Our final method of group collaboration is the wiki.
You’re probably familiar with the concept of wikis, thanks to the web’s
most popular wiki—Wikipedia.
If you’ve never used Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.org),
you’re in for an eye opener. Wikipedia is, in essence, a giant online
encyclopedia—but with a twist. Wikipedia’s content is created solely by
the site’s users, resulting in the world’s largest online collaboration.
Wikipedia articles are written, edited, and elaborated on by people of
all types, from students, to subject-matter experts and professional
researchers, to interested amateurs. It’s a true group collaboration.
Which is, in fact, what a
wiki is—a collection of web pages where any users can contribute or
modify content. The first wiki was WikiWikiWeb, a website founded in
1995 to facilitate the exchange of ideas between computer programmers.
Wikis enable all users not only to write new articles, but also to
comment on and edit existing articles.
The word wiki comes from the Hawaiian word for “fast”—and is not an acronym for “what I know is,” as some suggest.
many organizations use wikis as collaborative applications. A group
wiki can be public (open to all users), as Wikipedia is, or
private—which is ideal for project groups, businesses, and other
A private wiki invites
all group members to create new pages on the wiki site or to edit any
existing page. All writing and editing is done within the web browser,
no extra software or tools necessary. In most instances, there is no
review of the articles or edits before they’re accepted.
The result is a
collection of articles or documents, written collaboratively. The wiki
software organizes the articles behind the scenes and manages the
versioning for each article.
Do you think a wiki is a
good tool for your particular organization or project? If so, check out
the following wiki hosting services; they make it easy to get your wiki
up and running and to manage it on an ongoing basis.
offers various levels of wiki hosting. Small wikis (one to three users)
are free; larger ones are priced as low as $4 per user per month. Wiki
creation is easy, thanks to a variety of premade templates. You also get
online file storage to help you organize your other documents as part
of your wiki.
offers hosted wikis designed for group collaboration. A Versionate wiki
is business friendly, thanks to SSL-level security and full control
over editing privileges; you can also import Word, Excel, PowerPoint,
and PDF documents into your wiki. The company offers several different
plans: Free (500MB storage), Personal (2GB storage for $2/month),
Business (unlimited storage for $25/month), and Enterprise (unlimited
storage for $2/user/month).
The wikihost.org site (www.wikihost.org)
provides free wiki hosting. Wiki creation is via the GeboBebo engine,
which offers a local database structure, user and rights management, RSS
feeds and email notification for new and updated articles, and image
and file uploading.
claims to host more than 450,000 individual wikis. Standard features
include image and file uploading, widget and media embedding, RSS feeds
and email notifications, discussion areas, and detailed user statistics.
A variety of hosting plans are available, from Basic (free) to Private
Label Premium ($800/month).
Finally, from our friends at Zoho, comes their wiki application, Zoho Wiki (wiki.zoho.com).
They offer free wiki hosting complete with WYSIWYG editing, versioning
of wiki pages, and the ability to make your wiki public or private—all
for free. Your wiki is managed from a Dashboard page, like the one shown
in Figure 1; just click the New Page icon to add a new page to the wiki.