A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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A wiki is a page or collection of Web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses it to contribute or modify content, using a simplified markup language. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites and to power community websites, usually as a very simple form of content management.



FLOSSmanuals.net: A New Wiki Help Authoring/Publishing Tool Hybrid

Flossmanuals.net is a new wiki help authoring/publishing tool hybrid that, as far as I know, is completely unique. The site is more than a wiki. It allows groups of authors to create specific chapters independently. You can then remix the chapters into any arrangement and selection you want through a drag-and-drop interface.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2008). Articles>Documentation>Help>Wikis


Folksonomies - Cooperative Classification and Communication Through Shared Metadata

This paper examines user-generated metadata as implemented and applied in two web services designed to share and organize digital media to better understand grassroots classification.

Mathes, Adam. University of Illinois (2004). Articles>Information Design>Metadata>Wikis


For Conference Support, Consider a Wiki

For the last couple of months, I’ve been developing an online list of major trends that are transforming public relations, with links to sites, articles and quotes that in one way or another prove the point and that I know I’ll someday want to get back to. It’s something like my own personal tagging system, maintained in a wiki.

Forbush, Dan. Communication World Bulletin (2005). Articles>Web Design>Public Relations>Wikis


Forum → Wiki → Blog Workflow

Regardless of the overlap problem, combining a forum with a wiki and blog has tangible benefits. It helps solve the participation problem with wikis. Users are more comfortable asking a question in a forum rather than changing the original content of an article. Wiki admins can harvest information from these forum threads to strengthen the information of the wiki. Significant new wiki information should be announced to users on the blog.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2010). Articles>Content Management>Workflow>Wikis


Getting Content Into and Out of Wikis

As wikis mature, we’re using them for more complex business cases such as technical documentation, business analysis and project management. It’s becoming more and more interesting, if not essential, for wikis to support the import and export of content to and from other formats. Most wikis allow you to convert their pages at least to PDF and HTML. But what of other formats, and what about tools for getting content into wikis as well as out of them?

Maddox, Sarah. ffeathers (2009). Articles>Content Management>Wikis>Documentation


Getting Over the Barriers to Wiki Adoption

Rarely does anyone articulate an actual business reason why the speaker feels that a wiki isn't a worthwhile tool for collaboration in his or her environment, such as a lack of need. When I ask deeper questions, I invariably find that the objection isn't to the wiki technology itself, but instead to the concept of collaborative authoring and a perceived loss of control over the content.

Porter, Alan J. Ars Technica (2010). Articles>Content Management>Wikis>Workplace


Going from Word to Wiki

One writer's experiences and thoughts about moving content from Microsoft Word to a wiki.

DMN Communications (2008). Articles>Documentation>Wikis>Case Studies


Going from Word to Wiki: A Few Thoughts

An overview of how one technical communicator moved a Word document to a wiki, and some of the issues involved.

DMN Communications (2008). Articles>TC>Wikis>Microsoft Word


Happy Birthday Communiqué

Provides a recap of how the online, wiki-based Carolina Communique evolved and won an Award of Excellence in the Newsletters: Web & Online category of the 2008 APEX Awards for Publication Excellence

Sapir, Rick. Carolina Communique (2008). Articles>Content Management>Newsletters>Wikis


HBS Cases: How Wikipedia Works (or Doesn't)

An ongoing tension within Wikipedia is characterized as the inclusionists versus the exclusionists. The inclusionists argue that one of Wikipedia's core values is that it should be open to all ideas, that truth emerges from a variety of directions. Better to include than exclude. The exclusionists see Wikipedia's utilitarianism diminished if too much froth clouds the valuable information inside. These people delete material they consider inappropriate. The case offers students a chance to understand issues such as how online cultures are made and maintained, the power of self-policing organizations, the question of whether the service is drifting from its core principles, and whether a Wikipedia-like concept can work in a business setting.

Silverthorne, Sean. Harvard University (2007). Articles>Knowledge Management>Policies and Procedures>Wikis


How Blogs and Wikis Differ

If you're a professional communicator, chances are good you've already asked yourself whether it's time to start your own blog. But there's another tech question that you probably have not yet asked yourself, and perhaps you should: Is it time to start your own wiki?

Forbush, Dan. Communication World Bulletin (2005). Articles>Web Design>Blogging>Wikis


I Got Dragons and Tweets in My Documents

There’s a place for a lighter touch in much of the online documentation we write. It’s a delicate balance. On the one hand, it’s important that the writing style does not annoy or offend the reader and does not detract from the content. We also need to be aware of people whose first language is not the one we’re writing in. On the other hand, the occasional touch of humour or personality can focus the reader’s attention onto the page.

