Friday, April 14, 2006

Trying out a wiki, baby steps

This probably could be filed under more proof that I am running behind in my posting, but life and work have that way of trumping blogging. At any rate, I finally got a bit brave to go and try out a wiki. Last month, our director declared a Collection Development Hour on a Friday (she does this every once in a while. I don't think there is a method to the madness, but it is a nice idea), which is usually defined as a time for us to take a "time out" to get to know our collection better in some way. This can go from reading a book to practicing on a database to checking out an A/V item or trying a new online tool (it is a fairly relaxed definition). So, I decided to try and see if I would learn a bit about using a wiki since I have been doing some reading on the topic and even heard Meredith Farkas' recent OPAL online presentation on this.

At any rate, I set up an account at LISWiki after I saw a promo for it at LISNews. So, I tried to learn a thing or two in practical terms. As I was browsing, one thing I wondered about were the various "stub" entries that also had links to counterparts in Wikipedia. If I can already read about a topic over there, what is the point of writing about it over here? Not trying to be cynical, but the writer in me wonders. I did a small edit on a small stub entry. While editing on the one hand is fairly easy, there are still some details, such as linking, that I hope to understand further with more practice. It is not as intuitive as some of the enthusiasts make it sound, but it is certainly nothing impossible to learn. It is nothing that a little practice cannot fix. I went on to write my addition, and for a moment, I just wanted to save it without making it public. It was mostly so I could fiddle with it more at a later time. And yet I knew that for this to work, I had to let it go, at least for now. Much of this first foray was very tentative, but that is often how first explorations work. I typed a bit, previewed it, added a bit more. I finally hit the "save page" button, and there it was. By the way, here is the entry I tried out. If nothing else, it was a baby step in learning how to use another resource. I'd say it was time well spent.

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