logo_50x60.pngWhat is a 'wiki'?

A wiki is one of many freely available Web 2.0 tools. Essentially, it is a web page that can be fairly easily edited. It can be contributed to by both its creator and any number of approved members. This makes wikis ideal for collaborative sharing of knowledge and ideas. In addition, work undertaken in a wiki benefits from being edited by others. Whilst users may edit the same wiki page at the same time, this is not always successful. Therefore, wikis are more suited to asynchronous tasks rather than synchronous. Some of the additional features of wikis include being able to control privacy settings, being able to participate in discussion forums related to each page or to the wiki as a whole, being able to see what each wiki user has contributed and when, as well as looking up statistics relating to external visitors to the wiki.

When people initially hear the word ‘wiki’, they often think of ‘Wikipedia’. Wikipedia is in fact a huge wiki space that can be collaboratively edited and updated.

How is a wiki different to web design platforms? According to Lundin (2008, p. 435), ‘wiki users can edit from within any browser - specialised knowledge of a web-composing program like Dreamweaver is not necessary for wiki use.’

Features of a wiki:

  • Editable by more than one person
  • Control of design, page structure, layout, text, visuals
  • Can easily incorporate a range of multimedia, text, hyperlinks, audio and visual media
  • Asynchronous
  • A range of privacy settings
  • User/editor history is available for each page
  • Discussion forums are available for each page
  • 'wiki users can edit from within any browser - specialised knowledge of a web-composing program...is not necessary' (Lundin 2008)