Talk:User group meeting agenda 19 May 2009

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The Closing of Geocities: What to incorporate into the wiki?[edit source]

We have had a few basic discussions on what to do now that Geocities is being closed down by Yahoo.  There is valuable information that people have on Geocities pages that can help many users of the Wiki in finding ancestors and their data, since people have posted that on their pages about their families.  Sometimes this includes pedigrees or ancestral data which is not included in the Wiki, but often will contain information about localities and record sources.

First a history of the service:  It started out independently, later it bought Xoom, another early free website host.  Both had been wildly successful primarily because they had more space than was offered, if at all, by many ISPs.  Bandwidth and storage prices were quite high for a small amount of storage, you were lucky to get a meg from your ISP, so they offered more than that.  The other advantage was that you did not have to change page URLs each time you changed ISPs.  

Yahoo bought the service ten years ago and maintained it.  However, market conditions have changed as well, and there are other major competitors like Google Sites, that offer the same types of services.  Also there have been other types of page services like Facebook and Blogger that have come along, so people n ow have things on multiple services.  So in April of this year Yahoo decided to shut it down, the end will come in December.

Now to the data itself.  What to do about it.

There are several types of things found on Geocities pages:

1.  Ancestral data, such as pedigrees, group records, and other data on identified individual families, usually maintained by the family or families running the site.

2.  Tabular data, associated with a locality or event or other matter.  Some are linked to/from the various other web projects.

3.  Details about localities and record types, where those record types are, and how to obtain information, and other useful informational matters about records.

The first one is easy to resolve, encourage them to submit pedigree and family group data to the PRF, or if LDS, to the new FamilySearch if it has not been done already.

Tabular data, I'm not sure what to do about that.  Often these are  rather small data sets with maybe a few hundred to a few thousand names at most, associated with a common event or place.  I would term them 'microbases', and there seems to me there could be a place for such data elsewhere on the FamilySearch platform, maybe not necessarily the Wiki, but we need to be sure what place it could go is settled on, and clarify what might eventually end up in the Wiki and what should not go in.  And how to get contributors to migrate their data to the decided-on place, if any.

Ancestry is doing a few things, but as with anything genealogical in nature, no one place may be sufficient for everything.  It is likely to be a combination of the genealogical site players that will fully integrate these types of things into various of the available umbrella sites that are out there now.

The last one might be easy to do.  Somehow encourage Geocities users to contribute what they know to the Wiki, and help them in porting the information they know about to the appropriate pages for the localities, etc., in the Wiki where the information we have is insufficient or the data is otherwise new to the Wiki.  How do we do that.

What is the best way to go about all of this so that whatever happens, the data is still available.  Geocities is offering help promised later this summer to site owners to help them port to wherever they end up, whether it be Google, or whatever else is out there, but some things may still fall through despite all of Geocities' good efforts and the equally good efforts of everyone else.  JamesAnderson 18:33, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

A Definition Orientation - Does it Fit the Philosophy of Wiki?[edit source]

I am brand new so I apologize in advance if what I say here is naive and/or already well known to others.  In looking at the Wiki, it seems to be very geography based, which makes a lot of sense for moderate to advanced researchers.  They can just go to their area of research and gather information.  In that sense, it is like an encyclopedia.

It doesn't seem to be very terminology or definition oriented, like a dictionary (not a criticism - just a perception). For example, I did a search for religious "non-conformity" in England and got a number of hits that used the term. I did not see a basic definition of the term, which would be helpful for new researchers. Am I correct in this perception? I wrote a very simple definition and gave it the title "Non-conformity, definition." I quickly saw that it could grow and use other terms such as Established Church, Dissenters, Anglican, Catholic, Act of Tolerance, Hardwicke's Marriage Act, and on and on.

Would it make sense to have short articles about each of these? Or would it make sense to have titles that said, "Dissenters - see Non-conformity" or "Established Church - see Non-conformity" as would be in an index to a genealogy research book? Where does one stop? Is my thinking incorrect or is it in a different direction than the one chosen for the Wiki?  These questions start getting into the philosophy of the Wiki and may have already been resolved.  I'm just learning.  But I lead a large team of missionaries and I would like to encourage them to get involved in the Wiki so I would like to know how to proceed.  Is a more definition-oriented approach welcome and appropriate?

Ellisgj 18:03, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

The glossaries in the Wiki may already address this need. Right now there are several glossaries. Here's a list of glossaries that have the "Glossary" category - indicating the page itself is a glossary:
Please note that the above list of "glossaries" may or may not be a glossary in the Wiki. This is just a list of pages in the Wiki that have the "Glossary" category added to the page. Perhaps the Wiki needs a "Glossary" page that is just a list of all the different glossaries in the Wiki. The list would make it easier for users to find the needed glossary. Also note that some of our editors in the Wiki have already started creating links to glossary terms.
Franjensen 19:56, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

Confusing Remnants of Research Outline Text[edit source]

If I understand correctly, some wiki content has been copied from old research outlines. Is there a check-list of references that should be corrected in old research outlines or other material copied into the wiki? I ran across a wiki article recently that I would like to have edited, but was not confident enough to make changes. An example probably will illustrate my question more effectively.

To learn more about Jewish immigration, I searched the wiki and read the article Jewish Emigration and Immigration. In spite of my contact with the wiki community, I was confused by the article’s direction to obtain more detailed information via a particular research outline (with part number included). Did I need to order that part number through Church Distribution, or was the reference a remnant that was overlooked? (See the third paragraph.) My guess is that a hot link to the Tracing Immigrant Origins portal page should replace the reference and the part number. But how would I know for sure? And what about recent conversations about portal pages and search results, etc.?

I couldn’t find anything in the forums that made mention of particular efforts to “wikify” research outline content. Should I have been able to answer my own question using resources available on the wiki? Should all references to Research Outlines be hotlinks to wiki articles (without part numbers)?  Are there Research Outlines that are not part of the wiki (so I should still encourage people to look at for research help)?

Eirebrain 18:40, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

One thing I've sighted is a way to find these things.  The easiest way is to look at the end of the article that appears to be nothing but a research outline dump into the wiki is to look for the old copyright notice.  Those were put in wholesale for the most part as well.  JamesAnderson 19:52, 19 May 2009 (UTC)