Traditional reference service is dead--- or dying. This blog will focus on new approaches toward providing library assistance to patrons... or whatever else I feel like rambling on about.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

wiki stuff

I’ve been playing around with wiki software lately. Yes, I know, that’s very trendy these days, but beyond all that, I have to say they are not as intuitive as they should be.

I’ve been using:
http://www.pbwiki.com/
http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/MediaWiki

PB is free and pretty straight forward, but too simple and plastered with advertising.

MediaWiki is sexy (Wikipedia uses it) but the search feature sucks and it’s just kind of weird. It also involves server installation.

The point of a wiki is to make collaboration quick and easy and unfortunately both products fail in this regard. I pitched the wiki idea at a reference meeting and people didn’t seem to care. I’m hoping maybe the idea was too new because the potential value is immense. I’ve been using the PB one myself the past few weeks and it’s been great.

The real problem, particularly with mediawiki, is the clunkiness of the editor. I don’t feel comfortable trying to persuade librarians to learn how to use it. It needs to be simpler, like a blog or message board—but I don’t want to use those technologies. I fear that it will come down to three or four of us being the “editors” rather than a collective contribution.