Maddox, Sarah. ffeathers (2009). Articles>Documentation>Wikis>Case Studies


iFixit: The Free Repair Manual

Attempts to make it easy for you to fix things yourself with our online step-by-step repair guides, troubleshooting tips, and a community of repair technicians who want to help.

iFixit. Resources>Documentation>Wikis


Informal Help via Electronic Conversation Can Lack a Certain Professional Quality

Much documentation and training is delivered in one direction—the writer provides content, and the user consumes it. Perhaps this is one reason that technical communicators are looking for ways to create a conversation. It’s easier to address user problems when you can ask follow-up questions and get details. In a one-way delivery, you have to hope that what you provide will cover what’s needed. In a conversation, you can constantly get more information and react accordingly. Still, in an instant message, chat, or forum conversation, it can be hard to be clear.

Gryphon Mountain (2009). Articles>Documentation>Wikis>Social Networking


Is a Documentation Wiki in your Future?

If we can solicit user participation in a Web 2.0 knowledge community (a volunter wiki documentation, for example), we might have a powerful means for creating high quality content. But how should this process work?

Hackos, JoAnn T. Center for Information-Development Management (2007). Articles>Documentation>Content Management>Wikis


Is Technical Writing Boring?

While the content of what I write at work is not all that interesting, and even the paradoxes or other conundrums about technical writing sometimes dull, I really get excited about the technology side of my job. New technologies are emerging each day at a rapid rate. It’s like we’re living in the internet era before the dot.com burst. This is a Web 2.0 land, where even Google threatens to become the next operating system. I am really eager to use a wiki to write my next set of documentation.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2007). Articles>Writing>Technical Writing>Wikis


Is Wiki Under Your Radar?

Your staff may already be using one of the most productive collaboration tools ever built.

Dickerson, Chad. InfoWorld (2004). Articles>Collaboration>Content Management>Wikis


Making Wikis Work for Scholars

For all the hand-wringing over whether Wikipedia is a legitimate source for completing college assignments, some professors are quietly incorporating it into their classrooms and even their research. Others, noting features of the Web site that contribute to inaccuracies and shortchange the value of expertise, are building variations on the model that are more amenable to academics and to peer review.

Guess, Andy. Inside Higher Ed (2008). Articles>Research>Online>Wikis


The Medium is the Delivery Method

A question that technical communicators frequently ask about wikis is "How do I get the documentation out of a wiki?" A simple answer: "Don’t worry about it." Because the wiki is the delivery method.

Nesbitt, Scott. DMN Communications (2009). Articles>Documentation>Content Management>Wikis


Musings on User-Generated Documentation

User-generated documentation is a big issue in technical communication circles. If properly done, tapping into the knowledge of users can improve the quality and breadth of your documentation.

DMN Communications (2008). Articles>Documentation>Technical Writing>Wikis


My Journey to Writing With a Wiki

Wikis aren’t just tools for techies. They're also also for writers. In this article, one writer describes how he uses a wiki for his work.

Nesbitt, Scott. ScottNesbitt.net (2009). Articles>Writing>Technology>Wikis


The Newest Online Communication Tool: Collaborative Web Pages Anybody Can Edit

A wiki is a web site that anybody can change. You may have already visited a wiki without even knowing it. Wikis are poised to become one of the most important online communication tools we’ve seen in a long time. While blogs are justifiably getting most of the attention paid to the online world these days, wikis are quietly weaving their way into both the external and internal communication world.

Holtz, Shel. Communication World Bulletin (2004). Articles>Web Design>Collaboration>Wikis


Online Anonymous Rating Sites: Empowering Individual Voices

Rating sites empower people to make better choices. Obviously they are subject to abuse (either from the competition, from the the slandered source, or from biased friends). But even in the possible exaggerations from the participants, the ratings raise awareness of issues that you might otherwise not carefully examine.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2007). Articles>Web Design>Assessment>Wikis


Organizing Content 12: From Help Authoring Tools to Web Tools, Especially Wikis

The importance of single sourcing the long print manual is becoming less of a demand (have you handed someone a 100+page manual lately that someone accepted with eagerness? ) I predict that in several years time, we’ll see a major shift towards web-based tools in tech comm, especially wikis.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2010). Articles>Documentation>Single Sourcing>Wikis


Patterns of Revision in Online Writing   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This study examines the revision histories of 10 Wikipedia articles nominated for the site's Featured Article Class (FAC), its highest quality rating, 5 of which achieved FAC and 5 of which did not. The revisions to each article were coded, and the coding results were combined with a descriptive analysis of two representative articles in order to determine revision patterns. All articles in both groups showed a higher percentage of additions of new material compared to deletions and revisions that rearranged the text. Although the FAC articles had roughly equal numbers of content and surface revisions, the non-FAC articles had fewer surface revisions and were dominated by content revisions. Although the unique features of the Wikipedia environment inhibit strict comparisons between these results and those of earlier revision studies, these results suggest revision in this environment places unique structural demands on writers, possibly leading to unique revision patterns.

Jones, John. Written Communication (2008). Articles>Editing>Online>Wikis



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