The number of people using the WhatisKT wiki has steadily increased from 2008 to 2011, with average monthly visits increasing over 500% during this period. Similarly, the average number of monthly page views has increased by a factor of six, from 297 in 2008 to 1,948 in 2011. These numbers show the interest in static KT terminology information. The international nature of the visitors is notable. Overall, most visitors are from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia – probably because of the vibrant KT research and activity in those regions. Considerable and increasing interest is shown in the field from such countries as India and China, which are not traditionally considered centres of KT activity. This suggests that KT research and development is likely poised for global growth. Growth in interest is also shown by the fact that most people come to the wiki through Google. Our definitions pages appear near the top of Google search results lists, indicating that a number of other sites have created links to the wiki, thus signaling interest in KT terminology.
Our results related to collaboration and dialogue were discouraging. WhatisKT wiki members who were not part of the project development have not edited content or interacted with each other. This lack of editing and commenting could be because of such factors as perceived difficulty in editing and lack of specific guidance for the visitors on how best to contribute. The relative lack of participation (i.e., active editing) by the visitors is consistent with other web 2.0 applications: Contributors are only a very small portion of the total number of people who access the services for information . According to Wikimedia's estimates, the larger Wikipedias (e.g., English, German, French) have 0.02% to 0.03% of visitors actively contributing to content [28, 29]. In general, authorship attribution related to wikis is important to only some contributors.
The WhatisKT wiki experience affords the following lessons for collaborative platforms: user registration is a barrier; user behavior can be observed but not explained by analysis of log tiles; and spurring collaboration using a platform such as a wiki requires further study and innovation. Registering as a member and editing or commenting within a wiki are more difficult than contributing to social media or commenting in an open forum. The exact nature and objectives of most of the visitors to the WhatisKT wiki are not yet known, but will be assessed in a 2013 survey of our members and users. These factors need to be ascertained to devise better strategies to foster collaboration using an online forum such as a wiki.
The average number of page views, time spent on site per visitor, and proportion of people who visited only one page can provide information about the online behavior of visitors to a website but not necessarily why they visited or the effects of their visits. The average number of pages viewed by the visitors to the wiki has remained between one and two throughout the period of study. We did see an increase in the amount of time spent on the whole site and per page viewed. Combined with a high proportion of people who only visited one page (bounce rate) of above 90% and approximately 40 seconds per visit to the site, this likely indicates that most of the users visit the wiki for information regarding a specific term and leave thereafter. The increase in the proportion of pages viewed for the terms with a proposed definition could show evidence of strong interest in improving our use of KT terms. An alternative explanation is that the increased use is based on the added presence of a link from the home page to these suggestions for definitions. Further study is needed to determine which explanation is warranted — both may be contributing to the very real increase in viewing.
We are planning a survey study to assess if visitors find the information useful. We hope that the wiki design and content would promote cross navigation between pages, but we do not see evidence of the wiki being used in such a way. Improving navigation between pages may increase the average time per visit. We are also finding new terms to add to the wiki over time and still believe that a better understanding of how we use KT terms is needed. New interactive websites are available that offer easier commenting and contributing facilities. We may need to modify our wiki, change our approach to encouraging contribution, or move it to another platform if more user participation is to be assured. Interactive websites have the advantage of ease of use, but they lack the meticulous versioning functionality of a wiki. Wikis were originally designed to be used ‘as a moderated list where anyone can be moderator and everything is archived’ . Therefore, both versioning history and ease of use need to be considered in developing and maintaining collaborative knowledge platforms.
We are also planning to add content in relation to KT interventions — a list of interventions and the results of an international meeting to propose a simple framework for classifying KT interventions. This face-to-face meeting in Ottawa, sponsored by KT Canada on September 20–21, 2012, used the wiki as part of the planning. The meeting was designed to ‘strengthen KT interventions, and hence patient and population health, by clarifying terminology with the goal of improving evidence searching and synthesis, communication between research groups, disciplines, and countries and increasing the profile of KT in scientific and other arenas.’ Groups and individuals from many countries were invited. We plan to publish our recommendations and next steps. In addition, we will invite others to join our project through traditional publications, emails, and personal contact. The project will also include expansion and enhancement of the WhatisKT wiki to be more of a working tool for collaboration.
The outcome of using a wiki can be a ‘function of both the features of technology and whether and how that technology is appropriated by groups that use it; neither can be divorced from the other’ . The 'wiki way' philosophy of sharing knowledge, inviting critique, presenting multiple points of view and actively endeavoring to influence and change others’ opinions must fit the culture of the group . We need to use our own KT knowledge to move WhatisKT into being a useful and used product. One way to increase participation may be to organize a formal link between the members, after which joint research and collaborative consultations can be facilitated. In fact, face-to-face group cohesion has been reported to make wikis work well [15, 20]. Multiple techniques are needed for successful collaboration groups, and we can learn from the work of others .Absence of a clear-cut social structure and incentive to collaborate have been suggested as possible reasons for a lack of engagement in collaborative technologies [30, 31].
The ranking data showing which terms are accessed most often can be useful to determine where interest or confusion occurs in the domain. For example, because research utilization was the most often viewed term by a considerable margin, this might be a more acceptable umbrella term for cross discipline use.
We have shown increases in the number of non-interactive visits and the global spread of WhatisKT; we now need to harness KT knowledge and move to other methods of collaboration on KT terminology.