3 March, 2005 at 04:17 Leave a comment

Gilbane Report on Blogs and Wikis
(from SocialText’s Blog)

The Gilbane Report is the most widely read newsletter covering content management technologies. In this month’s issue, Lauren Wood takes a look at Blog & Wiki Technologies for Enterprise Applications. I highly recommend this read for an introduction to the technologies and terms.
gilbane_logo
The following excerpt is from the section on Implementing a System:
“If the idea is to create even a simple knowledge management system, then more thought will have to go into figuring out the requirements and how to motivate people to use the system. For these more encompassing solutions, the grass-roots approach where people can choose to not use the system is seldom as effective as the top-down approach or not giving them a choice. Some of the factors to consider are: * Ease of Use * Company Culture * Company Size * Categorization * Long-Term vs. Short-Term Information Categorization refers to metadata/labels/tags and/or indices so the information can be found again. The long-term/short-term debate stems from properties of document. Are some documents edited a lot over their lifetime? Or are completely new versions created, such as for meeting minutes? Should the information be archived, for example for competitive intelligence where you want to assess the likelihood of a competitor’s actions based on their historical actions?
These last two are related, of course. “Pure” blog and wiki systems both make it easy to find the last edited or last created page; blogs because of the dating system and wikis because of the “recent changes” page. To find relevant older information requires some sort of metadata or suitable search engine, or a link from a recently updated document. Wikis suffer from the particular problem that it is easy to “lose” pages that have been written if nobody has linked to them. It is also extremely easy, given even a small group of authors, to end up with a nest of linked pages without being quite sure what is in any of them, so that newcomers to the group have to spend a long time following links to find anything. And without constant maintenance, the links and pages in a wiki have a tendency to go stale. A fuller exposition of ways to help avoid these problems is given in Leigh Dodd’s blog article on the subject. The Socialtext commercial wiki solves this problem by integrating blogs and wikis in such a way that when a page (wiki page) is edited, it goes to the top of the list in the same way as a blog posting would. And it’s easy to find pages with lots of links to them. This system does rely on having the right conventions set up so that people understand the way a given company or department has structured their information. When used correctly, it can be powerful. Ziff-Davis’ Gaming division cut down on email and increased productivity significantly by using this system for day-to-day coordination, scheduling and requests. It also helps create a “group memory” as more useful documents tend to be linked to or edited more often than less useful documents. She concludes, quite fairly: “We’re just at the beginning of the blog and wiki era in corporate use and it won’t take long before these tools are used as often for collaboration as email is today.”

Looks like ‘blikirss'(my coined term) as a concept in the context of ‘Personal Webs'(a proposal to IBM) is already a [buzz] [keyword] in the [Blogosphere]. Cool…

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