Introducing Web 2.0: wikis for health librarians


Abstract




This paper is an introduction to wikis for health librarians. While using wikis in health is now well established, their gradual rise is similar to other Web 2.0 tools such as blogs and RSS feeds. The same principles of collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and socialization apply to wikis. Easy-to-use, interactive, and built on open platforms (though not all are free), wikis offer a number of marketing and teaching opportunities for health librarians. Ironically, owing to the prominence of Wikipedia, which paved the way for the broader acceptance of Web 2.0 technologies, wikis are moving beyond the collaborative writing of encyclopedia entries. Wikis are now used for all kinds of projects, from managing internal library content to revising important reference sources such as the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). That said, some physicians and librarians express grave concerns about using wikis to create reference works—particularly, how questionable authority and editorial controls may result in medical errors. We argue that wikis were not necessarily meant to replace trusted print and digital information. When used responsibly as part of an overall content management plan, wikis can enhance our traditional collections and services. The authors predict that wikis will continue their rise in medicine through 2008, which will lead to other creative uses and applications in health libraries.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5596/c07-036

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