Monday, July 13, 2009

Thing 18: Wikis

Wikis are websites that use special software to enable users to create or edit linked hierarchical pages. They often take the form of a table of contents, with higher-level pages that lead to specific subpages. Wikipedia is the largest one, but there are thousands of them in existence, with new ones popping up every day. They have been around since 1995, and are still growing in popularity.

Wikipedia models itself after an encyclopedia, but that is not the only way that wikis can be used. Some libraries use internal wikis to manage their policies and procedures. Many companies are replacing their old Intranets with wikis. Some individuals use them as personal knowledge management software. Since most wikis allow discussion and comments on page changes, they can lead to dynamic, vibrant communities of users.

For Thing 18, we are going to take a look at wikis, and create some pages of our own.

Start out by going to Wikipedia at

Wikipedia is a giant encyclopedia that anyone can add to or edit. It handles multiple languages, and is the largest wiki in existence.

In the search box, enter a subject of your choice. It can be anything that interests you.

You should get an article on that subject. Read through it, paying attention to how the information is organized. Do you agree with everything that is said there? Are there any warnings on the page relating to the quality of the information?

At the top of the article will be a tab called Discussion. Go to it to see comment people have left about various changes they (or others) have made to this page.

Now go to the History tab to see how the page has changed over time.

Let's try out hand at creating some wiki pages! First go to

This site has been set up for us to practice making pages. You do not need an account to make changes or additions to this particular website. You can add or edit pages, but can not delete any, even if you created them (an unfortunate side-effect of setting it up to be easily editable to everyone). If you create a page and then decide you want it to be deleted, please just let us know through the comments on this post.

Read the introduction on the main page, and then browse through the other pages on the site. They should be listed hierarchically in the box on the left of your screen.

When you are done, click on the Home link on the left side of the screen. That will take you back to the main page.

Now you are ready to create your first wiki page, as a subpage under the main page. Don't worry - it's easy. I promise!

On the left side of the screen, click on the Add a New Page link.

Use your first name as the page title. You may notice that I have already set up my page, titled Jesse.

Enter some basic information about yourself. Treat it as a special introduction page where you can let your fellow students know a little bit more about you.

Under that page, create sub-pages on your hobbies, interests, career, or anything else you would like to share with others. Create at least 3 sub-pages so you can see how Wiki hierarchies work. Make sure you are on the "parent" page (the one that you want to add sub-pages to), and then click the Add a New Page link on the left hand side of your screen.

To save your work after editing a page, use the Save button in the EasyEdit Toolbar.

See, I promised you it would be easy!

Have fun, and feel free to add pictures, if you would like to do so.


Samantha said...

Um, I messed up on my Wiki page. I added mine to Jesse's family page and can't delete or move it. Help?!

Vidya Krishnaswamy said...


I have emailed Jesse to help delete or move it.
As the creater of the Dfw23things wetpaint site , he has the privileges to make the changes.

Lisa said...

I don't see an introduction on the first page. It does say "My name is Heather. . ." Is that what it is supposed to be?

Anonymous said...

Lisa, I think the "My name is Heather..." part is another case where someone "wrote" on the wrong wiki page. Hopefully Jesse will fix it.

Lisa said...

This is Lisa again! You're probably tired of my complaining. ;) I thought I was on the home page adding my new page but I was added as a sub-page to Joanie. Can it be deleted, pretty please?

Lisa said...

The intro has been fixed. Thanks for the info "speedytexas".

Library Yogini said...


I keep trying to add a third page, Hobbies, but it isn't showing up as a subpage on my parent page, female buddha. I'm following the directions as I understand them: To add a subpage, go the the parent page, female buddha, click Add a New Page. I keep doing this and Hobbies doesn't show up. Where is it going? What do I do to add a subpage? I did it yesterday . . .

Kelly B said...

Library Yogini,
One thing I noticed when creating my subpages was that you can't use a name/title for the page that has already been used. For example I tried "Hobbies & Interests" but someone already had a page named this so I had to call my "My Hobbies & Interests." This maybe why your Hobbies page isn't working.

Library Yogini said...

Thank you, Kelly B.! I just figured that out and was going to post this:

Great, I did it. I figured out my mistake, I was trying to add a page with the title Hobbies, the name was already taken so I called it Susan's interests. I had to take a very long bike ride after work today to not think about why I couldn't get that add a page to work.

Library Yogini said...

Re: Not being able to add a Hobbies page

I should also add that I started the whole Thing over as Susan W. Now I'll try to delete my first attempt, female buddha.

Library Yogini said...

OK, I'm obsessing over Wikis because I should know more, I need to know more because I am our department's Wiki creator.

How do you delete entries? I need to delete a main entry, female buddha, and also need to delete one of my Susan's interests entries.

Jesse Ephraim said...

Susan - I deleted the "female buddha" entry and removed one of the "Susan's interests" entries.

I set this particular wiki up in a way that would allow people to play with it without needing to sign up for an account and go through an invitation process. The unfortunate side effect of that is that I am the only one who can delete pages. I apologize for not mentioning that earlier.

I just added this paragraph to the instructions on the front page of the wiki:

"This wiki has been set up to allow you to practice adding wiki pages, editing pages, and using wiki hierarchies. To avoid forcing everyone to create a Wetpaint account, I have set it so that anyone can add or edit pages. This particular setup will not allow you to delete pages (even if you are the one creating them), so if you need something deleted, please let us know!"

- Jesse

Library Yogini said...

Thanks, Jesse. I've signed up for a Wetpaint account and look forward to mastering this Thing.

JJR said...

okay, I think I did it:

Doing the sub-pages was a little tricky, though. Seems like you had to give it a unique name not used by anyone else. I ran into trouble when I tried using the same name for my sub-pages as other people.

vbigler said...

I accidentally created my "Virginia" page as a subpage under Laurie's. Could you please delete it?

Anonymous said...

I do not understand how to enter information on my main page. I created the page, but could not find a way to post anything onto the page except as a thread. I could not find a "help" section on the site.
Could someone please advise how to do this?

Anonymous said...

When you have created a page, click on it in the left-hand box on the screen. It should reload the screen. In the middle of the screen you should see an EasyEdit button. Clicking on it should give you an EasyEdit toolbar and a box to put in the text for that page.

Please let me know if you have any problems!

- Jesse

Anonymous said...

Virginia - I'm sorry, I missed your request somehow. It has been moved to the right location.

If anyone else needs their page(s) moved around, please let me know!

- Jesse

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Jesse. I finally got it. The EasyEdit menu kept coming down vertically, obscuring the text box. Don't know what I clicked correctly, but I finally got it to show up horizontally, and then I could see the text box. I appreciate your help.

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