The following is a question and and responses to that question. We have made every effort to remove all identifying information Regarding both the person who submitted the question and those who responded.
How many of you have a wiki at your firm? What is it used for? Who is allowed to contribute?
Purpose of my inquiry: We are building a wiki for our advanced legal research class and I was hoping to be able to share with them instances where they might see a wiki in law practice.
1. As far as content, we are at the beginning stages of creating Legal Subjects Resource Guides that will bring together all the materials we have on a given topic. It will include a list of key print sources with the call numbers, a list of relevant web sites, and blogs and other news sources for keeping current on the topic. We will also list the electronic sources for the resource to include Lexis, Westlaw, HeinOnline and others. Actual database identifiers will be listed. Finally, we will also have a short tutorial on the topic. We want to assign our librarians several of these topics to create and maintain. So we have begun working to get all of our all the librarians to buy into the idea of learning the basic wiki code required to create a basic web page. The idea is for the Librarians to create and maintain pages themselves rather than have everything go through the one person who updates and maintains the intranet now. We have also tried to use the wiki to collaborate on a project where committee members are scattered over three states. We now have one place to go for all of the meeting agenda’s, minutes, and all other extraneous information regarding the committee’s charge in one place.
2. We have something like a wiki here. It’s an online database that the reference librarians in all our offices contribute to, and only they can access it. I’m told that it doesn’t actually use wiki software, but I think it’s the same idea.
3. The collective libraries of my firm share a wiki to post information relating to our monthly reference meetings. Everybody dials a certain extension to get connected to the call, and often there is a netmeeting too. The wiki provides information to the attendees, such as the date of the next meeting, the connection information for that meeting, the agenda, guest speaker bios, attached “hand-outs”, etc. The offices take turns hosting the meetings and each office is responsible for posting their information when it’s their turn.
4. The purpose of our wiki is to capture and share knowledge internally about emerging retail investment products. This is part of a program to identify new investment products, monitor and assess their development, and provide a strong informational basis for us to take action if appropriate with regard to our investor protection mission. In its first year, contributors were primarily made up of a cross-divisional team of staff tasked with working on the emerging retail investment products initiative, along with a few other dedicated staff. Our web publishing team and Knowledge Centre staff administer the wiki and provide training on how to add content. All staff are welcome to contribute to the wiki. We found it effective to assign topic leaders for each product in the wiki; the leader tends to seek expertise inside and outside the organization, collecting knowledge in advance of product discussion meetings. After meeting with staff to evaluate the effectiveness of the wiki in its first year, we are now making some design changes to make it easier to browse and contribute knowledge.
5. We use a wiki as sort of a shared document for saving and sharing tips such as who to call for hard-to-track down government documents, procedures for certain interlibrary loans or document requests, where copies of elusive documents are stored – that kind of thing. Any information or document that would be handy to have in the future. One or the other of us usually puts something in a few times a month, and it is always a lifesaver! A basic Word doc would have worked fine, too, but we chose the wiki format because it allowed us both to access it from work or home, and it will notify the other when something is added.
6. Right now we have wikis for several administrative functions. The library staff uses one for a shared calendar, agendas/minutes for meetings, reference answers, etc. We are redoing our intranet and have a wiki for that. There has been talk in several of the practice groups about using one to share information on that particular area of law.
7. We use wikis here, but not for the attorneys as far as I know. The library has a wiki that we consider our institutional memory. We include procedures, notes about decisions we have made, project lists, vendor notes – anything that needs to be available to all library staff. I think it would be useful for all the managers to have a wiki and be able to see what is happening in other departments. This form of communication/social networking, however, has not been adopted firmwide, however.