Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Wiki Wonderland. Or, Thing #16.

Okay, first things first: as a librarian, I know I'm not supposed to love Wikipedia. My uncle, whose hobby is asking me questions about libraries and books and research, recently asked me, "So what's the deal with Wikipedia? You really mean that ANYONE can edit it? What a bad idea!" I explained that there had been some controversies and like anything on the Internet, you have to consider your source, that Wikipedia has made some adjustments to just WHO can really edit the articles... but in reality, it's very often still the first site I check for basic trivia and ready reference type information. I wouldn't use it in a research paper, and I wouldn't tell a student to use it, either, but it can be a truly valuable resource when you are just getting started. Or if you have a question about something pop-culture or technology related. Or if you want a quick list of an author's published works instead of trying to sift through Amazon's search results. Or if you are bored and want to learn about dragons or history or where they filmed Casino Royale and how it fits into the overall story arc of James Bond.

But anyway, this Thing was not created so I can write about my own personal love of Wikipedia. At least I am fairly sure my fellow committee members didn't have that in mind. Wikis in general are pretty cool, and I have to also take a minute to say how much I love the Common Craft video about wikis. (Well, all of the Common Craft videos, really.) Wikis are things that maybe people have heard of, but I don't know a lot of people (even tech-savvy folks like myself) who actually USE them to share information. Which stinks, really, because wikis can be so useful for any sort of collaboration - having one for the reference department would be wonderful, in the same way that having all of our reference department links together in a account would be wonderful. The Library Best Practices wiki is something I haven't seen before this challenge. As someone who hasn't even been out of library school for a year yet, I still have a lot to learn about being a librarian. This is a great resource that I'm honestly going to have to bookmark and read through later, because I know I'm not internalizing it all now. But honestly, how cool is it that it's even out there? I <3 web 2.0, as nerdy as that means I am.

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