North Texas 23: Thing 18 – Wikis

I have been acquainted with Wikipedia for quite some time, and find it very useful. I searched for DAISy and was sent to a links page, and at the bottom, under “Other Meanings) I saw DAISY digital talking book.  I clicked on that and was sent to that link (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DAISY_Digital_Talking_Book). Using the terms “digital accessible information system” took me directly to another links page, with the same link at the top.  The information is brief, but the citations are from reputable sources, mostly from the DAISY Consortium page (http://www.daisy.org/).  The discussion tab and the history tab were both interesting – the history tab allows you to read the previous versions. Two additional topic links were given – Accessible publishing(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessible_publishing)     and Audiobooks (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audiobook),  which also provided interesting background information on DAISy.

I approach Wikipedia with healthy skepticism, but often use it to introduce myself to a personality or topic. I am especially skeptical about topics with religious, political, or historical subjects, since these are most vulnerable to editing from those with particular points of view.  On technical topics, Wikipedia is often very useful to me, because new terms come into being more quickly than more established sources can define them.  The articles often have many links, which allow quick verification and lead to more information. In fact the links are often the most useful part of a Wikipedia article for me.

I am careful about citing Wikipedia links in papers, however, because an article can be changed so quickly. I try to find other sources to verify main points and cite those instead.  I will continue to use Wikipedia though, and consider it a “success story” in the area of open-source publishing.

I had used PBWiki in another context, so posting pages on a wiki wasn’t novel.  Wetpaint was easy to use (http://dfw23things.wetpaint.com/).  Web2Access (http://www.web2access.org.uk/product/67) rated Wetpaint pretty highly, giving scores of 82% for those with blindness/severe visual impairment and 78% for those with partial sight and visual acuity.  It was rated at 100% however, for those with hearing impairments.

Wikipedia was also evaluated by Web2Access (http://www.web2access.org.uk/product/6) and received fairly high marks. I commented on it under North Texas 23:  Thing 13 – Tagging (https://daisyconnect.wordpress.com/2009/08/15/north-texas-23-thing-13-tagging/).

Wikis seem to me to be unique applications and useful tools. With a little tweaking, they can be highly accessible.  I will continue to use them.

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