Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary


Coined in 1995, the term ‘wiki’ relates to a particular kind of software which places the editing functionality of a webpage on the server. As such, wikis are widely recognised as especially powerful tools for mass collaboration because they permit “asynchronous, incremental, and transparent contributions” from a theoretically unlimited number of geographically dispersed and otherwise unaffiliated individuals (Reagle 2010: 6). This entry aims to provide a broad overview of the ways in which citizen media scholars have so far engaged with wikis as new public spaces for mass participation, knowledge sharing and community building. After briefly setting the development of these first ‘produser’ technologies in their historical context (Shirky 2008), it will begin by emphasising the wide range of different types of wiki that have emerged on the web over the past two decades. I will show, however, that the majority of wiki-related scholarship can be placed within two camps: the first has focused on investigating the largest and best known wiki, Wikipedia (e.g. König 2013; Reagle 2010), while the second has explored the potential and pitfalls of this software for new forms of participatory democracy and activism (e.g. Shaw & Hill 2014; Noveck 2009). Therefore, the main body of the entry will draw on contemporary case-studies taken from these two core fields of research to discuss how such tools are transforming knowledge production and dissemination practices, both inside and outside of the traditional institutions of the media, education and government.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Encyclopedia of Citizen Media
EditorsLuis Perez-Gonzalez, Bolette Blaagaard, Mona Baker
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 28 Feb 2018


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