Chris Tankersley

MediaWiki as a Computer Logbook

Posted on 2007-05-24

At work, we suffer from the inevitable communications problem of "Did X get done last night?" or "When did Bob do such-and-such?" This isn't something that is any single person's fault, especially when the group of people you work with is small. I've done it, my coworkers have done it. With 40 PCs and around 10 servers, it can easily become a nightmare trying to keep track of what you have done. Paper logbooks become a bear as you have to physically keep track of them at all times.I don't remember where I read the idea, but at some point I read about using a wiki as a way to keep a computer logbook. It's easily accessible from any PC on the network, has partial-WYSIWYG editing, and keeps a record of who edited what page and when. I brought the idea up to my supervisor and he gave it a go.

I downloaded and installed MediaWiki, the same software that powers We've been using it for the last couple of months, and it has turned out to be a good idea. We have it set so that anyone can view what is contained in the wiki, but only Systems can actually edit the pages. We could go even further, but that does us fine for now. Installing MediaWiki took under 30 minutes to uncompress and set up with a few basic Categories and a custom navigation area.

If you are looking for a better way to keep track of computer changes across a company, give MediaWiki a look at. All you need is an web server, MySQL, and PHP.