Corporate Archives & wikis

For a recent class assignment I queried several corporate archivists by email on their use of wikis.  While not everyone I contacted responded, those who did were mixed in their opinions.  One archivist who did not wish to be quoted vehemently opposed the whole wiki philosophy.  Another talked with me at great length about the potential for wikis as collaborative teaching tools in the corporate setting & global economies.  Most said the energy is more in social media like Facebook and Twitter.

Since writing on the subject is virtually nonexistent, I’m sharing below the responses from archivists who agreed to be quoted.

Philip Mooney, Archivist & Historian, The Coca Cola Company: The quick answer is that we have used wikis with our blog Coca-Cola Conversations. Not extensively and not with a lot of response from our readers. We produced a calendar and some recipes using Coca-Cola in that space.

Stacia Fink, Archivist/Conservator, Levi Strauss & Co.: I don’t personally use wikis in my work in the Archives, so I am not able to respond to your questions with any authority on the subject.

There may be others within the company, particularly in IT and, perhaps, the brands, who do make use of wikis; however, I don’t believe wiki use is extensive here.

Ed Rider, P&G Corporate Archives: Procter & Gamble Corporate Archives has not used wikis internally or publicly.   There are many wikis inside P&G – mostly project related where teams share information, but we do not have a corporate wiki that I’m aware of.

External communications are focused on blogs, Facebook and Twitter these days.   Corporate communications people use these three methods to engage consumers with P&G.  Additionally, each of our brands has its own social media site. We have supplied historical information to the managers of the corporate social media sites to use, but have not posted directly ourselves.

The biggest issue for archives with all of this social media is what to capture and what not to capture.    A wiki at least as I have experienced at P&G might contain some good information but it is very difficult to capture all of the material in a way that works for future reference.

As for the other social media the same thing applies.   Should we and can we capture all of the Facebook postings on the P&G site?  We are still wrestling with that but most corporate archives I know such as ours are still struggling with the capture of just the direct websites like pg.com.   Moving on to social media capture is still in the talking stages. 

Jackie Rider

About Jackie Rider

I am copyright project archivist for the Sigmund Freud Papers at the Library of Congress.  I have master's degrees in library & information science from Long Island University, archives & public history from New York University, and theology from Union Theological Seminary. I have been a freelance writer and photographer for faith-based organizations in New York and Washington, D.C.  Before that I worked in university public affairs in D.C.
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