WikiVet is a wiki of veterinary content, run using the MediaWiki software. The project is a collaborative initiative involving UK veterinary schools with external support. It is creating a comprehensive online knowledge base which aims to cover the entire veterinary curriculum, and will provide a reliable reference source for veterinary students, nurses and graduates anywhere in the world.
Veterinary students and academic staff were familiar with e-learning as a medium to complement traditional teaching as part of a blended learning approach. With the rapid growth of material on the web, it was increasingly difficult to find appropriate content which had been peer reviewed. This lack of signposting resulted in students and staff wasting time searching for reliable material. WikiVet was developed to provide a trustworthy site for peer reviewed material.
A feature of WikiVet is the level of cooperation involved between academics at different schools and direct involvement of students. The project grew out of existing collaborations between veterinary schools, and over 40 student and graduate authors have worked, or are working, together writing most of the content which is then reviewed by recent graduates and/or experts in a specific field.
Although WikiVet is created in a similar way to Wikipedia, there are three distinct differences between the two. Apart from the content relating specifically to the veterinary curriculum, all articles are peer reviewed by subject specialists, and access to the majority of the site is restricted to the veterinary community. This ensures accuracy of information and reflects the sensitive nature of much of the content.
The WikiVet project started in April 2007, and initially involved academics from Cambridge, Edinburgh and the Royal Veterinary College. The initial funding was provided by JISC and HEA. The first stage involved the creation of WikiPath which covering only the veterinary pathology undergraduate curriculum. This has subsequently been extended to include WikiAnatomy and Physiology, WikiBlood, WikiBugs, WikiVPH, WikiClinical and more.
In 2008 the Nottingham Veterinary School joined the project and the site was expanded to cover most of the curriculum, including new sections on WikiNormals and WikiDrugs.
In January 2009 the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Trust provided funding to cover the development of an interactive question bank called WikiQuiz.
A new section relating to specifically to donkeys started to be developed in Autumn 2009, with the content being provided, and sponsored by, The Donkey Sanctuary. Also in 2009, WikiSnakes and WikiLizards sections started to be developed.
Restructure to improve the user-friendliness of the hole site was started and we hope for it to be finished soon. This will make it easier to use the search function and get to the topic of interest fast. Categories are being used to allow for navigation via different routes. The work is to continue in 2011.
Snakes and Lizard sections are completed now.
A new collaboration with CABI has allowed links to CABIAbstracts literature search to be inserted on many pages. Some direct links to full text articles have also been included. The full text articles can be accessed by any WikiVet user but the literature search is only accessible via CABI subscribing organisation or personal subscription.
Restructuring the site work continues.
A new function has been added to allow users to view pages in PDF format or create their personal 'book' to print.
WikiVet run a sub-project that adapted part of the CABI Animal Health and Production Compendium into WikiVet pages as well as a percentage of Manson Publishing self assessment books into WikiVet flashcards. This was done under the remit of the Opening Access to Veterinary Literature (OVAL) project funded by JISC eContent Programme 2011. All the content created during this project is accessible by the general public. Additionally, some of the pages were translated into French and Spanish and made available in a podcast version.
Work on the PublishOER project continues.
Another project has been launched - Online Veterinary Anatomy Museum (OVAM). The aim is to pool high quality educational resources relevant to the veterinary anatomy subject made at various institutions, mostly universities but publishers and others are also involved. These resources will be organised in an easily discoverable and educationally sound manner. The progress of the project can be monitored on its website.
WikiVet is easily accessible from anywhere with internet access, allowing worldwide access by veterinary students and practitioners, providing both enrichment of existing teaching resources and improved learning opportunities for students.
- WikiVet website
- About WikiVet
- Wikivet now partnering with Pfizer Animal Health
- Manson Publishing website accessed April 2012
- OVAL website accessed April 2012
- PublishOER website accessed April 2012
- HEA MEDEV website accessed April 2012
- OVAM project funded by JISC Content Programme 2011-2013 accessed April 2012
- OVAM website accessed April 2012
Further reading 
- Gillian Brown, Megan Quentin-Baxter, Zoe Belshaw. WikiVet: building a community of practice to support a self-sustaining wiki for veterinary education. International Journal of Web Based Communities, Vol 6 (2), pp 183 – 196 (2010)
- The Viki (Veterinary Information and Knowledge Interface) Wiki Project
- Wikivet now partnering with Pfizer Animal Health
- WikiVet: The Veterinary Wiki official launch