Wiki as Online Roladex

After speaking about wikis at Computers in Libraries, I’ve had the opportunity to talk with a number of people about potential uses for wikis. One idea that came out of those conversations really struck me as potentially an excellent use of a wiki. On two separate occassions, two different public librarians asked me if I thought a wiki would be good application to replace a database of local contact information. I think this is a great idea! Imagine if librarians or community members add content for county officials, doctors, libraries, schools, etc, for the community. Each wiki article for the contact or name could contain a great deal more information than just name, phone, and address. Perhaps pictures of the location of a business, or a link to Mapquest, or an in-depth description of services rendered could be included. With many wiki software clients, it is very easy to generate an A to Z list of the articles (in this case, names and contacts), and you could search this virtual roladex wiki by keyword. Contacts and names could also be placed into various categories for easy browsing, sort of like using the yellow pages. Just think of the opportunities for community outreach and community building that this type of wiki could create.

Technorati Tag: CIL 2006

One thought on “Wiki as Online Roladex”

  1. Over a recent lunch that was attended by law librarians, we discussed 2 possible wiki uses. For general libraries a wiki would make a good reference log. Each librarian would login at the start of the shift and make running notes about reference questions and answers, situations in the library, etc. that would be searchable by anyone on subsequent shifts.
    An even better idea is the use of a wiki (on an intranet)as an expert witness database. Contact info, areas of expertise, a photo, links to publications, CVs and websites (as available) and testimonial histories could be included.

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