I have had numerous conversations about blogging
, and Wiki's
and why they should be of interest when you have a perfectly good web site if people bothered to visit it.
I am going to introduce common online publishing tools, and suggest where they night fit in relation to each other (it must be stated at the outset that I am not refering to their use in teaching and learning, rather their use in information management in this instance).The web portal or site
Contrary to popular belief the web site is not a thing of the past. The web portal or site should be the branded, style managed showcase for the organisation or individual. It should contain agreed reference material, official documents, and MUST apply standards of information and content management. Ideally it should provide secure areas where Blogs and Wiki's can prosper.
The challenge with a web site, even a good one, is that it requires the reader to constantly return to update themselves, or use it as a reference. If a site does not continuosly provide reasons to return, or provide a constantly useful reference site (such as an online catalogue service etc.), it falls easily into disuse. Additionally, even of you make great improvements, the web surfer has to find out.
Blogs, newsfeeds and RSS - Fast moving short shelf life
(usually free) are a rolling log of news, information, comments and posts, in date order. As new items get added, older items are archived.
- Blogs offer news, information and debate in time and date order, and should allow dialogue and a debate. (How many actually readers actually comment when they agree or disagree?).
- Blogs work best when combined with RSS. RSS is THE great syndication tool of the web.
- Blogs are like newspapers and periodicals; whilst they contain gems of opinion and thought, they rarely have permanence.
- Therefore, Blogs are not the right place to put reference information.
(Having said that I am probably the worst case example of not following this!! I too often use it as the latter ... I am however reviewing and reflecting this, and doing something about it. the problem is its seductively easy to publish using blogging tools than some other media).Wiki's - Collaboration - work in progressWiki's
(are usually free!), and allow an agreed set of people (or anyone who cares if the owner wishes) to add, delete, amend or remove information until the sum is greater than the parts. It is a work in progress at all times. This is great where change is rapid or developing. If the content of a wiki gets to be static and agreed, its time to move it into category three:
- The wiki is never a finished web site; by its definition the content should be constantly changing ; a work in progress.
- The power of the Wiki is in pulling together multiple contributors around a common theme, and giving all an equal say.
- They can be for private view only; a sort of sandpit for putting thoughts in order (access by password), publicly visible, but amended by named contributors and collaborators only, or open to the public for anyone to change, alter or amend.
- Most Wiki's use RSS and/or email alerts to let contributors and watchers know when a change has been made, or a new contribution added, so it is dynamic.
Its also worth reminding online publishers of the best-preactice guidelines for publishing s part of any organisation. This is the ClusterBlog Acceptable Use Policy
, and is a good statement of what the ethos should be.