Creating an Enterprise Wiki
Creating an Enterprise Wiki
One of the site templates that's only available if you have SharePoint Server is called an enterprise wiki. Now, it can only be created as the top -level site in a new site collection. So, I'm in the Central Administration here and I'm going to create it. You may not have access to Central Administration, but I want to show you what the process would be. Simply, give it a name and a URL, select the Enterprise Wiki template, name a site collection administrator, and Create. Now, one of the reasons that it can only be created as the top-level site in a new site collection is that this thing could grow pretty large if people start to use it.
By creating it as its own site collection, we get a lot more freedom about scaling it. It could be even given its own database if we wanted. The other reason for it is if you're creating an enterprise-wide Wikipedia for your own knowledge base for your organization, that really shouldn't be as a sub-site of a document workspace three levels down somewhere. So, I have that now created. It's at ldcsharepoint.com/site/wiki, and this is what it looks like right out of the box. We essentially really have two pages to it, one that just has this kind of welcome homepage, and then there is an About this wiki page.
Both of them look fairly similar. The idea of a wiki page is that it's very easily editable. You don't have to have special skills, and really you don't even want to pay that much attention to editing it. So, notice how this About, this wiki page, says you can replace this text with your own, and use this page to describe the wiki. Well, let's go ahead and do it. I'm going to click the obvious link that says Edit this page. It drops into Edit Mode. So, I could do something along the lines of Welcome to the Two Trees Wiki.
I'll put some department names here. I'll just make them into bullet points. Sales, marketing, and information about our projects. Now, you might be looking at this and be totally underwhelmed, and I wouldn't blame you. But the idea is that we want to build this out into a knowledge base very casually, and this is the easy part of it. What we're going to do is we're going to turn all these entries, like Operations, Sales, Marketing, from plain text into other webpages. The way that we do this is very simple.
You just surround them with two square brackets. So, by doing this, I'm actually saying I want to make these two, and I'll just do two of them here, into pages. So, I'm just going to surround two of them, so we'll see what the difference is. So, that's two opening square brackets, two closing square brackets, and I'm going to hit Save & Close. Notice how those links now appear as clickable with the dotted underline. In fact, I'm going to click on the Operations one to see what's there. Well, right now, nothing.
But what this enterprise wiki is doing is saying hey! You made a link, and that link doesn't go anywhere. So, do you want to create that page? I'm going to say yes, I do. Hit Create, and here's where we have information about the Operations team. I could even fill that out a little bit later, save and close that, back to the About this wiki entry, and I could do the following for Sales. Sales doesn't exist, do you want to create it? Sure! From this point, start to add new content. Here's more info.
If I wanted to, I could put some phrase like "Sales works closely with the Operations team." But if I think about it, that should be a link. So, what I'm going to do is instead of just surrounding it by the square brackets, I'm going to just put them in, in the body of my text. I'll hit my two square brackets, and you notice how it's done this pop-up, telling me the pages that actually exist. Oh! Operations exists, there we go, hit that, and save and close.
Now, notice that now the Operations link shows up without the dotted underline, meaning the page actually exists here. So, very simple, but we could very quickly start to break these out into different pages, and pages about our projects. Maybe I don't have time to fill out all the gaps right now, but by leaving some of these as clickable links, I'm hoping that someone else can come along and just start to build out this wiki. You find a couple of other common controls,. All pages have a Page Rating that we can start to rate them.
If you want to start changing the navigation, well, you can. This is a regular SharePoint site. We can see from the Site Actions page. It's made of lists and libraries. It's got its own Site Settings with a Navigation link. Here's where, if you wanted to, you could manually add some entries. Now, although, most wiki pages are intended to be fairly simple, because you're using SharePoint's rich entry Ribbon, we can do things like inserting pictures, and inserting video, and audio, and links, that kind of thing.
But the idea with a wiki page is it's just very simple to edit, very simple to use. In fact, there I'm going to save and close that, because I don't need to edit that one right now. Now, what happens if there is a problem? What happens if, for example, either accidentally or even maliciously, somebody deletes a whole chunk of content, and then saves that? Well, not a problem. We're using the whole versioning idea that's built in to SharePoint. If I come to this page and I think there's been a problem, even if I don't know for sure, I can switch to the Page section of my Ribbon and go to Page History.
That will actually show me the different versions down the left-hand side where I can go from the Version 1.0, what was actually there, 2.0, what was deleted, what was added, 3.0, and 4.0. In fact, if I look at the difference between 3.0 and 4.0, it looks like 3.0 is the one that I want. So, I can select 3.0. Say restore this version, and then there we go! That's showing the full history there of the versions. I'm going to just go back to About this wiki and we're back to where we were before.
So, very easy to edit, very easy to take care of, very easy to maintain. Again, this is not intended to be a site for three or four people who want to work together. That's a team site. This is really intended to be pretty large-scale. It doesn't have to be. But the power of any wiki is vastly increased by the amount of people who can contribute to it, so it's certainly something that you want to bear in mind when creating an enterprise wiki. That a little bit of education about how to create pages goes a long, long way.
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