Models and Theories in Human-Computer Interaction/Wikibooks and Action Theory, Subject and Object

Wikibooks is a good example of how collaboration of actions can create a cohesive knowledge of work. In regards to activity theory, Wikibook is an interaction between a person and the rest of the world. Activity theory could be considered relating the process of the subject, (the action) to that of the object (Wikibook).

Wikis encourage people to find their place in the conversation of a subject and create their contribution to that topic. According to Victor Kaptelinin, author of the book, Activity Theory in HCI: Fundamentals and Reflections, “Subjects’ interaction with the world is also structured; it is organized around the objects” (Kaptelinin 2009). Thus, the organization of Wikibooks supports the concept of activity theory. Those posting in Wikibook must first consider what category their topic best fits into before posting. This activity helps create an order in an otherwise chaotic absorption of information.

Wikis encourage interaction, however since Wikibook is open to anyone, this means that someone with little to no background on a topic can in turn contribute to a conversation about that topic. This may lead to knowledge that is not completely factual. This still fits with the concept of activity theory. Activity theorists would argue that the activity (factual or not) is still an expression of the object (and contributor).

To solve the problem of false information being published, Wikibook contributors need to remain owners of their posts thus giving the credit where credit is needed.

Kaptelinin, Victor (2014): Activity Theory. In: Soegaard, Mads and Dam, Rikke Friis (eds.). "The Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction, 2nd Ed.". Aarhus, Denmark: The Interaction Design Foundation. Available online at