Wikis are a tricky subject for me. Libraries are striving to keep up their reputation as places of authoritative information, and I don’t think that adding a service the likes of Wikipedia would do anything to improve that reputation. We need to make sure that all the information associated with or coming from the library is accurate and verified. A reputation for reliable information is one of the only things the library has over all the other information providers today. While we have seen some good examples of very successful wikis, I believe that the library needs to have control over what information it recommends to its trusting patrons. Thus, I don’t think that an informational wiki sponsored by the library and edited by the public has a place in libraries.
However, wikis are a great tool when the editing is limited to a specific group of people. It allows anyone to edit the web pages without any coding knowledge. This capability is especially useful if the wiki is used to create the library’s website; librarians no longer need to wait for a technician to update the site because they can do it themselves. Wikis seem to be successfully used for subject guides, personal projects, and employee intranets. Of especial use is the discussion feature of wikis, which allow patrons to suggest additions to the page that librarians can then evaluate and add if appropriate. This is an ideal way to incorporate the interactive and collaborative information aspects of a wiki while allowing librarians to vet the information before recommending it.
As for Wikipedia and the library’s place in this environment, I think that the University of Washington Libraries Digital Initiative has found the best way to integrate library services in community information. I found their project to insert links to valuable library sources in pertinent Wikipedia articles a wonderful and innovative way to bring library services to the public without purporting the information on the article as accurate or library-supported.