For a long time, my department has used MediaWiki to collaboratively create and distribute documentation, how-tos, and other types of written support for the campus. While MediaWiki and other wiki software packages in general make collaboration easy, they often fall short in ways that are a little surprising given that we’re in 2013. (Anyone who has tried to apply formatting to a MediaWiki page, including any of the articles on Wikipedia, knows what I’m talking about here.)
In an effort to modernize our documentation practices, my colleague Tim and I (but mostly Tim) spent some time looking for alternatives a couple of weeks ago. A tip from fellow LLU author Trip Kirkpatrick steered us towards using GitHub, a platform designed and for collaborative programming, but also capable of lots of other cool stuff like hosting a blog. Although we didn’t end up using any of the flashy tools we originally investigated (see Tim’s blog post on this for a great writeup on all the things we tried), we did end up with another wiki — DokuWiki — that can use GitHub to store its text files. DokuWiki isn’t a perfect solution, but it’s definitely an interesting one.
On this week’s LLU Live, I’d like to talk a little bit about collaborative writing tools. What are some of the tools we find ourselves using, not just for documentation but for any kind of collaborative writing: group projects, articles with multiple authors, etc? Have you stumbled across tools that weren’t specifically created for collaborative writing, but that you have found work really well? Join us tomorrow, Thursday December 12th, at 4pm Eastern as we celebrate our 10th episode of LLU Live. Instructions for participating (or just watching along) are on the Live Events page.
UPDATE: Here’s the recording from our conversation: