May 9, 2019 · Annotated Bibliographies

Annotated Bibliography: Wikis

Related to Having Students Create a Wiki for Macbeth

Elfving, David, and Ericka Menchen-Trevino. “One Wiki, Two Classrooms.” Wiki Writing, edited by Robert E. Cummings and Matt Barton, University of Michigan Press, 2008, pp. 137–43. JSTOR, doi:10.2307/j.ctv65sx6q.12.

Graham, Shawn. “The Wikiblitz: A Wikipedia Editing Assignment in a First-Year Undergraduate Class.” Writing History in the Digital Age, edited by Jack Dougherty and Kristen Nawrotzki, University of Michigan Press, 2013, pp. 75–85. JSTOR, doi:10.2307/j.ctv65sx57.11.

Lisabeth, Laura. “Empowering Education with Social Annotation and Wikis.” Web Writing, edited by Jack Dougherty and Tennyson O’Donnell, University of Michigan Press, 2015, pp. 233–46. JSTOR, doi:10.2307/j.ctv65sxgk.25.

Lisabeth's social annotation of Strunk and White's classic The Elements of Style shows the potential for wiki work in the classroom to not only engage students in textual analysis and critical thinking, but to resonate on a political level. Students in her writing class found ways, via the public, social wiki space, to question the solid, authoritative nature of Strunk and White's vision of academic language. The defined digital space was important since, as Lisabeth notes, "in digital space these annotations can become a transformative public act as the text being annotated takes a backseat to the collective backchannel" (233).

McCorkle, Ben. “GlossaTechnologia: Anatomy of a Wiki-Based Annotated Bibliography.” Wiki Writing, edited by Robert E. Cummings and Matt Barton, University of Michigan Press, 2008, pp. 216–24. JSTOR, doi:10.2307/j.ctv65sx6q.18.  

Interestingly, this description of the birth of a community-generated annotated bibliography called GlossaTechnologia is both relevant to the use of wikis to create authentic knowledge webs, and it is also a cautionary tale that raises questions about the longevity of such projects. GlossaTechnologia was to become the academic hub of annotated knowledge on media, technology, and society, broadly speaking. The goal was to show how "wikis can be used to effectively harness the collective intelligence of a group of scholars to extend the knowledge base of a specific topic of interest..." (217).

Yet the site no longer exists. has snapshots of the site from 2010 to 2013. And while some valiant efforts were made to keep submissions flowing, it clearly "failed" in some way. The questions this short lifespan raises in my mind include:

Are (humanities) scholars inherently unlikely to collaborate over the long term? Does the "democratic" structure of the site – anyone can contribute anything – lead to a devaluing and ultimate abandonment of that kind of project? For example, a collaborative project like Somatosphere is humming along, precisely because it takes what is strong and good about academic publishing (consistency and quality, plus exposure and prestige) and it makes the barrier to entry slightly lower than traditional journals. But Somatosphere maintains an editorial board and active editors who determine what is published and what isn't. It is not democratic in the way of a wiki. This article inspired a number of questions about the nature and use of wikis for long-term academic collaboration that I don't think have yet been answered.