Thursday, September 10, 2009

www - Wild Wiki Web

Time to get back to business...

Part of my position in the library is liaison between our building and the on campus Art Committee. When I started working here last year the organization was still new and not quite eased into their own rhythm as a group.

Now, a year later, I've become the unofficial technology guru... that title being bestowed because I "built" the website (using the campus template of course). The website battle was easily won - I'll do all of the work in setting it up and we get increased exposure. Done.

The difficult part is the communications between members. With forwards, replies, and new threads making my head and Outlook hurt, I've created a new way of communication with the crew: a Wiki.

Though it is still being built, I'm already running into walls miles thick with the group. Most have never heard of a wiki, some don't want to join yet another group, and still others think email is the best way to communicate. For a group of people that never sit in the same room, ever, it is difficult to address these issues and convince them that the wiki is the best plan.

In his article, Control and Community: A Case Study of Enterprise Wiki Usage, Matthew Clark breaks wikis down into three types: public, enterprise (the focus of the article), and team. The later being the type with which I am dealing.

The few lines he dedicates to team wikis conveys all of my hopes and frustrations for the future of this effort.

For example: "In contrast to public Wikis, where self-selection guarantees that the vast majority of users are technically savvy and keen to be involved, the people contributing to a team Wiki may not be doing so voluntarily or with much enthusiasm. It may well be a required part of their work that they would prefer to avoid. The need to make the Wiki as easy as possible to use becomes even more important in this context."

That is it exactly! Most have never been exposed to this, nor really think that it is necessary.

My only option at the moment is to keep pushing, slowly, while making the wiki the easiest I possibly can. Eventually, if all goes well, my patience will be rewarded... if not, well then I'll have a great looking wiki to put on my resume.


  1. Excellent work, Heather - you always give me so much to think about. (Posted about your post on mine.)