Wikis: Tools for Information Work and Collaboration

Jayati Chaudhuri (University of Northern Colorado)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Article publication date: 14 August 2007




Chaudhuri, J. (2007), "Wikis: Tools for Information Work and Collaboration", Online Information Review, Vol. 31 No. 4, pp. 548-549.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Jane Klobas, the main contributor of this book, is a researcher at Bocconi University in Milan and a fellow at the University of Western Australia. Other contributors are Krystin Osk Hlynsdottir, Sebastien Paquet, Pru Mitchell, Marco Marlia and Angela Beesley – all with wide experience in working with online communities and wikis.

There are nine chapters, a detailed index, a list of figures and tables, and list of references at the end of each chapter. The first chapter introduces the novel concept of transforming the web to a “conversational” platform. This and the second chapter describe wikis not only as an information source, also as “social software” to enhance collaboration on the web. The definition, evaluation, and advantages of wikis are analysed in these chapters. Chapter 2 also provides numerous examples of varieties of wikis that can be used as an excellent resource for information professionals. Different searching strategies for finding wikis on the web are discussed, including searching the directories, search engines and tours developed specifically for wikis. This offers excellent guidance for all wiki users.

There are three chapters in this book where contributors have analysed how wikis can be adopted within different disciplines. Jane Klobas and Kristin Hiynsdottir report the wide adaptations of wikis among library and information science professionals, practitioners, teachers and researchers. However, it is surprising to learn that very few wikis have actually been created by libraries or educational institutions. Sebastien Paquet explains how wikis can be used in three different ways in business:

  1. 1.

    As a collaborative model.

  2. 2.

    As a knowledge base.

  3. 3.

    As a dissemination model.

Pru Mitchell offers a number of examples to explain the role of wikis among educators.

Chapter 7 provides practical information on how wikis work and six different ways one can create a wiki. These six recommended ways are described in a manner that is understandable by all readers. The final chapter has detailed guidelines on how to create, evaluate and manage wikis. Here various options are explored: free wiki options, commercial wiki options and wiki hosting. The final chapter of the book includes even more sources that have information about wikis.

The prime audience for this easy‐to‐read book is information professionals who are passionate about the collaborative characteristics of wikis. The major strength of the book is that the different technical options for creating and implementing wikis have been discussed in a non‐technical way to appeal to a broader range of readers.

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