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Enabling Knowledge Workers to Collaboratively Add Structure to Enterprise Wikis

Varied fields of application, fast access to often needed information, easy collaboration capabilities and low maintenance costs make wikis very attractive for enterprises. For these reasons in many companies wikis have already been firmly established as tools for collaboration and knowledge exchange. Since most of the content in wikis is completely unstructured (plain hypertext, links, etc.) it is difficult for programs to process the information on the particular wiki pages. Therefore individual pages can only be found by means of a full-text search engine, but searching for particular pages with specific attributes and attribute values is not possible. In this paper we present Hybrid Wikis, a lightweight approach for structuring content and management of information structures in enterprise wikis. Hybrid Wikis are realized based on the commercial Enterprise 2.0 software Tricia and supported by our experiences made with classical wikis, semantic wikis and integrated Enterprise 2.0 platforms used for knowledge and information management in enterprises. Inspired by these web technologies Hybrid Wikis extend the wiki provided by Tricia with a few mechanisms for classification, linking, consistency checking, and visualization of wiki pages, which can be combined flexibly. We explain how these mechanisms facilitate the structuring of content in enterprise wikis and how both can benefit from it, knowledge workers and enterprises. Hybrid Wikis create incentives for users to apply structure by giving suggestions of frequently used structured elements, provide lightweight web-interfaces which enable users to manage the structured elements directly as part of the page content, and help to avoid information redundancies by offering structured searches as well as autocompletion mechanisms for structured elements. Furthermore we show how Hybrid Wikis enable knowledge workers to manage and integrate structured and unstructured information uniform across the enterprise, which is one of the key challenges knowledge management systems are faced with.