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BB 1704: COLLABORATIVE TECHNOLOGIES

Academic Year: 2012-13

Semester:Spring

Session: 1(a)

Date:Thursday 31st January 2013

Title:Wikis

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Objectives:To gain an understanding of the wiki concept by examining wikis such as WikiWiki and Wikipedia. -------------------------------------------------

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To compare different wiki systems.
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Outcomes:You should be able to search a wiki, and to edit a page in a wiki, such as Wikipedia. You should also be able to create new pages and to create links from existing pages.

Carry out the following, and answer the questions, writing appropriate details in your log book:

1. Using a search engine or otherwise, find out as much as you can about “Wikis”, and their inventor. Write details in your log book. Note that you will get different results by using different search engines. You might, for example, find this one if you use Altavista – http://computer.howstuffworks.com/wiki.htm but it’s probably not on the first page in Google. Don’t just take the very first item in the first search engine you try. By all means read it, but you should look at others as well in order to get a feel for what these things are. Don’t always use Google – there are other search engines. Although Google is very good, sometimes other search engines do better, and sometimes it is more useful to use a search engine which accesses specialized databases.

You should also try typing in different search terms, such as “wiki”, “Wikis”, “What is a Wiki?”, “What are Wikis?” etc. You will very probably get some different results this way, and some will be better than others. You are expected to evaluate the results, and make your own decisions about which describe wikis (or anything else you search for in the future) best.

If you have your own laptop or PC connected to the Internet you can also download tools from Copernic (www.copernic.com) and FerretSoft (www.ferretsoft.com – WebFerret) which do a better job than most single search engines. You should do this if you are able, and report on your investigations with these tools in your logbook. [For practical reasons this will have to be outside laboratory hours. Copernic in particular is a good tool to know about.

These tools should enable you to obtain much more relevant material than most searches in Google, Altavista, Lycos etc., but you will not be able to use them in the laboratories.

You should also check out social bookmark sites such as Furl (see lab sheet 5(a)) to see what pages are recommended by other users of such social bookmarking sites.

2. Questions:
(a)Who is credited with developing the first wiki?

(b)Which authors have written books on wikis?

Write brief answers in your logbook.

3. Discuss: “Is a Wiki just a software tool?” Write a brief answer down in your logbook.

WikiWiki – The first wiki
[5-10 minute exercise]

WikiWiki was one of the first wikis. Find out more about it. The web pages cited in this paragraph were not operative on 31st January and may have been removed. Skip this section if you cannot find the pages. This may only be temporary however.

Look at http://c2.com/cgi/wiki This is the front page of WikiWiki – which is the first acknowledged wiki. You can also look at http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?WikiWikiWeb You can edit pages in this wiki, but if you try this I strongly urge you to use a sandbox.

You will probably not fully understand what wikis are about from this wiki – and I would not advise you to spend more than 10 minutes on this unless you are particularly interested in the topics presented.

UseMod and Meatball – similar wikis
[5-10 minute exercise]

Look at http://www.usemod.com/ to see some...
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