Using Wikis in the Library

Coming on the heels of learning about blogs last week, this week’s lesson in the care and feeding of a wiki leaves me with a few thoughts. First is the quick realization that a wiki involves a good bit more work than a blog, at least if one wants it to be worthwhile. There’s more content, meaning there’s both more creation AND more organization of information required. In other words, I need to think about what information I want to share and, subsequently, how I want to present it. Ahh… knowledge management, organization, information architecture. Just the thing for a librarian!

My Library Gym wiki, created this week, isn’t exactly work related, but the idea came to mind as I tried to think about a group at work that I regularly communicate and share information with. This one fit the bill. Usually we employ email or old fashioned face-to-face conversation to share the latest news of an upcoming race, a training tip, or a complaint over an unwanted ache. I also know that I often come across lots of health and fitness-related information that I think about sharing with the group, only to inevitably forget to do so down the line. Perhaps a wiki could provide an easier way to track and share such information. It allows me to jot something down quickly, in one centralized place, where others in the group can add and/or comment on it as they’re able. Or rather than sending out an email about an upcoming race, subsequently followed by the string of emails that say “I can” or “I can’t” take part, a group member could post the information on the wiki and others could comment there accordingly.

Likely the most promising idea I have for a wiki in my library is to use one as a training tool as we migrate from the currently divided reference and circulation duties, to a single service desk. There are notebooks, files, Word documents, and brains filled with information about the various aspects of these jobs. To have it all easily accessible and easily amendable – say, in a wiki! – could benefit everyone. It’s a new kind of tool for most and it will take some time for everyone to feel comfortable using it, but it’s certainly something worth exploring in this context.

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