Gigi Amateau was our guest on December 9, when she gave a tutorial on using a wiki (a simple online database) for organizing research. In writing her first historical YA novel, she plunged in to more research than she had done with her first three YA novels. Notebooks weren’t quite cutting it for keeping track of all the dates, places, and details of the world she was recreating: Richmond at the turn of the 18th-19th centuries.
So she turned to a wiki. Often, wikis are used for large group projects, like Wikipedia, but Gigi found it helpful to compile her very own personal online encyclopedia. She was able to include links, documents, photographs, drawings, and almost anything else she wanted to use for reference. She has even kept a log of conversations and emails between her editor and herself. When her book is published in fall 2011, she’ll provide a public version of her wiki as a resource for readers and teachers.
How do you get started creating your own wiki? We’ve included links at the end of this article for sites offering wikis. Set up categories that make sense for your own project and start entering text. Link your text to websites that explain or elaborate. Link your wiki pages to each other. Think of it as a free-form database, all custom designed for you. It’s especially useful for collaborative projects, so allow access to your editors, writing group, or work colleagues.
Links to Wiki Providers:
We have not done exhaustive research on the list below. Think of it as a starting point. Thanks to WikiMatrix for listings and comparisons.
- Wikispaces - This is the provider Gigi uses. It’s free if your wiki is public (the content will be indexed by search engines). There is a charge if you want it to be private. Multiple pricing levels.
- PBWorks – Has Basic (free), Premium and Business levels.
- Intodit – Free, but has ads
- PicoWiki – Free, specially designed for PDA and SmartPhone use. Slogan: “All your notes, wherever you are.”
- Springnote – Free. An “online notebook.”
- Zoho – Free up to 3 users.