Meaning & Definition
A wiki is a collaborative website or online platform that allows multiple users to create, edit, and organize content in a cooperative manner. Wikis are designed to enable the creation of a knowledge base or database of information on a specific topic, subject, or project. The term “wiki” is derived from the Hawaiian word for “quick.”
Key characteristics and features of wikis include:
- Collaborative Editing
Wikis enable multiple users to contribute to and edit the content, making it a collaborative and dynamic platform. Users can add, revise, or delete information.
- Version History
Wikis maintain a history of edits, allowing users to view and revert to previous versions of the content. This feature helps in tracking changes and resolving disputes.
Wikis often use hyperlinks to connect pages and topics, making it easy to navigate between related articles.
- User Contributions
Each user’s contributions are typically attributed to their username, fostering accountability and recognition for their work.
- Structured Content
Wikis often use a structured format with headings, sections, and tables to organize information systematically.
- Search Functionality
Users can search for specific topics or keywords within the wiki to quickly locate relevant content.
- Discussion and Collaboration Tools
Many wikis include discussion pages or talk pages where users can communicate, ask questions, and resolve issues related to the content.
Content can be categorized and organized into groups or sections to facilitate navigation and browsing.
- Open Access
Wikis are often accessible to the public, but they can also be restricted to specific user groups or kept private.
- Common Examples
Well-known wikis include Wikipedia, a collaborative encyclopedia; MediaWiki, the software behind Wikipedia; and Wikimedia Commons, a repository of multimedia files.
The most famous and widely used wiki is Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia that allows volunteers from around the world to create and edit articles on a vast array of topics. Wikipedia’s success has demonstrated the power of collaborative editing and open knowledge sharing.
Wikis are used in various contexts, such as:
- Knowledge Sharing
Organizations use internal wikis for documenting procedures, sharing knowledge among employees, and building an internal knowledge base.
- Project Collaboration
Wikis are used to manage and collaborate on projects, where team members can create and update project documentation and guidelines.
Some educational institutions use wikis as a tool for collaborative learning and group projects.
- Research and Documentation
Researchers and subject matter experts often collaborate on wikis to document research findings and share information.
- Reference and Documentation
Wikis serve as reference guides for topics like software documentation, troubleshooting, and technical support.
The flexibility and accessibility of wikis make them valuable tools for collecting, organizing, and sharing information across a wide range of domains, fostering collaborative efforts and knowledge dissemination.