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INMM 2005 Oral Presentation - Paper Number 231

Using Wikis as a Low-Cost Knowledge Sharing Tool

Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Ottawa, Canada

Eton Systems, Ottawa, Canada

International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, Austria

International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, Austria


Organizations large and small are struggling to retain their "corporate memory". In a paper presented at the 45th INMM Annual Meeting, the authors advocated "guerilla knowledge gathering" - a technique of gathering valuable corporate data using low-cost, low-tech methods. This paper describes the next logical steps - storing, organizing, and sharing the data, information, and knowledge.

For smaller organizations, or small groups within a larger organization, the acquisition costs, the learning curve, and the administrative overhead for proprietary Knowledge Management systems make them impractical to use. This paper describes a low-cost, low-overhead alternative: a WikiWikiWeb - more commonly called a wiki. A wiki is a web-accessible, shared authoring environment, designed for collaborative document creation.

Wikis, and their close cousins, blogs, are deployed by thousands of individuals and organizations. Wikis are being used daily to share knowledge in many fields. Although they look like any web site, wiki content can be changed, augmented, or deleted by any of its authorized users using nothing more than a web browser.

The authors describe their experiences using a wiki to prepare and upgrade task-based training courses for IAEA inspectors. The wiki was used both as a repository for the training materials as well as a daily communication vehicle for multiple co-authors working in Canada and Austria. The paper compares and contrasts the capabilities of the wiki against other approaches such as email, corporate server farms, intranet web sites, and bulletin board systems. The authors also address the security concerns of IT departments regarding wikis.

The paper concludes with several case studies describing the experiences other organizations have had with wikis.

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