Blogs, Wikis, and You II: ALCTS Communication Options

How does your ALCTS group communicate to do its work? Do you post information to your group's web site? Electronic discussion lists are a very popular solution. They work perfectly for some groups, but when document (file) sharing and frequent editing are part of the work, these solutions break down a bit. Online communities (OCs), web logs (blogs), and wikis are three technologies that offer new ways to connect, communicate, share, learn, and produce.

ALA recently began providing these tools to all of its groups. ALCTS members have already taken part by building online communities (about a dozen so far), launching Digiblog, (the first of what we hope will be many web logs), creating CC:DA's new private wiki, and posting ALCTS-specific event information to the 2007 Midwinter Wiki.

Following are instructions on how to request blogs, wikis and online communities and a little information about each. Get more information about new technology and ALA.

Online Communities

Are online spaces, accessible via your web browser, where access is limited to committee members (or any specific group) where they can post committee information and FAQs, share and archive documents, keep a group calendar, engage in discussion via threads or online chat, and link to any site on the web. “Does Your Committee Need a Community” is a guide to requesting an online community and getting training with the software.


Widely known for being the home to personal journals, blogs are web sites that combine text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. ALCTS (like other ALA groups) is using a blog to allow discussion on specific professional issues among the members of the entire online community on the web.

Digiblog is the first ALCTS blog, serving as a forum to start discussion on ideas from the Midwinter Symposium "Definitely Digital: Exploring the Future of Knowledge." Symposium speakers will be able to interact with bloggers and perhaps tailor their talks based on the direction of the discussion. We don't really know what will happen.

We have our own ideas about how members could use blogs and wikis, but we want to hear from all interested members--what's your idea?

(Some information taken from Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog.)


"Wikis are websites that allow visitors themselves to easily add, remove and otherwise edit and change content, sometimes without the need for registration. This ease of interaction and operation makes a wiki an effective tool for collaborative authoring."--Wikipedia

What's Wiki?

The first such software to be called a wiki, WikiWikiWeb, was named by Ward Cunningham. Cunningham remembered a Honolulu International Airport counter employee telling him to take the so-called "Wiki Wiki" Chance RT-52 shuttle bus line that runs between the airport's terminals. According to Cunningham, "I chose wiki-wiki as an alliterative substitute for 'quick' and thereby avoided naming this stuff quick-web." "Wiki Wiki" is a reduplication of "waka waka", a Hawaiian-language word for fast. The word wiki is a shorter form of wiki wiki (weekie, weekie). The word is sometimes interpreted as the backronym for "what I know is", which describes the knowledge contribution, storage and exchange function. (SOURCE: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki)

ALA Has Built It; We Hope You'll Come

Consider using these tools to make your work easier, begin discussions, or collaborate on projects. ALCTS current OCs, blog, and wiki are only the begining. We rely on members to propose ideas, work through creating the tools with us, and manage the sites after they're launched. Consult the instructions for starting an OC or blog/wiki to get started.