WIKI: Go without - feel with
1 January 2011
Dr. Moria Levy
Few of us have heard of Ward Cunningham, and only a few know, that long before the Internet has had a revolutionary impact on us, the first Wiki site with the name WikiWikiWeb, was launched by Ward Cunningham on 25 March 1995, to make the exchange of ideas between programmers easier.
Today, everyone knows wiki sites, especially Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.org), undoubtedly the most well-known wiki application, where anyone can create, edit and review user-generated content. This phenomenal success has led to the adoption of wikis in the business world as a knowledge management solution.As we are implementing wikis in the corporate environment, we do not necessarily use all of the wiki tools. We enjoy the simplicity and popularity of the technology by adapting it to company-specific needs.
The primary change most companies face in Wiki adoption is the lack of Democracy. In a modern internet world, any user who identifies by his or her name, can update any item or even a template. That’s how a democracy works at its full potential. However, In recent years, we have seen some changes in this approach. There are some wiki editors, which hide inappropriate values or content, complete links or even make minor changes in content. The wiki and the Wikipedia in a first place are remaining a democracy. In organizations, however, the approach is different as they require the manageability of enterprise resources. We intend to confirm content, categorize it, and distribute. The wiki could work well in these cases. This adopting is permitted and desirable, and the Wiki software is accompanied (with or without modifications, depending on the software you own) to deal with this approach.
The main and more meaningful change is no less “revolutionary.” Towards a better understanding of this change, first, we will explain the conceptual model of Wikis, as a semi-structured content management tool. The meaning of this sentence, is that, Wiki templates (structured content management) are pages which designed to be included in other pages. They are generally used for repetitive information. Semi-structured is often explained as a dynamic creation of content that not requires work with templates.
As an example, when we look at the wiki country-related pages, we discover that despite the variation of the content, it’s table-of-content specifying topics, stays identical. They all represent some parts of history, politics geography, economy, demography etc. However, their template and even their order remain the same (see an example)
One of the advantages of structured content management (let's leave the half aside) is the ability of these tools to place information horizontally. In other words, instead of reading, for example, the Netherlands, Germany, Britain, etc., each of them and all topics in it, we can explore religions in all of these countries, in a horizontal method, without finding out more details of the country.However, this is not a case in Wiki. Despite the structured content, one cannot access all history records of all countries, across the pages. This is a need in a world overflowed with information.
So what’s the solution?The topics presented on the wiki site, allegedly based on off-page database storage which is categorized according to the table of interests (e.g., economy, politics etc). In this way, the full page could be displayed in a regular Wiki style as well as adding other menus and content widening leading to wide variation of solutions according to the knowledge.How do we call this feature?Go without, is not a Wiki but rather a database, to feel with, the look-and-feel with all its advantages.Legitimate? Probably yes. Recommended? Also. Realized? Not yet, yet we are hopeful.One thing has to be said; this is probably the right way. Enjoy the benefits, but be aware of limitations.