This is the sixteenth installment in "33 Wikis," a close look at best practices in wiki-based collaboration. Each day -- for 33 days -- we look at one wiki and briefly describe what the wiki is for, why we like it, and what we all can learn from it. If you want to nominate a wiki, please let us know. On day 34 we will post a public wiki featuring info on all nominees.
What this wiki is for: Finally, a wiki that even my mother would like. I'm serious -- my mother prepares taxes for consultants and small businesses. The Tax Almanac is "a free tax research resource brought to you by Intuit, the makers of the professional tax preparation products Lacerte and ProSeries .... Our goal is to transform tax research and to improve the effectiveness of tax professionals everywhere."
Why we like it: There are so many reasons we like this wiki, starting with the corporate sponsorship. As we note above, this is a project "brought to you by Intuit," the maker of many tax and accounting software products. The Tax Almanac is a smart use of a collaborative environment where everyone can benefit -- the professional community and the corporate sponsor alike -- while the burden of developing and maintaining the wiki is distributed. Second, this is a very good resource that taps the wisdom of a very sophisticated crowd that live and work across the country. And it's a nicely designed (organized) wiki, making it easier for participants to find what they need and contribute.
What we all can learn from it: Tax is clearly a subject where the wisdom of the crowd beats the intelligence of the individual. But perhaps the biggest takeaway is the nature of the corporate sponsorship, which not only keeps Intuit close to its customers -- in this case, professional consumers of its tax and accounting products -- but also helps with visibility and brand (BusinessWeek recently named The Tax Almanac a "pacesetter" in collaboration). But also note: you'll have a hard time finding the word wiki on the home page (scroll down ... way down). We love the word wiki, but we may need other words as the tool continues to migrate from the world of developers and to the bigger world of non-techy professionals and consumers (hi, Mom).