As you all know, I’m a big fan of wikis, such a big fan that I often cannot gauge how other people will respond when they are introduced to wikis. Well, imagine my surprise to discover how incredibly enthusiastic our participants were this week about implementing wikis in their library; probably more so than any of the other tools we’ve discussed.

We also had some help in convincing them. Chad Boeninger and Starr Hoffman gave a really terrific presentation (archived here) on wikis that really got people thinking in terms of practical applications. We saw a very interesting application of wikis from Florida State University and learned about how to use PmWiki as a next generation CMS. We got to see how folks are implementing social software tools in special collections and archives. We even got to listen to an interview from the creator of PmWiki! All of the presentations are accessible from the Week 3 page.

Here are some of the highlights from Week 3, which was all about wikis:

thoughts on the cost and benefits of open collaboration

Opening up any library-created Web pages to collaboration (with patrons or even with other colleagues) can be scary. These two posts do a great job of confronting those fears and the great benefits that are only possible with collaboration.

Beth Tumbleson wrote a very eloquent piece about how the benefits of wiki collaboration often far outweigh fears of having your work edited. Lots of great comments on this post too.

In what I would probably rank as the most thoughtful post of the week, Tiah Edmunson-Morton writes about chaos versus control in social software and how a giving a little control over to the patrons may benefit them and the archives where she works. Another post with many really interesting comments.

so many wikis… so many uses

Our participants this week could really see some really interesting and unique uses of wikis in their institutions.

Jessica Langlois mentions the idea of using wiki editing as a teaching tool at her school to help students understand Web publishing and challenge the idea that everything on the Web must be true.

Lauren McMullen sees immediate applications of wikis in improving communication and asynchronous collaboration among her geographically distant colleagues at the Montana State Library.

Jacquelyn Erdman looks toward implementing some totally open and some restricted wikis (that only library staff can contribute to) at her library. The open wikis include a bibliographic instruction wiki and an FAQ that students and faculty could contribute to. The restricted wikis could include subject guides, a ready reference wiki and a staff help page. Interesting to see all the ways that wikis could be used in her setting and how the “user community” for each would differ.

Shireen Deboo sees useful applications of wikis in distributing Website development work and for use as a staff Intranet, but wonders how she might get her colleagues using it.

In addition to the appeal of using wikis for subject guides and ready reference guides, Renata Gibson plans to use a wiki to collaborate with two colleagues on a presentation they are giving at a conference.

Fred Jahns can envision wikis working in his school library as a space to display student work, a way for students to evaluate each others’ work and as a space to collect documentation and policies for SACS accreditation.

Linda Bedwell discusses the benefits of having students and faculty add to a recommended list of Websites in her subject and suggests a slew of ways that she can use wikis internally, including a policy manual and a wiki to share information literacy teaching materials.

Rita Ennen has lots of ideas for implementing wikis in her library, such as a subject guide, a way to get distance learners to collaborate and build community online, and a repository for internal staff documents.

Beth Tumbleson discusses her excitement about wikis and how she would like to develop pathfinders on a wiki collaboratively with faculty and wants to use a wiki to engage in planning for technology and information literacy integration into the curriculum. She smartly plans to start small and see where things go.

is this the right choice?

It’s interesting to me how few concerns there were about implementing wikis this week versus blogs, rss and social bookmarking.

Dell Bayer asks, when we already have a good system for collaboration online at our library, why do we need wikis? The answer: maybe you don’t.

Marla Peppers brings up some concerns about wikis that are not aesthetically pleasing and not updated frequently. On the flip side, Cristie Fergusen says “I like being able to just post the content without worrying so much with design elements.”

already implementing what they’ve learned!

Some participants were real go-getters and already got started with wikis!

Rachel Kingcade looks at a variety of wiki software and ultimately selects PBWiki for her library’s wiki.

Holly Ristau is already implementing wikis in her setting for internal collaboration and has gotten other people excited about them!

Tamara Cameron has already implemented a wiki as a collaborative short story writing space for students as part of a Webquest assignment. How creative!

Josalyn Gervasio (on fire as usual) comes up with some really creative uses for wikis in her library, including a 50th Anniversary Wiki for their year-long celebration, a wiki for a popular program at her library and a wiki for staff to share information about social software. And of course, she has already created a wiki for one of these purposes (with a MeeboMe widget!)!

thinking ahead to the final project

The participants’ final project (due March 12th) is to develop a proposal on how to implement one of these tools in their library.

Fred Jahns created a really neat Mind Map of the ways he’d like to implement social software tools in his library in anticipation of the upcoming proposal final project deadline. What a neat idea!

Now on to Week 4: Social Networking, Flickr & MMOGs!