Saturday, October 22, 2011

Wonderful World of Wiki's

Previously to this Learning 2.0 activity, I was only familiar with Wikipedia. I always knew to be slightly wary of the information on the site because I understand the idea of the community and that anyone could submit information whether or not it was truthful. That scared me, along with college professor always mentioning that it was not a reference source, but I still found myself frequenting it often if I wanted in-depth information on something without having to search through multiple sites for it. For example, if I was looking up an author’s background/bio or information on a band and their discography. It probably doesn’t hurt that it’s usually the first or second site listed when you Google search most things. I knew that the information could be wrong but never experience that so I always returned. Recently, I came across an adult education Wikipedia while searching something for work and realized that there was more to wikis that what I was familiar with. Similarly, we had the chance to explore a library dedicated one for this exercise,, and I love how both of these allow people in the same field to share resources, professional development, and general management ideas. Of course, the reader will have to think critically of anything they come across, but overall it offers a great venue to share and explore suggestions with people in the same field that you otherwise would never come into contact with.

I thought the Grand Rapids Public Library did an excellent job on their wiki, It offers a ton of good information for any patron or curious reader. I liked how I could go to one genre of a book and find multiple suggestions for future reading. I think this is an ideal way to utilize wiki’s in the library setting, particularly for younger clientele. Teens might be a tough audience to get reading, utilizing the library, and/or talking about what they’ve been reading but having a wiki were they can make suggestions might encourage them. Likewise, providing it for busy adults might encourage them to pick up a book that they read a review about on the wiki that interested them. I do think that offering it up to your library patrons will require close monitoring by the library staff to ensure correct information, but overall it seems to allow more accessibility to ideas and information about books that would benefit the public.

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