What in the World is a Wiki? A Website You Can Create!

Think Wikipedia!  Little did I know several years ago just how important this tool would become to me both personally – and professionally.  A Wiki is a combination of:

  • A Wordprocessor
  • An Email tool
  • A Discussion forum
  • A File Storage Area
  • A Collaboration Tool
  • A Website

Websites have multiple pages connected by links or navigation tabs; if you have your own website you know that you can’t edit those pages on the fly unless you have experience in software such as Flash or Dreamweaver - or really know html.  That’s why most of us hire individuals (webmasters) to edit and add pages to our websites.

Wikis allow you to edit pages at will – each page is its own separate file (just like a wordprocessing file); you open the file and a toolbar appears that allows you to enter text, add photos, videos and audios.  You can link create links from one page to another with virtually no effort.  I am a huge fan of wikispaces.com software. To me, it is the AOL of wikis – easy to use, intuitive and great for those who don’t consider themselves computer literate.

I started a private wiki for group of artists who collaborate on specific project.  Here is an example of what a wiki page within this wiki looks like (FYI: The page (file) is named “Blog Example”, which shows up at the top of the page):

Notice that there is a Discussion Tab, a History Tab and a Notifications Tab.  The Discussion Tab allows discussions specific to this page’s topics (remember each page is its own file and subsequently has its own dedicated discussions). The History Tab is a listing of the page and saves the page as a separate file each time you make changes – so if you decide you want to revert to a version of the page from two days ago…you can!  Also the history will show you additions or deletions (like track changes in Microsoft Word) within the page through each edited version.  In other words, there are no secrets!  If you have a collaborative group, you will know exactly who made what changes to the page. The Notifications tab allows you to select pages that you will be notified about when changes are made. Here is what you see under each tab:

Discussion Tab for Wiki Page:

History Tab for Wiki Page:

Historical Changes on a specific Date:

Notifications Tab and Options:

The really cool thing about wikis is that they can be public wikis or private wikis (so you have to request membership).

Why is this so easy to edit?  When you press the Edit Tab button at the top of the page (see pencil) you get this Toolbar:

You can see it looks like a standard wordprocessing toolbar, you can just place your cursor in the page and start typing; you can select text and format it (bold, underline, give it a different font- or use a predetermined style).  You can create numbered or bulleted lists, select text and link it to another page or website, upload a file, photos, videos, audios and insert them into the page!

And now the really cool part.  You can have a wiki that should suffice for a small business or individual for $250 a year or less! You don’t need a webmaster-just get a public wiki and you can edit it yourself!

See Wikispaces for more information.

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15 Comments

  1. My first experience with wikis was when the Studio Art Quilt Associates started their SAQA-University wiki about two years ago. The learning curve was not bad at all. It definitely is worth looking into and has many wonderful features so you can easily keep track of discussions without actually having to log onto the wiki.

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