Wikis 2

Here’s Who We Are!

wiki way

Week 2 of wikis is devoted to you – that is, to you adding content to the page for your branch. Some of you have already begun to play in the Sandbox and the Fake Branch. Feel free to work on your own, or you can team up and work as a group (2 -4 people). (Photo posted on Flickr by Ross Mayfield).

This module will cover some of the basics of editing and adding content to a wiki. We’ll give you both some step-by-step instructions and a short screencast that demonstrates the steps. A lot of this will be familiar to you, as it will be very similar to what you do in your blogs. Two things that will be a little different: 1) when you create a new page in a wiki, you won’t see it anywhere until you create a link to it from an existing page; 2) wiki mark-up language. No Martha, it’s not computer code or HTML or any other alphabet-soup techie thing. These are characters that you can use to do basic and more advanced formatting. You don’t have to learn it or use it to add things to the wiki — it is an option for you, though. Just an FYI — PBwiki offers great editing support through their FAQ page.
You can add any (well, almost any) content that you’d like, some examples could be:

  • Write a description of your job and what you do
  • Write a description of your branch or local community
  • Talk about the different services available at your branch
  • Tell a story about serving a patron
  • Add some images or a slide show
  • Embed a video or add a link to one
  • Create a new page about your branch or add some “Staff Picks” — could be books, restaurants, videos; create some new pages and link them to your branch page
  • Also, feel free to go the krl2pt0 LibraryThing site and add a book along with your review of it.

Here’s a link to a short screencast that covers adding a new page to the wiki and creating a link to a page (both on the Home Page and in the Sidebar). The screencast requires sound and many terminals at KRL seem configured a bit differently as far as volume. If you have difficulty hearing the audio, try headphones (available at each branch). If you just can’t get sound, there are step-by-step instructions on everything provided below.

Your choice of editing modes

wiki catPB wiki gives you the choice of using two different editors – a “Point and Click” editor that is much like the editing menu bar in most word processing programs, or the “Classic WikiStyle” editor, which uses wiki markup language. You will automatically see the Point-and-Click editor (the editor we selected as the default), but if you click the link in the upper right of the editing page in order to change to the other editing style, PB wiki will make a note of which style you prefer to use. Every time you log in and edit a page, your preferred editing interface will be used. (Photo posted on Flickr by kbaird, original photo by Slava)).

Page editing

Only one person can be editing any given page in the wiki at one time. You will see a message at the top of the screen if someone else is currently working on the page. It gives you the option to “steal” the edit from them if they have been inactive for a period of time. Because of this, please remember to make and save your changes and exit any page you are editing as soon as you are done. Don’t open a page to edit it, then go make dinner…….

The “Source” Tab

When you are in “Point and Click” editing mode, you’ll see a tab on the editing menu bar labeled source. Clicking this gives you a view of the content on the page that includes the formatting code. (You also have a similar tab in most of your blog editing menus). Most editing is easier when you are not in the source mode, but if you want to add certain things to a page you will need to add them to the source code. Some examples would be: embed a YouTube video; add an RSS feed; add a slideshow or music play (see the Administration page). The reason for this is that all of these things use Java or some other script — any script needs to go into the source code or it will just show up as weird text on the page. O.K. — that’s as technical as it gets, I promise.

You won’t see the “source” tab if you are in the “Classic” editing mode. In classic edit mode you are seeing and adding the wiki markup language directly to the page so you are essentially seeing the source (sounds a bit mystical, huh).

Creating a new page

olde style wiki1. Click the “New Page” button on the wiki Home page
2. Give your page a name
3. Select the radio button to “No Template”
4. Select “Create New Page”
5. You should now be in the edting mode of your new page — add content
6. Click Save

*Remember your new page won’t be seen until you add a link to it on an existing wiki page such as the Home page. (Photo posted on Flickr by reemow).

Adding a link to your new page on the wiki Home page

1. Open the Home Page in edit mode
2. Type the name of your page onto the Home page exactly where you want the link to be
3. Highlight the name of your page
4. Click on the “Insert Link” button in the toolbar
5. Choose WikiPage from the “Link Type” dropdown menu
6. Choose the name of your page from “Link to wiki page” dropdown menu
7. Click “OK” — this takes you back to edit mode of the Home Page
8. Click Save

Adding an external link

1. Open a wiki page in edit mode
2. Type in the name of your link on the page
3. Highlight the name of your link
4. Click on “Insert Link” in the toolbar.
5. Select “URL” from Link Type dropdown menu
6. Copy and paste the URL of the website into the text box
7. Click “OK”

Adding an image to a page

1. Open a wiki page in edit mode
2. Place your cursor where you would like the image to appear
3. Click “Insert Image” in the editing toolbar
4. Click “Browse” to find the file on your computer
5. When you locate the picture and select it, then click “upload” — after uploading, the picture will appear in your picture file list on the wiki
6. Select the file and click “OK” to place the picture on your wiki page
7. To resize the image once on the page, click and hold on the lower right corner of the picture and drag to make the picture bigger or smaller.
*Note: If you want to see a list of your files and pictures without going into editing mode, click the “files” button while viewing the wiki. From here you may also rename and delete files or pictures.

