Wiki Patterns

Patterns for successful wiki use

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Corporate Directory


Every company has a corporate directory, but the medium differs - photocopies, spreadsheets, LDAP, desk phones.

Keeping these directories up-to-date can be difficult, especially when they are centrally managed.

Maintaining a Corporate Directory on a wiki, however, lets everybody update their own information as soon as it changes.


Since wiki pages are not bound by the dimensions of a printed page, they can contain a rich variety of information, such as:

  • Picture - a tremendous help as your company grows
  • Name (first name, initials, last name, title) - components kept separate for sorting purposes, but combined for display purposes
  • Department - try to limit the naming of departments to make sorting more consistent
  • Role
  • Location - such as city, office, floor
  • Phone - internal, external, mobile, home
  • E-mail address - although this might be better maintained in your e-mail or LDAP system to ensure consistency
  • Manager - start building your corporate hierarchy in the wiki
  • Link to wiki personal space - personal spaces on a wiki provide great ways for staff to share information about themselves, with each space acting like its own independent wiki
  • Link to personal blog - an example of pointing to information not kept in a traditional corporate wiki

Benefits of using a wiki for a corporate directory

  • Staff can instantly update their own information
  • Staff can update information about other staff (Don't worry about vandalism - usage is tracked)
  • Avoid the need for a single person/department having to update the information, causing an efficiency bottleneck
  • Pictures help staff recognise other staff members, which is particularly useful for new starters
  • The directory is always up-to-date and does not need to be disseminated (compare that to distributing spreadsheets every couple of weeks!)

Presentation Format

Basic: A basic table is sufficient for the task. The web browser's Search function will let users find information quicker than a 'round trip' query (unless your directory is huge).

Better: Some wikis also allow sorting of table columns without having to refresh the page.

Best: Some form of programmed directory can be even better, which can give better interactivity to end users.


  • Magnet - putting a directory of information about the people in your organization can set a wiki on the path to becoming a magnet for a group's most critically important and often accessed information.

Further Reading

  • MIT's Simile Project - Create interactive data-rich web pages without ever touching a database or a web server, or doing any programming
corporate_directory.txt · Last modified: 2018/11/28 13:53 by splitbrain