UKOLN AHDS An Introduction To Wikis


Wiki technologies are increasingly being used to support development work across distributed teams. This document aims to give a brief description of Wikis and to summarise the main challenges to be faced when considering the deployment of Wiki technologies.

What is A Wiki?

A Wiki or wiki (pronounced "wicky" or "weekee") is a Web site (or other hypertext document collection) that allows a user to add content. The term Wiki can also refer to the collaborative software used to create such a Web site [1].

The key characteristics of typical Wikis are:

Wikipedia - The Largest Wiki

The Wikipedia is the largest and best-known Wiki - see <>.


The Wikipedia provides a good example of a community Wiki in which content is provided by contributors around the world.

The Wikipedia appears to have succeeded in providing an environment and culture which has minimised the dangers of misuse. Details of the approaches taken on the Wikipedia are given on the Wikipedia Web site [2].

What Can Wikis Be Used For?

Wikis can be used for a number of purposes:

Wikis - The Pros And Cons

As described in [6] advantages of Wikis may include:

Disadvantages of Wikis include:

Further Information

  1. Wiki, Wikipedia,
  2. Wikimedia principles, Wikimedia,
  3. IT and Society Wiki, Queen's University Belfast
  4. FOAF Wiki, FoafProject,
  5. Experiences of Using a Wiki for Note-taking at a Workshop, B. Kelly, Ariadne 42, Jan 2005,
  6. , E. Tonkin, Ariadne 42, Jan 2005,