Fall 2008 [Number 242] Printable version (752KB PDF) Download Adobe Reader Please note that this issue of Interface is an archived issue. Therefore, the information contained in each article may no longer be current.
Kiwi Wiki Service Now a Full Production Service
On September 30, 2008, the Kiwi Wiki Service, which has been running as a pilot service while being developed, became a full production service. During the pilot phase of this service, CIT partnered with its customers to configure more than 40 wikis and to integrate access using NIH Login accounts. Thanks to those participants in the pilot, the Kiwi Wiki Service is now a production service.
What is a wiki?
The word “wiki” comes from the Hawaiian word "wiki wiki," which means "very fast." Wiki technology creates what is essentially a collaborative website, one in which authorized users can add or modify the website’s content directly via any web browser. Wikipedia (http://www.wikipedia.org) is the most famous example of a wiki. It is an online encyclopedia created through the collaboration of a community of thousands of users from around the world. Many people adding content to the pages of a wiki allows content to accumulate very quickly, or wiki wiki!
The wiki advantages
Wikis are designed to facilitate the collaborative sharing of information within and between teams of people and can be used for large and small collaborative projects. Content in a wiki can be updated immediately without the delay typical of a regular website update. You simply visit the wiki website with any browser and create or edit a wiki page directly using an editor provided by the wiki. Besides text, users can add images and internal and external hyperlinks—links to other wiki pages (internal) as well as links to external websites—to the wiki page. A built-in search engine aides in searching for information, and if you need a previously edited version of a page, it can be easily retrieved. The wiki site retains all revisions of every wiki page, allowing users to easily review and restore any edited pages if necessary. Their ease of use, fast accumulation of content by multiple participants, and ability to easily and continually edit content makes a wiki a valuable tool for collaboration.
CIT’s Kiwi Wiki Service
Possible uses for a wiki
Scientific Collaboration: When scientists work collaboratively, communication is essential. A wiki can foster that communication by providing a common space to document and manage the scientific collaboration.
Documentation Development: Developing documentation can be a difficult task that a wiki can make easier by allowing people to create and edit a common set of documents and use the wiki’s discussion pages to discuss aspects of a particular document.
Knowledgebase Maintenance: The wiki’s ability to be easily accessed and edited allows users to easily maintain this type of resource. There is no need to have a knowledgebase maintainer since the information can be updated by the individual contributors continually providing an updated knowledgebase. The wiki’s built-in search feature would aid in finding specific information.
Project Management: The management of a project involves outlining the project, making midcourse corrections, and reporting progress and milestones. A wiki where individuals responsible for various aspects of the project report their progress can assist in keeping track of the information on project topics in an organized manner. In this example the wiki access would be restricted to the project members.
Lab Wiki: A lab wiki would be devoted to the documentation of methods and results in a laboratory. This new concept may transform how a laboratory organizes its methods, work, and results. MIT is sponsoring Laboratory Wikis as an experiment: http://openwetware.org/wiki/Labs. In this example the lab wiki may be restricted to laboratory personnel or access can be as open as the lab would like.
Interest Group Site: Many interest groups use the NIH ListServ or other sites where email or web logs are used to report and discuss information of interest. The problem is that over time this information is often lost or becomes difficult to find. A wiki can provide an expandable site to report information of interest, discuss that information, and have the topic continually updated. An example of this can be seen at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protein_microarray. In this example the wiki could be open to all of NIH, allowing anyone to create or modify a page, thus building a small encyclopedia of the subject of interest that would be collectively maintained by those at NIH who are interested in the subject.
If you are interested in using CIT’s Kiwi Wiki Service or if you have any questions about wikis, please contact the NIH Help Desk at http://ithelpdesk.nih.gov/support or call 301-496-4357, 301-496-8294 (TTY) or toll free at 866-319-4357.
|Published by Center for Information Technology, National Institutes of Health|
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