So What’s a “Wiki”?

Yellow pages rochester ny

What’s a “wiki”, you wonder?

Residents of the Flower City know about the Rochester Wiki, and residents of the entire world know about Wikipedia, but the term that unites them is oftentimes misunderstood. Common rumor has it that “Wiki” is an acronym for “What I Know Is…” While catchy, this is not the origin of the word, and is probably more accurately described as a “backronym”, where an acronym is figured out after a word has come into popular use (similar to how the initialism “RSS” used to stand for “Rich Site Summary” but now is commonly taken to stand for “Really Simple Syndication”).

The term “wiki” actually comes from the Hawaiian word wiki-wiki, which means “fast” or “quick”. The concept of an open, user-updated database of information was first developed, implemented, and named back in the mid-90s by Ward Cunningham, who described the system as “… the simplest online database that could possibly work.” Since then, WikiWikiWeb has since morphed into Wikipedia, and has become the largest user-updated database for information on planet Earth.

While Wikipedia deals with just about everything under the sun, the Rochester Wiki deals with everything in our fair city. It serves as a sort of Rochester Yellow Pages for local businesses, restaurants, and services, as well as a convenient portal for Rochester NY local news. You can find information on music events, art gallery exhibits, and historical sites, as well as forums for discussions of every topic of interest to your fellow Rochestefarians. Looking for River Campus news? You can find user-updated links and info on everything from Rochester college athletics to the University of Rochester address itself, all on the Rochester Wiki page.

The best part about the Rochester Wiki? If you can’t find it, you can add it yourself. That’s what makes Wikis such powerful tools for communities, special interests, and the world at large.