Wiki’s : organic versus structured

Peter Forret is considering Tikiwiki to power his tango site.
I’m not sure whether Tikiwiki is the ideal solution here, it’s is a feature-bloated beast that’s hard to domesticize customize. It has a lot of non-wiki components, and is more of a portal like the Nuke family. You’ll have a hard time molding it into an existing look and feel…

I do use and like the Tikiwiki wiki functionality however, mainly because of two features:

  • structures: an example at the tikiwi docs pages. It allows you to arrange wiki pages in an outline (or hierarchy if you want), resulting in an automatic navigation, and the ability to create printable pages and pdf’s for the whole structure. Ideal for maintaining technical documentation in the wiki – and being able to extract a printable version of it at any moment.
  • I.T. Works intranet wiki screenshotdatabase access: if you already have information in a database, pull it into the wiki with the SQL plugin. An example of this is the wiki we use at work (screenshot): using data on upcoming seminars and some string concatenation in sql, links are constructed, pointing to:
    • the db editing interface for that seminar
    • the wiki page with preparation notes for the seminar (if there’s a question mark, it means there aren’t any notes yet)
    • the link to the seminar description on the public site

Both of these features provide your wiki with a “structured backbone”. Wiki’s are fantastic because of the freedom users have to link and create pages at will. But large, “pure”, “organically grown” wiki’s tend to get cluttered and impossible to maintain for exactly the same reason. (Wikipedia is not a counterexample here – in fact Wikipedia has a very rigid structure because of the lemma – article schema).

BTW: I’m preparing a seminar on light-weight knowledgemanagement, featuring wikis, blogs and syndication. If you know examples of corporate usage, let me know (pascal at itworks dot be). I’m searching for companies using it internally, not for marketing purposes. Nor does the seminar deal with blogging and wikis as a phenomenon in society at large. I’ve already spoken to these people: Steven Noels, Wouter Van Daele, Maarten Schenk, Ton Zijlstra and Tom Mertens.

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