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A wiki is a website where multiple users can add, remove, and edit content on each page using a web browser. It enables people to collaborate, even in situations where they cannot meet face to face. One of the best examples of a wiki is Wikipedia. This is a free, open content encyclopedia. It is one of the most widely used reference tools on the web and it has millions of collaborators. Anyone registered on the site can create an article for publication. Not all wikis are wikipedias, however. Some wikis are for personal use such as tiddlyspot and others can be used as a collaboration platform within a company such as wikidot and zoho.

See Wikis that work


Wikipedia is a free, open content online encyclopedia created through the collaborative effort of a community of users known as Wikipedians. Anyone registered on the site can create an article for publication, registration is not required to edit articles.

EHEC outbreak Wiki

During the 2011 German outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7  (EHEC) in fenugreek sprouted seeds, which affected over 3,900 people and caused 53 deaths, wikis proved useful in determining the genetic make-up of the organism which was a previously unknown strain.


Advantages of Wikis

  •  Wikis are a great collaboration tool. Each member with administration rights can create content (articles, manuals and other documents) independently of each other. Members can leave notes for each other within the wiki and communicate ideas to one another in the wiki writing process.
  • Wikis are edited in a web browser. No specific software is required. As long as a user can access the web they can access the wiki.
  • All the drafts of a document are saved; this means there is traceability of altered documents and older versions can be retrieved.
  • Wikis are mostly free and can be open source or password protected.


Disadvantages of Wikis

  • As wiki is web based, uploaded documents can be found by others. Even with password protection, there is possibility that the wiki could be hacked. If you are working with sensitive material you may not want to use a wiki.
  • With many members creating content, the wiki can become disorganised. Good ideas can be lost if no one is keeping tabs on the content. Designating someone to organise the wiki and its content may be a solution to this problem.
  • Certain Wikipedia pages can be freely edited which can cause issues of legal liability and risk to reputation. Wikipedia is considered by many to be a useful and credible online source for information on issues related to food risks and food benefits. It is imperative that those involved in food risk/benefit communication monitor what is being said on Wikipedia not only about their chosen topic but also about their business/organisation. Any mis-represented information should be corrected immediately.

Wiki V Blog

The reverse chronological order of blogs makes it difficult to find all postings on a particular topic, and to browse through all postings on that topic. On the other hand, wikis do not show as easily when information was documented or in what order, but it does show what information is related and make it easy to browse.

Parker, K. & Chao, J. (2007).


In December 2012 Wikipedia hosted 17 million articles

(source: statisticbrain.com)