ThinkingShift Wiki Watch

April 18, 2007 at 3:00 am 5 comments

Cheetah in NamibiaAlways on the prowl for useful wikis, today’s post highlights three: Library Success, Citizendium and Appropedia. With two more thrown in for fun.

I like the way Citizendium is shaping up (aka CZ wiki). It’s an offshoot of Wikipedia spearheaded by Larry Sanger, co-founder of Wikipedia and is still in beta version. Accused of being elitist, it appears to be trying to overcome some of the governance issues Wikipedia has encountered and is fostering a community of subject experts (called editors), who provide ‘gentle expert oversight’ (always dislike the use of the word ‘oversight’, which has connotations of mistake or unintentional omission). Contributors are required to provide real names.

I like the use of subliminal words and phrases like “Citizendium is like a lively bazaar…doing a vigorous trade in words“; “a citizen’s compendium of everything“; and a person contributing or participating is a “citizen“. Really signals an intentional focus on building a busy bee-hive atmosphere of trading in words, dynamic conversation, gossip, shared trust and epistemic congratulation.

Not so sure about the use of the words “constable” (a person whose main job appears to be to round up new people to participate in CZ wiki development – certainly a word that smacks of putativeness); or “cleaner” (a volunteer for the Big Cleanup project that is correcting mistakes that have crept in from created or borrowed articles). But CZ wiki does appear to be testing a different model, but can it avoid the cat fights over who is or is not an expert? Clay Shirky raised this question in his great critique of CZ wiki. Expenditure of energy may ultimately go to defending a model that is based on faith in “expert authority”, rather than creating a truly open community of knowledge generation. We’ll see.

Next up is Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki, a one-stop-shop for great ideas and information for librarians. Created by Meredith Farkas, a librarian in Vermont, USA, Library Success brings together “best practice” information on topics ranging from management and leadership to technology and marketing library services (I’ll leave aside the temptation I have at this point to say that ‘leading practice” is a preferable term because once something is lauded as ‘best’, it’s basically stale since practices and processes have probably already moved on! talking about “worst practices” would be a better learning opportunity).

The list of members for this network of librarians really highlights an international community that is spanning state and international boundaries. I really like the Online Communities section, which provides links to libraries creating online communities for their patrons.

The third wiki is one of particular interest to me – Appropedia – a wiki that is building a living library around an international community, which is seeking collaborative solutions and knowledge for sustainability, poverty reduction, international development and capacity building. Here is a list of Australian organisations involved in international development, appropriate technology and sustainability. Mmmm…..short list of 2 organisations! but from what I can tell, Appropedia is young, about 1 year old.

The taxonomy for the site clearly shows the topics at the forefront of sustainability and poverty reduction.

And just for fun, for all the Star Trek fans, Memory Alpha – as a Trekkie myself (yep, afraid so!) I thought I knew mostly everything about the TV series and the fictional universe of the Klingons, the Ferengi, Star Trek Command etc but this wiki is a surprise for its sheer depth and breadth. And should you have time to learn another language, go here to learn some Klingonese :)-

For a reverse wiki, check out Uncyclopedia, a parody of Wikipedia. For the knowledge management practitioners, see the entry for knowledge, which is defined as the Root of all Evil and a rare and tragic disease.


Entry filed under: Knowledge Management, Libraries, Library 2.0, Useful resources, Web 2.0, Wikis.

Art by recipe Lost tribes: lost knowledge?

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Chriswaterguy  |  April 19, 2007 at 1:26 am

    Glad you like Appropedia. There’s quite a few organizations signing on as partners, and in time I’m hoping that the organization categories will fill out a lot.

    Keep watching the site (and contributing of course! Sounds like you’ve got interesting ideas.) Lots of interesting stuff underway.

  • 2. thinkingshift  |  April 19, 2007 at 1:29 am

    Hi Chris
    Really like what you’re doing and definitely hope to contribute. Keep up the great work with Appropedia!
    Kim Sbarcea

  • 3. Chriswaterguy  |  April 19, 2007 at 1:45 am

    btw, where exactly are you? I’m in Sydney (Homebush, but get into the city fairly often).

  • 4. thinkingshift  |  April 19, 2007 at 3:12 am

    synchronicity! I’m in Sydney too (CBD for work).

  • 5. Chriswaterguy  |  April 19, 2007 at 4:43 am

    it would be interesting to talk about stuff sometime. It’s extremely late notice, but I’m having dinner with a small group of friends tonight at More’s Cafe, Glebe (probably 5 of us) and you’d be welcome to join – see

    Otherwise, email me… my username at Appropedia with the organization suffix.


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