Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, envisioned it as a place where “people can communicate … by sharing their knowledge in a pool … putting their ideas in, as well as taking them out” (Berners- Lee, 1999). For much of its first decade, the Web was, however, primarily a place where the majority of people took ideas out rather than putting them in. This has changed. Many “social software” services now exist on the Web to facilitate social interaction, collaboration and information exchange. This article introduces wikis, jointly edited Web sites and Intranet resources that are accessed through web browsers. After a brief overview of wiki history, we explain wiki technology and philosophy, provide an overview of how wikis are being used for collaboration, and consider some of the issues associated with management of wikis before considering the future of wikis.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Wiki: An information resource that is created by multiple authors who use Web browsers that interacts with wiki software.
WikiWikiWeb: The first wiki engine, written by Ward Cunningham.
Wiki Software: The suite of software used to produce and manage a wiki. This software may include, in addition to the wiki engine, add-ons and extensions that extend the feature set and functionality of the wiki.
Editor: The authors of wiki pages may be called “editors” because they have editing permissions.
Wiki Site: A set of related wiki pages. When a wiki site can be viewed on the World Wide Web, it is also a Web site.
Wiki Page: A page of wiki content displayed in a Web browser.
Wiki Engine: The software that handles the business logic of a wiki.
Soft Security: Social conventions for trust, peer review and correction of errors adopted by contributors to wikis.