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Christina's LIS Rant
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
  Common Craft: Wiki This- A Model for Customer Support Using Blogs and Wikis
Pointed out by Library Clips and CorporateBloggingBlog.(it took two notices for me to get this)

In a nutshell -- the author's point is that because of the forced chronological arrangement and interaction via comments of the blog, it's not good for longterm reference or best practices because the valuable nuggets get buried. Blogs are good for near realtime tracking of customer issues or other "emerging information." The author suggests human filtering (or cherry picking?) to pull these nuggets off of blogs and place them in a wiki structure for future reference.

So here's my original part. For libraries. Just about all libraries make pathfinders or resource guides. We know that they are actually seldom used and when they are used they are primarily used by other librarians. There's the idea of guided resource modules -- task related resource guides -- but I'm not sure how popular they are, either. Add this to the logs, databases, or lists that a lot of special libraries keep of information requests.

Why not have a cherry picker or filter who takes good/tough/rare questions from these logs or databases, and adds them to a FAQ wiki, under hierarchical subject headings, in place of resource guides? This would have to be searchable -- from everywhere. If you put a search in on the library's home page, or lists of databases, or journals -- there it is. Even better, if your org has communities of practice wikis or portals or project wikis, answer the question on the customer's wiki.

Update (later that same day): What about all of the absolutely wonderful information found on the library listservs like CHEM-INF? Yes, you can search the archives, but wouldn't it be nice to have a wiki for all the listserv members so when an issue is sorted out and a final summary post is made, a wiki page can be updated to list the best resources for the question and even the answer. Hmmmm.
 
Comments:
I am still dealing with a mental block regarding wikis, and am having problems wrapping my mind around them. I think it's info overload. However, what you're suggesting seems to make good sense. Being a blogger, and not being familiar with wiki software isn't helping the feeling that trying to understand wikis is like walking through wet tar...
 
You idea is an excellent one. This is exactly what we are doing at Cisco with our customer support wiki.

http://supportwiki.cisco.com

Blogs and discussion boards are great for posting a question but I got tired of wasting time sifting through the banter. So we have both discussion boards and a wiki. The wiki is used for matter of fact information and the discussion boards are used for finding new answers or for those religious debates that exist in every industry.

Craig Tobias
Solution Architect
Cisco Systems
 
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This is my blog on library and information science. I'm into Sci/Tech libraries, special libraries, personal information management, sci/tech scholarly comms.... My name is Christina Pikas and I'm a librarian in a physics, astronomy, math, computer science, and engineering library. I'm also a doctoral student at Maryland. Any opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer or CLIS. You may reach me via e-mail at cpikas {at} gmail {dot} com.

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Christina Kirk Pikas

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