Installing and Customizing MediaWiki
Wikipedia has generated a number of headlines over the last few months, and its future as a reliable, neutral, volunteer effort remains to be determined. But Wikipedia has demonstrated the power that a wiki can bring to an organization looking to collect information from a wide variety of participants. If your organization would benefit from a centralized repository created in a decentralized manner, a wiki might just fit the bill.
And, although MediaWiki is far from the only available package, it is highly polished, reliable and easy for both administrators and users. Producing new dynamic pages, known as special pages in the MediaWiki world, requires a fair amount of knowledge of the underlying system. But, getting started is not that difficult, and it is possible (and desirable) to take advantage of the tremendous infrastructure that MediaWiki brings to the table.
Reuven M. Lerner, a longtime Web/database consultant, is currently a PhD student in Learning Sciences at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He and his wife recently celebrated the birth of their son Amotz David.