MediaWiki on the Stanford Web Service
MediaWiki is a free software wiki package for collaborative document creation and information sharing. IT Services provides easy-to-install, centrally supported MediaWiki instances, at no charge, to Stanford departments and officially-recognized groups that wish to set up dedicated wikis in www.stanford.edu web space for their collaboration and documentation needs.
Features and Benefits
MediaWiki is one of the world’s most widely adopted wiki engines, best known as the software that drives Wikipedia. As defined by Wikipedia, “A wiki is a collection of Web pages designed to enable anyone with access to contribute or modify content [directly from within a web browser], using a simplified markup language.” When implemented on the Stanford Web Service by way of the Stanford Collaboration Tools Installer, MediaWiki provides the following added benefits:
- Easy installation via a web-based form.
Install as many as 20 separate MediaWiki wikis in your organization’s AFS web space, depending on the number of other web applications installed there. (Each MediaWiki installation automatically creates one MySQL database and organizations are allowed up to a total of 20 databases.)
- Database backups, application maintenance/upgrades, and up-to-date Stanford look-and-feel are provided by IT Services.
- An optional WebAuth extension allows users to login with their SUNetIDs and have a user account for that wiki set up under their name automatically (via LDAP integration). User account management can also be performed “manually” via MediaWiki’s built-in administration features.
- See WikiMatrix.org feature list for MediaWiki.
- See MikiMatrix.org comparison of MediaWiki and some other wiki engines in use at Stanford.
Compare: Centrally Installed vs. D-I-Y
Initializing a MediaWiki wiki with the Collaboration Tools Installer requires a few minutes of filling out a web-based form as opposed to a do-it-yourself install (configured properly for the Stanford environment) which requires over 25 steps, command-line expertise, and takes more than 20 minutes.
Centrally installed MediaWiki wikis start with a “Stanford Modern” skin that matches the University’s current look-and-feel for official department web sites. Do-it-yourselfers are welcome to install the skins that IT Services maintains and distributes, but the installation and updates will always be D-I-Y.
For centrally installed wikis, IT Services keeps the MediaWiki software working and up-to-date. With independently-installed MediaWiki instances, the wiki owner is responsible for maintenance and upgrades of their particular MediaWiki instance.
Does it cost anything?
There is no charge for installing and running an instance of MediaWiki on the Stanford Web Service.
Support is available on all MediaWiki topics from the members of the MediaWiki-users email list (see below) and also via HelpSU for issues involving the proper function of MediaWiki application instances installed via the Collaboration Tools Installer — and the installer itself. IT Services does not provide HelpSU support or comprehensive documentation on how to use the applications (however, training courses are already available from IT Services and other providers on MediaWiki).
Note: Because MediaWiki is a popular application that has been in use at Stanford for several years, there is community support available for the pieces not provided by IT Services.
If you belong to the “-admin” group for your department’s or group’s AFS directory, you can use the Collaboration Tools Installer to install MediaWiki:
To request membership in an “-admin” group, submit a HelpSU request.
Details about the requirements and default configuration of the centrally installed MediaWiki service are available on the University Web Services Wiki: MediaWiki Service Details page.