Saturday, October 25, 2008


Well Gypsy Rose sez; that Wiki is a bit like the harbour bridge it travels over and beyond knowledge as we know it and gave me an insight into that land named ' cyberspace'
Now I have to admit to being a mite sceptical about wikis and I figure this may have something to do with my teaching background. Q: is this information accurate? ...
But of course the whole thing is well it's sort of not meant to be as wikis aren't necessarily about canonising information but turning it loose on the community and letting them decide what is important to them. And after all isn't that what education is all about? Gathering info, analyzing it and applying it in a practical sense.
So in wikis defence;
information and the spreading of is made more accessible
no special software is needed
it's free
it's a great way to hook up with others (inc library staff)
Thinking about how this could be incoporated into our libraries;
something like @ Southern Massachusetts Library where the info centre had a homework reference option alongside searching for articles, reviewing books etc, finding library materials AND in the broader community scholarship & careers info. This could be an excellent way to keep up the connection with young adult patrons in particular.
A real bonus it seems is an online community of like-minded folk and I am thinking of the many patrons who come into the library who come to the desk and want reading reommendations and/or contact and a sense of belonging which wikis could provide in a more literary sense.
Something I get asked regularly is what did you think of ... well best practice dictates we don't offer personal opinions. Now then if we had a wiki within the catalogue for library materials to be reviewed how good would that be
also new titles, new authors
and whats happening in NSL including what would you like to see happening in your library? and a reference based FAQ section
how about Are you happy with the service in your library and why/why not - suggestions please ...
WOW all these are great ideas but as Killie points out in her research paper wikis need constant work akin to housekeeping or 'care and pruning' from a 'wiki gardener' as Fichter (2005b) puts it. And the no:1 complaint I came across was vandalism/spam because of the openess of wikis.
So yes there is a more rapid transfer of knowledge and more importantly of power to users and high levels of accessibility (internally & externally) but at what price - could spammers access the library sytem and disable it? Could libraries lose credibility by taking on the latest techo craze ...
Perhaps the answer lies in a buffet-style approach - that is selecting the bytes that each library community (staff & patrons & visitors) require, After all the needs of each group will vary and the articles I've read today are just a sample of suggestions and recommendations. So I guess it all boils down to what is going to work for each group and this comes through in the construction stage - as Blake states in his article it is imperitive to have a purpose in mind when designing and maintaining wikis within the workplace.
So back to the bridge;
-the construction and maintainance of your structure is important
-open access to all traffic
-adherance to the road code for the safety and consideration of all
With all that in mind I'll say bokt for now
and Latcho Drom (safe journey)

No comments: