Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Wikis, answer to the email flood?

Shamus McGillicuddy, SearchCIO

Paul Wormeli, executive director of the Ashburn, Va.-based Integrated Justice Information System (IJIS) Institute, has deployed blog technology inside his organization and says blogs speed up collaboration and reduce e-mail.

"With e-mail, if you want people to comment on a white paper, you send it out and get 20 people to look at it," Wormeli said. "A lot of them come back with the same [correction of a] misspelled word or a comment."

A blog, or weblog, is essentially an online diary. In the business environment, a blog allows knowledge workers to share information with other employees, who in turn can provide feedback.

Wiki is a term derived from the Hawaiian word wikiwiki, which means "fast." A wiki is similar to a blog, but it allows users to both create and edit each other's content in a searchable database.

E-mail has proven itself to be an indispensable form of communication, but it has limits as a collaborative tool, experts agree. Enterprise content management systems are important for codifying and organizing important corporate data, but they can be expensive and inflexible. Blogs and wikis can fill in the collaborative gap.

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