• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

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Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 11 months ago

Introduction to Wikis


A wiki is a website that allows people to collaboratively write, share and edit information in a central location. This site is an example of a wiki. We have created the "shell" of the site, but any interested reader can add additional information, links, examples, comments, suggestions, etc. They can also edit what other people have written. Think of it as building a plane while you're flying--building a wiki is basically building a website as you use it.


These capabilities make wikis effectives tool for project management and the development of collaborative documents.


Wikis can be public, like this wiki. That means that all content is visible to the public and that the public may make changes.


Protected wikis may be viewed by the public, but only authorized users may make any edits or changes.


Private wikis are hidden from public view and can only be seen and edited by designated users.


Wikis are designed to be easy to use by nontechnical personnel. While there is an initial learning curve to become accustomed to the look and functioning of the wiki, it's similarity to word processing software usually makes it relatively easy to learn.


Probably the most widely known wiki is Wikipedia, an enormous online encyclopedia that is being developed for free by users around the world.


For a brief video description of a wiki and what it can do for you, start with this video from Common Craft. There's also another good video from BNET. These are the two best ways to get a good picture of how wikis work.



Read more about the basics of wikis here. There's another good article that explains wikis in "plain English" here




Why Would A Nonprofit Want to Use a Wiki?


Wikis are versatile tools that can be used in a variety of ways anytime you have to produce or use a collaborative document. Because they do not require specialized knowledge or expertise to develop and update, you do not have to rely on technical staff to put the information online. Some examples of how a nonprofit can use a wiki include:


  • Create in intranet that stores your organization's policy and procedure manual, forms, etc.


  • Develop the agenda, conferences notes, etc. for an event. Go here for an example.


  • Use a wiki, in combination with social bookmarking, to write a grant proposal. This is particularly useful if you're working with more than one organization to develop the grant.


  • Create a website of best practices. Users would be able to add their examples and ideas on their own rather than relying on a central organization and technical staff to update the site. Here's an example.


  • Use it to create an online, easily updated resource directory. All organizations can be responsible for editing their own content. Because it doesn't rely on technical staff, it would be easier to keep information up-to-date.


For more information on how to use wikis in nonprofits read this article.


For examples on how nonprofits are using wikis, try these NetSquared Case Studies.


More Resources on Wikis


Five Uses for a Wiki at Work


Wikis as Personal Space


Working the Wiki Way--Includes a number of examples.



Selecting a Wiki Service

There are many wiki solutions available. The best way to select the wiki that's right for you is to try the Wiki Choice Wizard from WikiMatrix. It walks you through some key questions and then offers wiki software that matches your answers.



Getting a Wiki Started

Some organizations struggle with starting their wiki. This article provides a step-by-step process for starting a wiki with what you already have in e-mails and other documents. You can also try this wiki, which includes some good video resources.



Practices That Support Wiki Use and Development


WikiPatterns is a practical toolbox of ideas to start and grow any wiki. It also describes "anti-patterns"--behaviors that get in the way of wiki development and adoption.




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