Why I use a wiki
There are a few reasons I have chosen to use a wiki to develop the Virtual International Day of the Midwife.
- The wiki models a process that can be used for collaboration and not only introduces wiki to health professionals, but also the idea of open collaboration and learning.
- It allows me to collaborate not only with the VIDM organising committee but also anyone who has an interest in the event.
- Open collaboration gives people a sense of community ownership, which hopefully will make the VIDM much more successful.
- Saves me time. If people see an error in what I have produced, they can correct the error without involving me.
- The process of developing the conference is transparent. This allows people to track what we're doing and why, and learn by our success and failures, as evidenced by the World OT Day in 2010.
- The "history" section of the wiki allows me to go back to previous versions which can be very useful if I have forgotten what I did, or how I did it.
I have been using this same wiki for the last four years, and I have had only one incident where unwanted material has been added which I was able to quickly delete. I am able to set the wiki specifications so I am notified every time someone makes changes to a page. I can also track and trace changes via the wiki "history" and revert to previous editions, as well as block unwanted visitors.
If anything, people have been slow to use the wiki. I think this is because they either do not know what a wiki is and how they can make changes, or they feel they do not have the 'right' to change someone else's work.
What are the alternatives?
There are a number of other free platforms that you can use, which are websites and not collaborative spaces. Google Sites is one such place to look at. And of course you can lock up a Wikispaces page so people can see it but not edit it, like I have done with my ePortfolio.
The Virtual International Day of the Midwife is an open, free community event that is designed to share information and resources, and to bring people together. We are not out to make money - we have absolutely no funding. So the whole process of this event is open and
community-focused from the first planning day to the posting of the last recording. I feel that locking the wiki up would interfere with this process.
And as for unscrupulous visitors, the community will deal with them as and when they crop up.
Image: 'One Ring to Rule Them All'