Wikis in Enterprises Survey from the University of Cologne

A post by Luis Suarez at his elsua blog on Wikis in Enterprises led me to the English version of a survey being conducted by the University of Cologne. The survey looks at ‘Collaborative Working in Enterprise Environments Using Wikis’. I was checking out Luis’ blog as part of our weekly LinkedIn Bloggers boost project.

A ‘wiki’ is defined by (you guessed it) Wikipedia as ‘a collaborative web application which allows users to edit content’.

If you take the University of Cologne survey – 5-10 minutes at most – you are on a promise to receive the results of the survey. I took the survey and it was very straightforward.

A new online professional group I’ve joined, which is concerned with cultural/creativity/training issues, has a wiki, which it was hoped would help with collaboration and idea-sharing. It’s all proved too difficult and it looks as if we are going with a solution that is more in the way of a portal with blogging functionality. But no doubt there are wikis being used effectively in organisations/enterprises.

The main exposure I’ve had to wikis is with Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, which I use regularly for research and reference. And in fact the survey about wikis led me to doing a bit of Wikipedia-enabled research.

Noticing that the survey was being conducted by the University of Cologne, I was prompted to try and recall a verse about one of my intellectual heroes, the great medieval philosopher and theologian John Duns Scotus, a verse which included reference to Cologne. Happily, I found it in the Wikipedia entry on him:  “Scotia me genuit. Anglia me suscepit. Gallia me docuit. Colonia me tenet.” (“Scotland brought me forth. England sustained me. France taught me. Cologne holds me.”)

And that reminded me that years ago, on a visit Cologne I had found, quite by chance and to my great delight, John Duns Scotus’ tomb in the Church of the Minorites (Franciscans). And that memory now sent me to burrowing in a box of old photographs and postcards. There was the picture, and in it the verse, where I had read it at the foot of the sarcophagus all those years ago.

So while I’m not sure yet about wikis in the enterprise, I have no need to be convinced of the value of Wikipedia for my research, whether in being able to quickly get an explanation of some technical term related to the online environment, or to discover such arcania as the fact that when Scotus came to Cologne the University had not yet been founded. According to Wikipedia, the ancient university was established in 1388, fifty years after Scotus’s death. But it is surely not too fanciful to conjecture that this intellectual giant of his day found in Cologne, pre-university, a stimulating environment for his questing and subtle mind.


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About Des Walsh

I show business owners and other professionals how to navigate the social media maze and use LinkedIn effectively. I'm an author, speaker, business coach, social media strategist and LinkedIn specialist. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Google Plus and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get my weekly Social Business Bites.


  1. Wikipedistik says:

    “Wikis in Enterprises” – Finish of the international survey

    Number of survey participants (click image)
    In June I started an English version of my online survey about the use of Wikis in Enterprises. Until now 212 people participated in the German survey, and 69 people took the English survey (of this 69 partic…

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi Des! Great blog post ! Thanks a bunch for the blog boost ! 🙂

    I thoroughly enjoyed the post actually, not only from the perspective of helping spread the word around about the survey in wikis but because of the great example you have shared with us all on how you can get to use Wikipedia as part of a reference or research task. I doubt there is a better resource out there at the moment, other than Wikipedia itself. At least, for the purpose of examples like you have detailed above. Fantastic !

    It is cases like that that come to explain further how wikis could be used in an corporate environment in such a way that for it to be beneficial you would first need to build up a critical amount of meaningful data that people would find interesting and engaging enough. Then from there you can certainly help build up further from there. For instance, the example you provided about the facilitation of a wiki for a project you are working on and not getting much success about it I think that could be due because you may not have yet enough critical mass, of both people and wiki pages, to let it be self-sufficient, but also that perhaps you may be using a wiki engine that may not be as straight forward as you would expect. Right now there are a number of good examples of wikis making use of WYSIWYG editors and perhaps if you are not using one of those you may want to have a look into some other options and see how you would go with them. They are great at helping get the message across to people that participating in a wiki is pretty much like sending an e-mail or writing a document.

    Anyway, thanks again for the plug and appreciated the lovely post!