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Wikis and More...

Online Places To Write Content Together... Quick Quick! Fast Food?



Creative Commons licensed photo by flickr user "fastfoodweblog"







What's a Wiki?

It is actually old technology, created by programmer Ward Cunningham about 10 years ago. He defines it as:



A collection of Web pages which can be edited by anyone, at any time, from anywhere. (Legend has it that the name Wiki was inspired by the name of the shuttle bus at the Honolulu Airport)


The Hawaiian word Wiki Wiki means quick so we are talking about a quick (and easy) way to create and connect web content. It's largest manifestation is the WikiPedia, a collaboratively written enclyclopedia, where you will find even more information about wikis.


At first the idea of creating a web page that any other person can edit sounds very strange, but when thought of as a vehicle for brainstorming, collectively building a resource collection, or sharing information, it becomes much more exciting than forwarding Word documents by email.


And of course, if you have not figure it out, this very web site you are looking at is a wiki.



More About Wikis

* Ward Cunningham's Original Wiki see also the Wiki getting Started FAQ

* Ward Cunningham - How did you come up with the idea for the Wiki? video interview

* Heavy Metal Umlaut an audio screencast by Jon Udell that shows the evolution of an entry in WikiPedia

* 'Wiki' Named One of the Top Words of 2005

* Where the Wiki Things Are MCLI Forum, Fall 2004

* Wide Open Spaces: Wikis, Ready or Not by Brian Lamb, EDUCAUSE Review (September/October 2004)

* 7 Things You Should Know about Wikis EDUCAUSE




Taste Some Wikis

Explore a few of the wiki examples below and be sure to make some notes about what you find. You may want to right-click (Windows) or hold-click (Mac) and then select the option to open the link in a new window. That way you can keep these instructions in view) See the HowTo for instructions for editing your notes



keep the international research communities informed on, and involved in, the latest developments in the High Definition over Internet Protocol (HDoIP)"

  • Juggle Wiki all about juggling
  • WikiFish "a collaborative website created by the Students, Faculty and Staff of the Auburn University School of Architecture. This Wiki serves to protect the delicate collaborative environment of Design studio culture, and to serve as a protocol and reference guide to keep these balances in check."




The site we are using for this workshop's materials is PBWiki where the motto is:



Make a free, password-protected wiki as easily as a peanut butter sandwich.


This service allows you to quickly create your own wiki, add content, and control whether it is publicly available or not. There is a single password that you can share with people you wish to have editing capability.



For more, see these examples of PBWiki sites:




Other Free Wiki Hosting Services

* WikiSpaces

* Schtuff

* Tiddly Wiki

* Seed Wiki


Beyond Wikis- Collaborative Web Writing with Writely

A number of new tools have merged that provide wiki-like functionality for doing shared document writing via the web. One of the most interesting is called Writely




Writely is a web word processor that provides simple and secure document collaboration and publishing on the web using only the browser. from the Writely Tour


You can start from scratch or even upload an existing Word document, and Writely converts it to a web format. Then you can invite others by email to edit the document. When it is ready, you can then publish it to a weblog, as a web page, or export it to a word processor file format.


As a demo, I created a silly Word document with a few headings, web links, lists, and a left aligned image



I then imported this into Writely, which offers a WYSIWIG editing interface where I can do things like correct a typo and add new content:



I can then invite others to edit the document, like Tom Foster (in the workshop, we will demo inviting other participants).


You can also see an example of this document published from Writely to a Blogger web site:



If you wish to explore Writely, you can create an account for free at http://www.writely.com/



Other Collaborative Writing Tools

Writely is but one of a few new tools to check out.

* Writeboard

* Web Collaborator

* Jot Spot

and also see EDUCAUSE's 7 Things You Should Know About Collaborative Editing



What To Do?

Think about a need where you might want to have a group of people collaborate on a written document, and what that would mean if it could be done via the web. What are the advtantages? Disadvantages? How would this work as a simple way for non technical people to assemble their own web site? What would students use this for?


Some examples that may get you thinking:


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