CMS vs. Wiki

This past week we had the second meeting of the Hudson Valley Drupalers, over at Marist College, which was really impressive. Vonn gave an overview of some of the really amazing things you can do with Taxonomy in Drupal, which I’d not even thought about. It was incredibly inspiring, and making me think about how I’ve created content types in all my sites, and how to do it better. And it’s really gotten me thinking.

At work we largely work with Wikis. Over the years I’ve been really a big supporter of wikis (heck, the wiki that our division uses is one that I started for our department years ago that got successful enough for our infrastructure folks to take over), but as I watch a current effort to organize some information on an internal wiki, I see how tough it really is. Wiki is largely a write only medium. Yes, with lots of effort, you can create something like Wikipedia. But you have to remember that 100x more effort goes into editing to keep it consistent then the initial content creation. Content Management Systems are really read mostly media. You only get to change a small amount of the page, then that content is sliced and diced in many ways throughout the system. This may seem like a trivial distinction, but when it comes to organizing information, the power of that slicing and dicing is huge. There doesn’t need to be only one way to see the data, there can be many ways in, and many ways through.

Maybe it’s time to try to introduce the CMS model in our area, and see if it would help productivity. I might make that a “Think Friday” activity once the Day of Service is over. The wiki experiment from 2004 took this path, and eventually got adopted on a broader scale.

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