Page discussion

wiki patternsWhen you have a group of individuals collaborating on the creation of a website naturally discussion about the presentation or accuracy of the content will happen. As its not appropriate to insert comments about edits or content on the wiki pages themselves, wikis provide a place for contributors to “talk” about the changes. Often times these discussions can be as interesting as the wiki page itself. In the krl2pt0 wiki the “comments” tab on each page provides contributors with a place to “talk” about the development of content.

In Wikipedia the “Discussion” tab, located just to the right of the article tab, provides contributors with a place to “talk” about the creation of the article. To view a good example of this kind of discussion, search for the article “hurricane katrina” in Wikipedia then click on the “Discussion” tab. Note the guidelines for participating in the discussion — be polite, assume good faith, no personal attacks, be welcoming, and sign & date your posts. (Photo posted on Flickr by See-ming Lee).

Quality Control

The two major questions that invariably come up around wikis are:

  1. How do you insure accuracy and balance in the content when anyone can add whatever information they like.
  2. How do you prevent someone from adding malicious content, deleting information or otherwise damaging what other’s have done.

Because there is typically no one person with editorial control over what goes into a wiki, one of the central, shared values among wiki users is that everyone takes responsibility for policing the content. When adding factual or historical information, it is strongly encouraged that you include citations to sources that support your information. Everyone is also encouraged to include or add differing points of view. If you see facts you believe are inaccurate, add a competing point of view along with sources or data to back up your statement. If you see an opinion or point of view that you may disagree with, provide an alternative perspective. In all cases, show respect for differing views and other contributors.

There are also things that can be done to control who has the ability to edit a wiki. For example, the krl2pt0 wiki requires that you have a password and provide a name and email address. In many wikis, you must first request to join the wiki and provide some information about yourself (name and email address) to be allowed to edit the content. Also wiki administrators can allow different users to have different permission levels to view, edit or publish information. Finally, wikis typically allow you to revert back to a prior version of any page if someone does accidentally or deliberately do some kind of damage. (Photo posted on Flickr by jpdegamboa).

wiki sand


  1. Add some content to the wiki about your branch, department, services or something else you’d like. You can do this individually or as a team or small group of up to 4 people.
  2. Write a blog post about your experience with the wiki. If you worked with others, make sure to say who they were in your post (you can go by your real name or your blog name).
  3. Add any ideas you have (to your blog post and to the wiki) about how we could use a wiki here at KRL — either internally or externally (a wiki that the public could contribute to).

10 Responses

  1. My blog was altered – the pictures disappeared. I did not edit it. Has anyone else run into this problem?

  2. I haven’t seen or heard of this from anyone else. Next time you’re at Sylvan Way, let’s take a look under the hood and see if we can figure out what’s going on.


  3. I created a page and hit Save. The page disappeared and my cursor went into permanent ‘processing’ mode. I had entered only text, nothing fancy. It finally finished processing at 12 minutes. I’m in Firefox on a Mac. Would that cause the delay? Or is it because other people are in the wiki on other pages? Big learning curve here!

  4. Susan:

    I think the problem is with LibraryThing, not the wiki.

    There’s a widget that connects the wiki to a LibraryThing tag cloud. Occasionally, the LibraryThing server can be infuriatingly slow.

    I found the page you created, put a link to it on the PT page, hit save and the same thing that you described happened again. At the bottom of the screen, the wiki was getting stuck trying to read the LibraryThing widget.

    Your page has been saved and it is there, I think you’ll be able to go back to it as soon as LT calms down.


  5. PS to the above post:

    The link on the PT page does work and will open your new page. Nothing is showing up right now when the page opens, but if you hit “Edit page” your text is there. If you try to save the page and exit, it is still freezing up trying to read the widget.

    Hopefully that will clear up soon.


  6. …I found this to be ALOT of work and I really don’t understand just what the heck I did!

  7. Mary:
    I know you’ve put in some labors of love on the Poulsbo page. I think it looks great and you should pat yourself on the back!


  8. Anyone else having trouble accessing the site? We have been trying for two days to get in and do assignments with no luck. Happens at different times of day and computer stations. Any clues? It is a very frustrating experience. kj

  9. I was just working on the practice wiki and had no trouble accessing it. I think more explanation is needed however for editing/creating new pages.

  10. Hi Gail:

    I’ll track you down at work, see if we can get some more info to you.


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