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Wiki What?

Date Added: July 15, 2009 01:32:32 AM
Author: EthanLuke
Category: Internet
What on earth is a wiki? If your answer is, “I don’t know,” then read on. Wikis have created a whole new world of information, and with them, you’ll never be without knowledge.A wiki is collaborative website that allows users to contribute or edit content. Ward Cunningham, developer of the first wiki software, launched his website WikiWikiWeb in 1995, inspired by the “Wiki Wiki” airport shuttle at the Honolulu International Airport (“wiki” is Hawaiian for “fast”). Cunningham originally described a wiki as, “the simplest online database that could possibly work.” A wiki is basically a content management system. A CMS is a computer application used to create, edit, manage, and publish content in an organized way. Let’s say you had a newsletter that you update weekly. A CMS allows you to set up a template with a header, a logo, the date, etc, then a space where the content will go. This way, each week you do not have to recreate the newsletter from scratch, you can just update the content. A CMS can populate the date and other information automatically, publish it, file it, allow you to search it, edit it, and all sorts of other functions. Most websites are designed using a CMS, and a great example of this a blog. You simply enter in your text, hit publish, and everything else is taken care of. So a wiki is a web page (or pages) with this set up that specifically allows anyone to edit or add to the content. The most well-known wiki is the website Wikipedia, “the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.” The advantage of a wiki is that two minds are great than one—it is a collaborative effort. The most obvious benefit of a wiki is that they are a great source of free information. There are literally thousands of wikis out there, both public and private, large and small, general or very, very specific. Wikipedia is an example of a very large, public, general wiki. It provides great summaries, but if you wanted to know about Monopoly, you wouldn’t reference a wiki on Games, but on Monopoly specifically. In case you were wondering, a Monopoly wiki does exist, and great way to find a specific wiki is to look on a wiki farm—a single website hosting multiple wikis. Two of the most popular are Wikia and Wetpaint.Wikis create and build communities and can benefit both the individual and more recently, businesses. The Monopoly wiki is a great example of how an individual can learn more about their topic of interest (history or fun facts), find information about related topics (Parker Brothers for example), and connect with other Monopoly fans.

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