Your own knowledge base wiki software

For over a decade, the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia has been the first stop for millions of internet users for information about all kinds of topics.  Since its inception the website’s structure has remained unchanged: based on a simplified content management system, or wiki software, any permitted author can create and edit articles directly in their web browser. The individual editing stages allow different versions of the same articles to be generated; this way, changes can easily be made and discussed. Users can browse the digital lexicon for a particular term using the search function. Unlike traditional CMSs, wiki software offers a very limited range of options with regard to layout and design.

Wikipedia itself can be considered the model upon which other wikis are based. As with Wikipedia, a wiki (Hawaiian for ‘fast’) uses powerful wiki software for processing and managing information. This software enables businesses, clubs, and communities to make their own wiki, making knowledge management an easier process.

Planning wiki hosting

To start, ensure you have the necessary server requirements (hard and software) for your chosen wiki program. Since the majority of wiki applications are pretty modest, a web space with PHP or another script language is all that’s needed. A database such as MySQL, however, is not necessary for all wiki programs. Some hosts offer preconfigured installation packages, such as the platform Tiki, which belongs to IONOS’s Click&Build applications; both of these options can be conveniently set up with one click. The only problem is that wikis can be vulnerable to spam, particularly if they follow Wikipedia’s example in allowing editing permission to all internet users, which can lead to trouble with the provider.

Configuring your wiki

Once you’ve already made your own wiki, you can start to adjust it to your preferences. Some options, such as the custom Skins and CSS coding, allow users to change the layout and appearance, for example by adding a suitable logo. If you’re happy with the display, you can start to focus on the required structure of your knowledge base. Depending on the wiki software you’ve selected, you will have some or all of the following configuration options:

  • Define access rights: create the required user profiles and determine their levels of access rights (i.e. administrators and authors). This is how you retain control and protect your wiki from unwanted attacks, regardless whether it’s an internal or public wiki.
  • Creating categories: by creating category pages and subpages (if needed), you can organise related themes and make your wiki more manageable. It’s also recommended to have other organisational features such as a homepage with a general introduction as well as an FAQ page.
  • Configure templates: templates can be uploaded to other existing pages, enabling users to select and share comments on articles and passages.

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