Conference wiki update

I’m rather aware that this blog has been neglected over the last couple of months. This is partly due to personal reasons and partly due to the fact that our FIL* conference is fast approaching and there’s been a lot of organising to do! As mentioned previously we’ve experimented this year by using a wiki to plan the conference. First it was restricted to the committee and then, once we’d got some pages up and running, it was opened up to all FIL members and advertised on our mailing list and website. The aim of the wiki was really to help the conference committee keep track of the planning and make sure that there was one place where we could always find things like the most up to date version of the programme and the latest to do list. Once we opened it up, the wiki became a useful place to direct anyone who wanted to find out more about the planned programme and invited speakers without needing to upload a word or PDF version to the official website every week.

So far… as of today we have 112 email addresses receiving notifications of changes to the wiki and since putting a site counter on the front page about 6 weeks ago we have had 240 visits. Considering that we expect about 60 delegates to the actual conference I’ve been quite astonished by the takeup. Unfortunately we didn’t really build evaluation into the initial idea and so the site counter was only added a few months after the wiki was launched. We’ve also kept the wiki private so far although the ‘invite key’ (password) is clearly shown on our website and was included in the mailing list information.

The email notifications have caused some problems as we went for a free account and put all the information on one wiki, including our planning lists and notes. This means that even though the committee pages were not linked from the home page, delegates were getting email notifications that didn’t really have any relevance to them, such as which committee members were going to help put the conference packs together! As the wiki was set as private the RSS feeds were disabled so the email notifications were the only way for people to keep up to date and this may not have been the best option. As an alternative I created an Interlend blog at the beginning of May and incorporated it into the wiki as a ‘news’ page so that anyone who wanted the important updates could subscribe to the blog’s RSS feed instead but I have no idea whether anyone is actually reading it at the moment! We are also considering creating a separate ‘planning’ wiki to keep hidden the information that is only of interest to the planning committee.

I’m really looking forward to chatting to people at the conference about our web 2.0 experiments and asking for feedback that we can use to plan for next year. At the very least, it should have increased the number of delegates who can say they know what a wiki is!

Further evaluation once the votes are in…

*FIL – Forum for Interlending and Information Delivery – http://www.cilip.org.uk/fil

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