Friday, 10 October 2008

The Launch of WikiVet

Yesterday saw the launch of the WikiVet project ( at an event in Newcastle University. This is a joint initiative between four UK veterinary schools with funding from the Higher Education Academy and JISC. It is based on the development of a veterinary version of Wikipedia. However it has a number of features which distinguish if from it's big brother:

  • all the content has been written by veterinary students and graduates from the particpating vet schools
  • the content is peer reviewed by recent veterinary graduates and subject specialists in each vet school
  • access to the wiki is restricted to registered users who are either students or recognised veterinary graduates
These features mean that WikiVet has the advantage of having some level of Quality Assurance - something which reassures academics who dislike students using Wikipedia as a reference source. It also means that the content has a specifi veterinary and education focus which is much more relevant for veterinary students than a simple search of Wikipedi which will mainly throw up medical references.

WikiVet has been in genesis for the past 12 months prior to the launch. It already covers sections such as Anatomy and Physiology, Pathology, Immunology and Bacteriology totalling over 1,000 pages of text and many thousands of images. The wiki has been developed around a series of subject areas each with their own content map (CMAP) - the map not only helps to determine the structure of the wiki but also provides a clickable navigation system.

The site has a few unique features. Fo example the student authors have developed a simple Flash card system which involves mousing over white text to make it visible - simple but highly effective. There are also various signposting systems to resources developed by the different vet schools such as Computer Aided Learning, Digital Videos and Powerpoints. Finally registered users can a simple Zeemap to see who else around the world is using the site and add their own pin to a Google map.

You see a one hour Elluminate recording of the launch here - this includes presentations by some of the principle developers and students involved in the project.

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