Tools for User Services
A digital library that has good user service tools allow users to communicate freely and easily with site developers and each other. Users can use these tools to learn how a system works, get tips on the most effective search strategies, or figure out how to resolve software or hardware issues.
Wiki Creation Software
Sourceforge.net describes FlexWiki as “a collaborative web-based authoring environment implemented on the Microsoft .NET platform.” It is used for creating “Wikis”―Web pages that are usually devoted to a specific topic with content that can be edited and added to by any number of users. In 2004, Microsoft released the code for the software to be freely shared under IBM's Common Public License.
According to the project's Wikipedia entry, “FlexWiki uses .NET technology and has an integrated, scripting language called WikiTalk. WikiTalk is based on the Smalltalk programming language (hence its name). It is a simple object oriented language that allows users to add dynamic behaviors to their topics.” It can use either a textual storage system or content can be stored in an SQL Server database. An article on CNet News published when the code was released in 2004 said that Microsoft had previously used FlexWiki internally to create parts of its Channel 9 site for developers.
Wikimedia said that MediaWiki code powers thousands of wikis and all Wikimedia projects such as Wikipedia. It is open source code written in PHP that stores information using MySQL or Postgres deatabases. The MediaWiki source code utilizes other open source tools such as the Subversion version control system and the Bugzilla bug tracking system.
In a page explaining MediaWiki at the project's home page called “How does MediaWiki work?”, it is described (2008) as “free server-based software which is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL). It's designed to be run on a large server farm for a website that gets millions of hits per day.” It also describes MediaWiki as powerful, scalable software that uses PHP to process and display data stored in its MySQL database. The software is useful because users who are not familiar with HTML or CSS can easily add to and edit information on pages on the site. It also keeps track of changes and edits made to a page, can manage image and media files, and supports caching (“How does MediaWiki work?, 2008).
Usage: Many examples of information resources in multiple languages that utilize MediaWiki are listed at Sites Using MediaWiki at the project's home page. Several examples of digital libraries listed at the site that are using MediaWiki are:
Appropedia - appropedia.org
Library of appropriate technology, with textbook style topics and how-to style projects.
International Music Score Library Project - www.imslp.org
A virtual library containing public domain musical scores, as well as scores from composers who are willing to share their music without charge.
MTG Archive - mtgarchive.net
A library of information related to the Magic: The Gathering collectible card game
NSDL - wiki.nsdl.org
National Science Digital Library
Ogre3D - http://www.ogre3d.org/wiki/
Free open source 3D graphics engine library.
Open Babel - openbabel.sourceforge.net
Open source chemistry library
Open Clip Art Library Wiki - http://www.openclipart.org/wiki
Wiki for the Open Clip Art Library Project
Reference: How does MediaWiki work?. (2008, December 21). MediaWiki, The Free Wiki Engine. Retrieved 21:13, May 9, 2009 from http://www.mediawiki.org/w/index.php?title=How_does_MediaWiki_work%3F&oldid=228782.
Wiki is an advanced wiki software package that may be used to build a wiki system of web pages that may be easily edited in a common web browser. Some of the advanced features of Xwiki as listed on the projects web site are:
• Structured content and inline scripting allowing for the creation of wiki applications
• User rights management that allows for controlling theviewing, editing and deletion of documents in a flexible manner. Rights may be applied to a document, a space or an entire wiki.
• Customizable skins and templates
• PDF, RTF, XML, or HTML export
• Full-text searching
• The ability to attach files
• Version control which allows for viewing of any previous version of a page within the wiki
• Importing of Office documents using OpenOffice
• The use of a variety of protocols to access the wiki, including WebDAV, REST, XmlRpc, and GWT
• Content and site design export and import
According to the XWiki entry on Wikipedia, Xwiki utilizes several other open-source projects including:
XWiki is distributed under the GNU Lesser General Public License.
Usage: One interesting example of how XWiki is being utilized is by I2GEO, a website that collects interactive geometry web resources in one central, exchangeable format.
A list of other projects utilizing XWiki is available on Xwiki's Projects Powered by Xwiki page.
FAQ Creation Software
FAQ Generator (http://www.expinion.net/software/app_faqgenerator.asp)
This application helps site managers to quickly develop a long or short list of frequently asked questions. The system is completely customizable and very easy to use. The FAQ Generator does not require any DLL or Active X to install. The application helps site managers to quickly develop a long or short list of frequently asked questions. It features a very easy, yet powerful, online administration. Also includes dynamic navigation for the public. The system also include features such as:
- Secure Online Administration
- List/Edit/Delete Categories
- List/Edit/Delete FAQs
- Unlimited FAQs Categories
- Activate/Deactivate individual FAQ
- Set FAQ listing order
- View FAQ summary
- Easily Sort Listed Items
phpMyFAQ 2.x (http://www.phpmyfaq.de/ )
phpMyFAQ 2.x is an entirely database-driven FAQ-system that supports multiple languages. It also features a multi-language Content Management System (CMS). Features of this CMS include a WYSIWYG editing interface, an image manager, group-based permissions, and flexible multi-user support. It also uses a "wiki-like" system for tracking content revisions. phpMyFAQ 2.x offers the following list of features, according to the project's web site:
• support for a variety of database systems, including including MySQL (libmysql and mysqlnd), PostgreSQL, SQLite, Sybase, MS SQL Server, IBM DB2, IBM Cloudscape, Apache Derby, Oracle, Interbase, and Firebird.
• the ability to administrate users, groups, news, categories, FAQ records, comments, and glossary items in the password protected admin area.
• the ability to administer user and group based permissions
• the ability to track system revisions and return to prior FAQ versions
• the ability for users to write questions to the system that can be answered by other users
• statistical analysis and user behavior tracking
• easy backup and restoration
• support for customized templates
• powerful search features including the Instant Response frontend which allows users to find questions and answers while they are typing
• user comments
• an easy to use WSYIWYG HTML editor
• multilanguage support
• advanced spam protection
Usage: An example of phpMyFAQ being utilized in the real-world is The University of Toronto's Information Commons FAQ/Help page.