User group meeting agenda 19 May 2009

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Proposing ideas for this agenda[edit | edit source]

To propose or discuss ideas for this agenda, please use the Discussion tab above. As the meeting draws near, we will review the items proposed on the Discussions page and decide which ones should get highest priority on the agenda.

Agenda[edit | edit source]

Administrative items[edit | edit source]

  1. Assignment of time keeper and note taker
  2. Introduction of new members: 10 seconds for name and desired takeaways.
  3. Review of Minutes
  4. Today's agenda preview

Information items[edit | edit source]

Discussion items[edit | edit source]

Carryover from Last Week[edit | edit source]

Geocities linking[edit | edit source] announced they are closing down Geocities by end of the year. see the announcement. There are many genealogy sites. Some users are making efforts to move their contents to different places. dsammy 17:10, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

That will be important because alot of people, including Alan Mann, had pages there that were personal but had loads of genealogical information on them.  Conventional thinking on the reson why indicates this is because almost everyone can get free web hosting from many other providers now, including their ISP, and copious amounts of bandwidth for both storage and traffic.  Geocities made sense when it was started and 5mb of space seemed like enough.  Yahoo said they will announce a way to port whole pages over to a new site or service away from Geocities by sometime in the summer, the site will be closed completely at the end of the year.

JamesAnderson 18:25, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

That is interesting information, Sammy. As you allude to, those links will become dead when Geocities are shut down. If the content is appropriate for the Wiki, I think it would be great to see the author move the information here. Is there a way we can approach the authors about this option? Thomas Lerman 18:53, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

Interactive Maps Suggestion[edit | edit source]

The interactive maps of the United States, individual states for counties, Britain, (others?) are wonderful. However, for someone unfamiliar with the geography (or bad at reading maps), the maps may pose a challenge finding the sub-division of their choice. Please consider a Manual of Style guideline that when employing an interactive map, the author should accompany that map with at least a short link to a page that shows an "Alphabetical List of States/Counties" sub-divisions linking to the same places as the links on the map. User:DiltsGD 23:28, 9 May 2009 (UTC)

That will be perfect.  Have a link right below the map that will go to a page with all the localities on the main divisions shown on the map, not the localities within the divisions shown.  If say, you wanted to see a map with county divisions of a statek there should be a separate map showing counties within a state, or with a state like Texas with a large nmber of counties (270) maybe a page taht shows a map of Texas divided up into maybe five regions, then when you click on the map see a map of counties in that region.  There should also be a page with a full listing plus pages for the regions that would be linked off of the region map.  That's an example of one way we could take this.

JamesAnderson 18:20, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

Kudos[edit | edit source]

Michael, I noticed the kudos that you added for "English Phonetic surname Aliases 1750 to 1800 is growing wildly. Thanks to Bottpa for the majority of 315 revisions!" I have seen and/or heard other kudos in the past as well. While I think kudos are important, I wonder what is the best way to do that and encourage people in the best method. Do we want to encourage people to:

  1. Create new content?
  2. Save for the sake of more revisions? I really doubt that Bottpa is doing this, but rather putting in information as time allows. I took a look at one of the revisions and it has addition to 18 names (probably all that could be done at that moment). Obviously, it is important to save periodically in order to prevent loss of data.
  3. Go around making minor changes to another person's pages that they are working on?
  4. Etc.?

I am not saying any of the things are necessarily bad, just trying to look at what is being encouraged. Thomas Lerman 19:29, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

The Closing of Geocities: What to incorporate into the wiki?[edit | 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.

Green check.png
The usage of "Mormon" and "LDS" on this page is approved according to current policy.

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)

I just found a good list from Google of some local history page.  I did the Google site search function and this is what came up when searching for 'local histories' or 'local history'. Turned up a gold mine.

JamesAnderson 21:58, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

A Definition Orientation - Does it Fit the Philosophy of Wiki?[edit | 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 | 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)

Falling behind[edit | edit source]

We're building quite a backlog of items to discuss from the discussion pages for past weeks. For example, some of the topics that have not been discussed are:

  • Interactive maps suggestion (12 May)
  • Geocities linking (12 May & 19 May)
  • Kudos (12 May)
  • Philosophy of Wiki (19 May)
  • "Wikifying" Research Outline content (19 May)

And there may be others. I didn't go back past 1 May. Some may not need discussion. Some may need discussion. How do we catch up on these items? Or do we just handle these items by discussion pages? It would seem to me if the latter, then it would be good to at least call attention to the subject and provide a link to the discussion page from the agenda for those who may have an interest in one or more of these topics.  Jbparker 19:40, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

Action needed on these specific ones from MoS (Manual of Style)
  • Format for OCLC and FamilySearch Catalog works
  • Links to FamilySearch Catalog works
  • Turbian? Shown Mills? Chicago?

Discussions stopped on these 3 for some time, requesting action to determine. dsammy 20:14, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

New Items[edit | edit source]