The Complete Guide to [[WIKIS]] - Chapter Summaries


A collection of annotations made by students in en3177. Annotations are on individual chapters of the book, "The Complete Guide to [[WIKIS]]".


Chapter 1: The Basics of a Wiki

The author introduces all the basics of Wikis. "Wiki" translates to "fast" in Hawaiian. Early on we are introduced to Wikipedia, the world's largest wiki. The founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, considers it the most accurate encyclopedia in the world. There is debate on the credibility of content on wikis. This is because anybody can change the information on the page at any time.

In 1994, Ward Cunningham began creation of the wiki engine. The idea was to have a massive online database that anyone could work on. The author suggests that Ward was ahead of his time, alludes to his vision of an open-source community.

Contributing to a wiki is the best way to get started in using one. Wikis are great in that virtually anyone can contribute. Depending on the formality of the wiki, a contributor should exercise restraint in adding the first thing that pops into their head about the subject. It is important to have citation to improve the credibility of the information that is contributed. Likewise, a person should only contribute to a topic that they are fairly familiar with so that they might actually be useful. Try to be remain unbiased, or risk having information not being taken seriously.

The author goes on to highlight some of the features of wikis. Page history allows a user to view all changes made to the page over a period of time. There is even a sandbox mode that allows the user to play around with formatting before publishing something real.

Moving on to Wikipedia as a research tool. The issue of any user being able to edit/create comes back into play here. The author outlines that most articles have sufficient citation to be used and taken seriously. However, students and professionals should seek other research methods. Can the human mentality ever truly embrace the idea of intellect by consensus?


Chapter 3: The Technical Side of Wikis

One of the first things that needs to be decided is if the wiki is going to be hosted through a service, or through the user themselves.

Hosted Wiki Services
This is the easier of the two routes in hosting wikis. The biggest advantage is that the user does not deal with many of the technical aspects in setting up a wiki, such as setting up a database. However, some of the control is relinquished to the service hosting the wiki. The user interfaces with the controls in a similar way that people do with their blogs, such as WordPress. There other major differences are that service is usually on free up to a certain point (limited amount of users and storage). Here are some considerations:
With this information in mind, it doesn't do much to split the available options into discernible categories. There are dozens of options out there, here a few that the author considered the best:
Creating Your Own Host

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