On the surface, you may think that a knowledge base and a wiki are the same thing. Both of them provide a central place for storing and sharing information for users to access. But if you dig a little deeper, there are some subtle yet significant differences.
The main disparity is that wikis are primarily a collaborative tool, where everyone can view and contribute to the information within it. This differs from a knowledge base, which is viewed solely as a place for storing and accessing information, which would have been created by dedicated resources.
What is a wiki?
If you think about the most famous wiki of them all, Wikipedia, the articles within are created, edited, and collaborated by people from all over the world. So if a reader of a wiki article were to disagree with the content, or feel that they could do a better job, they can simply edit the article there and then, for instant results. Indeed, the word “wiki” actually originates from Hawaiian, meaning “very quick”; so we can see why wikis are viewed as immediate sources of information.
However, whilst wikis may be a fantastic instrument for collaboration, this does present some issues in terms of accuracy and quality control. In other words, anyone can write whatever they want! With a vast number of contributors and limited moderation, content could be inaccurate and styling inconsistent. It’s important, especially in a corporate environment, that information available to team members is legitimate, and that it enables the sharing of information to be streamlined and more efficient.
What is a knowledge base?
This is where a knowledge base really shines; with specifically appointed resources, articles are written with clarity and proficiency. In terms of our dedicated eponymous intranet knowledge base application, users are assigned to categories that best suit their field of expertise, meaning that articles are only written by those who are best-informed. Having these “category experts” ensures that the material that users are accessing is accurate, and that they have a go-to resource for specific categories, and thus improving the sharing of information.
Not only does our Knowledge Base module feature extended functionality of a traditional wiki, including category experts and customisable permissions, it is still incredibly quick and easy to generate content. All articles are created in-browser using an embedded WYSIWYG editor, and it’s not necessary to have previous knowledge of HTML or use the limited functionality of BBcode. Content is created instantaneously, where a vast array of media and styling can be embedded and implemented at the click of a button.
Another differentiating feature of our Knowledge Base module is the whole aspect of being able to ask and answer questions. Users can post questions on a Knowledge Base article, and category experts can answer them. This promotes the idea that a knowledge base is a tool for sharing information; users have the opportunity to expand their knowledge, and category experts have the opportunity to share it.