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The development of wikis

The concept of wikis was introduced by Bo Leuf and Ward Cunningham in 1995 [25]. The term wiki was derived from wikiwiki, which is the Hawaiian word for quick. A wiki system is an online platform which allows each and every user to create articles and also to edit, revise, extend, or link existing articles. The original aim was to develop an easy-touse knowledge management system enabling effective and efficient online collaboration. Wiki systems therefore provide mark-up languages, which are based on simplified HTML elements, basically reducing it to the very basic tags, or they provide editors to simplify creating online contents [13, 39]. Consequently, even novices can easily contribute to the online community without being required to have a high level of computer skills. Finally, wikis are online applications and, therefore, they do not require specific local software or operating system. The first implementation of the wiki principle was wikiwikiweb (http://www.c2.com/cgi/wiki) by Ward Cunningham in 1995. Further implementations were CoWeb by Mark Guzidal in 1999 [15] and Nupedia in 2000. Nupedia followed a rather traditional approach to establish an online encyclopaedia; authors were experts and articles were reviewed in a seven-step editorial process. Due to a lack of participants and the extensive review process, Nupedia failed in the end. Nupedia’s successor was Wikipedia (http://www.wikipedia.org) which was established in 2001 by Jimmy Wales. It fully incorporated the described principles of openness and freedom and today it is the most successful wiki system.


Tasks in this lesson

1. What do you find in reading some scholars' articles about wikis?

2. Have you found any interesting links of wikis?

3. Have you had any experience of using the "wikis" technology?


Discussion:Is wikis a great invention?

Learners need to post their ideas in our discussion area