Intro to Wikis

From Help Wiki

What is a wiki?

Definition: A wiki is a collaborative website which can be directly edited by anyone with access to it. Ward Cunningham, developer of the first wiki WikiWikiWeb, originally described it as "the simplest online database that could possibly work". One of the best-known wikis is Wikipedia. - from Wikipedia

Honolulu Wiki Wiki Shuttle

Brief history of wikis

  • Created by Ward Cunningham in 1994
  • inspired by Apple's Hypercard
  • named after the Honolulu wiki-wiki express bus

What makes a wiki?

  • The Read/Write Web - Wiki users are readers, authors and editors
  • Promotes topic association between pages with easy linking
  • Not a carefully crafted site but is intended to involve the visitor in the process of creation and collaboration
  • Generally changes take place immediately and are not reviewed

Mediawiki - the software behind Wikipedia

  • Presentation and editing in one tool.
  • Requires only a web browser
  • Open source - PHP, MySQL

Wiki markup

  • does not require knowledge of html
  • very easy to create links and new pages or articles
  • some WYSIWYG tools are available

Trust and Security

  • Wikis are generally designed with the philosophy of making it easy to correct mistakes, rather than making it difficult to make them.
  • Issues that arise are:

Tools to help you assess

  • Search - probably the easiest way to find what you are looking for in a wiki
  • History - view the evolution of a page, who made what changes when. Changes can be rolled back at any time
  • Recent changes page - view the most recent chagnes on the entire site
  • Discussion pages - exit for each article and are a place for contributors to discuss and ask questions about the article
  • Wikipedia Policies and Guidelines
  • User pages - as a logged in user this is your space to identify who you are. This space can also function as a sandbox for trying out markup.
  • Notes, References and Further Reading