Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Standing on the edge...

Our library is about to take a (another) leap of faith into the world of online social networking. I've had a plan for months to create a wiki for our city to act as a sort of encyclopedia of Kankakee. Often, our reference and genealogy staff uncover some fascinating tidbit of information, only to have it sent off to the questioner, never to be seen again. I thought this an incredible waste of our talents: hence KanWiki. The question is how wiki should our wiki be. The coward's way would be to try to lock down and control every article, lest some online vandal write something unflattering in an alderman's article. I explained the concept at our recent supervisor's meeting and was met with some skepticism. "What if someone tears up the Mayor's article," they asked. I replied that anyone can go in and fix it. Our experience of graffiti of the paint variety is that if you remove it fast, the vandals are not interested in hitting you again. The supervisors seemed unconvinced, but willing to try. I suppose that is the most I can ask. Now we either leap the chasm...or plummet.

Steve Bertrand
Assistant Director


Blogger Ivan Chew said...

Hi Steve/ Cindy, I read this post with interest. I say take a leap, bearing in mind a wiki has its own "safety nets" that people don't necessarily see (e.g. the History tracking, tracking changes via RSS, and saved versions).

I conducted a personal wiki experiment (and it's still ongoing). In brief, there has been no cases of abuse so far. Of course your experience might turn out different but I believe the benefits (i.e. providing useful information and marketing the library talents) far outweight the risks (of vandalism).

Besides, if wikis are easily vandalised, they are also easily restored (the History and Saved versions feature). It works both ways.

April 08, 2008 10:32 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home