I'm Liz, and I'm a librarian (duh)

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Wiki wiki wiki

Hmmm, it is fun to say wiki. And I totally love that it's Hawaiian. Not sure why that makes me happy, but it does. Before reading up I admit I was a little wary of wikis (hee hee) because of the whole everyone's-a-contributor thing. That makes me such a librarian; I like there to be an authority who is the definitive responsible party for my information, but I know that is 1.0 thinking and I am working to change my attitude. I guess what I sort of object to is the wikipedia, since in my mind there's always the chance that someone would intentionally or even unintentionally put wrong information out there. But I know this is irrational, I mean, we read reviews for books all the time that are printed with errors so of course it's bound to happen in the online environment as well. Working with kids and the internet you always find yourself telling kids that they have to trust the source so they can determine whether something they've found online is really good and accurate information, mainly because the kids don't realize that unlike publishing a book anyone can throw something up online with no editing, nothing. If I say I'm a leading authority on kangaroos and here's my website documenting all my research, who's gonna say I'm not? But wikis by and large seem to exist in pretty closed environments, like for a company's staff or a library's users so their applications can be tailored and specific to their audiences. I particularly liked the one library that used a wiki so their patrons could review books they liked (or didn't like) and people could browse by genre as a reader's advisory tool. In fact, there's been a lot of talk about blogging about new books as part of the library's webpage, so that staff could do some reviews each week or month or whatever, but I really like the idea of starting a wiki because then we could get the ball rolling with some of our favorite books and then have the patrons get in on it and post some of their own recommendations and then before we know it we've got a bona fide database going. Maybe if we start small, like for summer reading, it'll get off the ground. But in the meantime, I never thought I'd say this but I think I'm pro wiki.


maura said...

thoughtful commentary on wikis. when i see a patron using a wikipedia for what is a homework assignment, i try to do a little information literacy education, explaining how wikipedia works versus an encyclopedia. if i ran the world and more specifically education systems, info lit would be an integral part of every grade, starting in kindergarten.

Reblogga said...

I feel the same way about having anyone changing information on a site. How do we know they aren't a lunatic babbling wiki dogma? But I agree about the patrons ability to add their own reviews and thoughts. I think their input is very valuable and this gives us a way to gather it (with a moderator of course).