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Are you Wiki?

Are you Wiki?
“Wiki” (/wi:ki:/), a Hawaiian word for “fast,” are web pages that can be quickly edited by any visitor. It is a web based program that is used to create collaborative workspaces that users freely create and edit Web page content using any Web browser. Wiki supports hyperlinks and has simple text syntax for creating new pages and cross links between internal pages on the fly.

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One of the most popular sites within the public domain is Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org), an encyclopedia written collaboratively by volunteers from all around the world and anyone with internet access can make changes to Wikipedia articles. Since its creation in 2001, Wikipedia attracts 684 million visitors yearly. There are more than 75,000 active contributors working on more than 10,000,000 articles in more than 260 languages. That is a collaboration project to envy.

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But did you know that the same wiki capability exists in the .mil domain today? There are a number of wiki software programs and hosts in use for your own collaboration activities on both NIPR and SIPR and you only need be an authorized user of government networks to gain access to these free (to you) resources. Some sites are targeted to specific activities like Intelink (https://www.intelink.gov), which has a goal to promote intelligence dissemination and business workflow. Intelink is actually multiple sites, Intelink-U, Intelink-S and Intelink-TS which are all on various networks.

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Other sites, like milWiki (https://wiki.kc.us.army.mil), is more in the open community format of Wikipedia and less topical than Intellipedia. And like Intelink, milWiki actually run on the same software platform as Wikipedia so transferring skills acquired in the public domain is easy.

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There are also portal-based wiki’s like those seen on tactical portals like the wiki capability inherent in Microsoft Sharepoint 2007, which as designed and out of the box are considerably less capable for the user than any of the previously mentioned wiki platforms.
Why would you want to wiki, anyway? Besides the obvious goal of collaboration, wikis work well for team projects, like preparing some sort of document (SOP, briefing, policy, battle drill). We all understand that expertise resides in our greatest resource… our people, so wiki’s allow us to bring them together to work on a (or multiple) projects remotely or at different times. Wiki’s are tools to help us codify requirements, build products, or use the power of the greater community to accomplish goals.

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Like any tool in the knowledge management professionals tool kit the wiki is not a be-all, end-all solution, but it clearly is another useful option in your KM kitbag. By replicating some of the best practices we see in the commercial domains with wikis it makes sense to more widely apply those same processes within the public sector, because we all do want to be wiki. Aloha