usual for US libraries to make their intranet documentation publicly visible but I was pleased to find (via the Library Success Wiki) that Ireland are also more open with their documentation – University College Dublin has a Cataloguing wiki as do the Glucksman Library, University of Limerick (a different UL).

With a colleague, we have discussed the possible use of a wiki for our departmental documentation and we’re talking about what to do for the bigger TeachMeet we’re hoping to hold in 2011 (yep, that’s right, we’re already thinking about the next one!) and that might involve setting up our own wiki so there may well be more wikis in my professional future.

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1 comment so far

  1. Girl in the Moon on

    Number 10 definitely ought to go without saying, and the bracketed clarification is quite telling, too!


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