Help:Wiki University Article Anatomy

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Article Anatomy

Wiki articles are composed of a number of useful parts, some included as the articles are written and some generated as part of the software.

To see a labelled "map" of a typical article, click here.

Generated Components

Articles are created simply by entering a proposed title in the search engine, then saving the resulting proposed article. When the article is created, the following article components are automatically generated:

Whole page edit

The "Edit Source" link near the top right of the page opens up the wikitext coding for the entire page, so you can make corrections or additions.

Navigation Tabs

Every page has two navigation tabs at the top left: Page, and Talk. There are also four navigation tabs along the top right: Read, Edit, Edit Source, and History.

  • Page and Read will be highlighted simultaneously and show the "normal" view of the article.
  • Edit Allows for corrections and/or additions to the page using VisualEditor.
  • Edit Source Allows for corrections and/or additions to the page using Wikitext.
  • Talk Allows users to make comments about the page.
  • History Shows all the changes made to the page over time. From here it is possible to see when a change was made and who made it, to undo a change you have saved, or even to return the page to an earlier version of itself.

There is also a Star tab along the top right that allows the page to be added to your Watchlist.

Table of Contents

  • A table of contents is generated automatically as an article is created. The headings and subheadings in an article create the outline of the article (there must be at least four to generate a TOC). Note: the headers and subheaders are entered by the editor. If no headers are entered, the TOC will not be created.
  • The TOC is an indicator of how well written the headers are and how well organized the article is.
  • You can click on any term in the table of contents to jump to that topic in the article.
  • If you feel like the table of contents is in the way or too long, you can click on "hide."

Section edit

Each new header creates an editing link to the right of the header ( [edit source] ) . This makes it possible to open and edit just one small section without opening the whole article.

Search Engine

Like a browser search engine, this searches for wiki articles by either location or topic. It is a weak search engine, although it may improve in the future. It may fail to find an existing article because of capitalization, order of words in a title, or because you did not name the title exactly. Frequently the article you are looking for will be listed in the results list, so check that carefully. (Another way to search if the Wiki search engine is unsuccessful is to try an external search for a topic, by putting the words FamilySearch Wiki in an external search engine [Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.] request.)

Wiki sidebar

The light purple elongated box to the left is a special sidebar just about the wiki. This sidebar contains a quick list of links to wiki functions, tools, and organization. You cannot change this sidebar.

Access history

At the very bottom of the page there are statistics about the page: the last time this page was updated and how many times the page has been visited.


Also at the bottom of the page, between the category and the access history, is the question Did you find this article helpful? followed by the opportunity to give a one to five star rating. Comments left along with this rating will go on the article's Talk Page and will be addressed by support missionaries as Wiki changes are patrolled. They can also be seen and addressed by the article's author(s).

Contributor-Added Components

Certain components of the article, although standardized, must be manually entered by the original creator or subsequent editors.

Article Name

  • The article name is created when the article is first created. For guidelines and tips on naming an article, see Name a New Article.
  • The Wiki program will not allow two articles with the same name. However, Wiki titles are case sensitive, so it is possible to have two articles with identical names except with different capitalization.
  • When creating a new article or patrolling, check the name against naming conventions and formats on like articles.
  • If a page is improperly named or misspelled, the only way to correct it is to Move it to a page with the new, corrected title. To do that, use the Move tool under the down arrow next to the Search Bar on the top right of the article. This requires administrative rights, so you might have to ask someone with those rights to do this for you.

Breadcrumb trail

United States Gotoarrow.png Missouri Gotoarrow.png Adair County

  • Like the breadcrumb trail in Grimm's fairy tale Hansel and Gretel, a Wiki breadcrumb trail is a sequence of links that will take the user to higher level articles.
  • To learn how to create a breadcrumb trail, click here.

SEO (Search Engine Optimizer)

  • A Search Engine Optimizer (SEO) is a paragraph used to help a page get noticed by the large search engines, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo, when they go out looking for matches to a query they receive.
  • It should contain the terms genealogy, ancestry, or family history, and the geographic location of your article, all in bold. It should be 25 words or less in length.
  • The first paragraph of an article automatically becomes the SEO. There is no special coding or wikitext necessary.


Headers are the titles and subtitles of an article. When there are more than three, they also create a Table of Contents (TOC) on the page. Using wikitext, you can make them different sizes and create an outline format. See Headers.


  • The light gray elongated box to the right of an article is a sidebar.
  • Sidebars contain a quick list of links to other pages that go into greater detail on the sub-topics of the page you are on. From a sidebar, you can navigate to the other closely-related pages without having to search for them.
  • To learn how to create a sidebar, click here. Usually, you will not have to repair a sidebar.


  • Infoboxes are quick lists of important facts. Infobox templates are like fact sheets, or sidebars, in magazine articles.
  • They quickly summarize important points in an easy-to-read format, in a table form.
  • Infoboxes are used to display brief information typically about organizations and/or administrative divisions like US counties but in a table form.
  • They are in template form, and once you create an infobox, you can reuse it on other pages with only minor changes. This page shows a good example of the effective use of an infobox.


  • A navbox is a type of template placed at the bottom of articles to enable the reader to navigate easily to related articles, subcategories and images under the same category. It is really a sidebar, only placed at the bottom of the page, and containing links not quite as central to the topic as the main sidebar.
  • You cannot edit from the navbox as it appears in the article itself. You have to find it on its site as a template, then edit the template.
  • See FamilySearch Wikitext Navboxes.

Reference and Footnote List

This list has two uses.

  • Use reference sources for information on a page copied from others or their writings--giving credit where it is due.
  • Add information at the end that might give additional insights. This is like using an asterisk (*) to add afterthoughts.
  • Click here to learn how to create this list.


  • The category of should be at the bottom of every article.
  • Categories work much like indexes. They are for grouping articles under similar subjects, localities, or topics.
  • Categories help users find information, even if they don't know that the information exists or what it's called. A user can click on a category to be taken to a list of similar or related articles.
  • For more information on Categories, click here. To learn how add a category label to an article, click here.

Try these out

Quick Quiz
  • The table of contents, access history, and navigation tabs are generated automatically and you do not have to create them.
  • An SEO should contain terms like genealogy, family history, or ancestry.
  • The wiki sidebar appears automatically and cannot be changed.
  • You can link quickly to other related articles through sidebars and navboxes.
  • You can only edit a page by clicking on the "Edit This Page Button".
  • Credit is given when quoting the works of others by placing a reference at the bottom of the page.

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