FamilySearch Wiki:WikiProject U.S. counties

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These are some notes from the meetings community members had regarding county page design.

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  • Do we start with Heading 2 or Heading 3?
  • Do we restrict heading level in the contents box?
  • When creating another page because the section is to long, how do we link out to the other page?
  • How do we highlight "quick finds," what the most popular links/important resources are?
  • Page readability - Indentation of body text and section spacing?
  • Deep linking gives more possibilities for dead links. We need a bot that crawls the wiki to automatically identify dead links.
  • Rename Places/Localities
  • Places/Localities boxes - we create the boxes with all links but are red. Is this the right way to go?
  • Do we use real or manual breadcrumbs?
  • Suggestion - add line (not a new section) with a link to the courthouse section in the County Information section, under the quick dates box

Resolved[edit | edit source]

Sections[edit | edit source]

Moving a section to a new page: When a section becomes half a screen to a full screen in length, seriously consider moving it to a new page linked from the existing page.

Courthouse information:

  • Courthouse information is needed in Court, Land and Property, Probate, and Vital records sections. It is a good idea to avoid duplicating the same information (such as the courthouse address and phone number) in each section. The courthouse is also a repository with its own unique collections, organization of records, and other search ideosyncracies. 
  • Therefore, create a section for the courthouse, put the information there, and link to the courthouse section from other sections.
  • Resolved that the "Courthouse" section belongs under the section of "Repositories." Move the information onto another page when needed based on the "Breaking a heading/section into a separate page" section.

Court Records: This will be a section separate from the Courthouse section.

Courthouse section of Infobox: Link county page infoboxes to the Courthouse page. Need heading of "courthouse" above the picture and address of the courthouse. Under that will be the courthouse name, linking to the courthouse section or page, with just one main address/phone#. A link to an official courthouse site could be done below the address, or on the courthouse page.

Courthouse page: When a new courthouse page is created, keep the heading on the page and link out to the new page. Name example: Adams County, Illinois Courthouse. (Illinois specific- IRAD should be referred to from courthouse page but not on the page itself.)

Infobox Web variable: This variable is for the county page, not the courthouse page.

Libraries, Archives, and Museums: Rename to "Repositories." It was decided during the 11 July meeting that the repositories section will contain subheadings as needed for Courthouse, Libraries, Archives, Museums, Family History Centers, etc. as needed.

Places/Localities: Move to the bottom of the page, after Resources

Vital Records: Rename to: "Birth, Marriage, and Death" or "Birth, Marriage, and Death (Vital Records)" (the options will be tested)

Record Loss: Details should be included with the repository and the record type it relates to.

Historical Facts: Rename to "County Organization". Keep at the top of the page, so keep succinct. Subsections:

  • Quick Dates (but without a heading)
  • Historical Facts
  • Boundary Changes
  • Neighboring Counties

Places/Localities: Bottom of the page, keep the box open pending further discussion. Keep the Places/Localities heading. Remove the paragraph text below explaining how to use the box.

Biography: It belongs as a section

Census Subheadings: Break out by year; mark as bolded

Societies: If the society has a repository, the repository's information should be listed in the Archives, Libraries and Museums section (this section was renamed "Repositories" during the 11 July meeting). All other information about the society should go under the Society heading.

Military Records: Change to "Military"

Obituaries: Has its own section. Add a "See also: Obituaries" underneath Death and Newspapers sections.

Web sites: Remove section. Over time, move the web sites in that section to other areas where they better belong. Deep link to the specific sections of that website from the section on the Wiki where it belongs. Linkpendium - do not link. USGenWeb - link to parts of site that are most valuable.

Social Groups Online: Purpose: I'm looking for the expert, looking for compiled genealogies. Adding "online" for clarification, and put "online" at the end so it would be next to "Societies."

  • Mailing lists
  • Forums/Message boards
  • Research Groups

Neighboring Counties: Pull out of Municipalities box and add into the County Organization. Begin with a list with links to those wiki pages; when possible, add in a very small map (300 pixels) with just the county and its neighboring counties.

Boundary Changes: Add link to a site that shows boundary changes over time. Examples:

Church Records: Keep name of "Church Records" for Christian groups; add additional sections in the list for other religions. At some point in the future, if there are multiple religious records sections, we may revisit bringing these together under a "Religious Records" section. Add cross-referencing to "Ethnic....Groups" when necessary.

Ethnic Groups: Heading of this section - "Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups"    List of people should be plural: American Indians, African Americans, etc.

Topics[edit | edit source]

Breaking a heading/section into a separate page: We resolve to add a guideline that when a section becomes between half a screen and a full screen, the writer should seriously consider creating a new page for that section. The editor will keep the section heading there and add a link out to the new page.

Adding headings to county pages: We resolve to add the headings initially and hope it prompts people to add information. We will not add trailer words like “If you know information about this section, please add it here.”

Links: Links should be inline (within the sentence) instead of saying “For resource X, click here.”

Subpages: We resolve not to use subpages (titles with slashes). Backlinks (a MediaWiki feature that makes subpages attractive) don’t even work in the main namespace anyway. So if we need to break up a page by taking some of its sections and creating new pages for them, we will make those new pages regular pages (not subpages) and link to them from the original page.

Section editing: Although during the meeting of 6/30/11 the Illinois page was broken (with the right nav bar displaying underneath the content), the team agreed that we should not turn off section editing. They would rather learn how to fix the div tags when the bug occurs.

Breadcrumbs: Later let’s make a decision on real or manual breadcrumbs.

Blogs: Topic-specific blogs should go under the topic that they relate to. General ones should go in the Genealogy section (because they are usually about people and families who lived there).

Images: Topic-specific images should go under the section it belongs with; more general ones should go in the History section (because they are usually historically significant).

The word Records: Keep it in Church Records, Court Records, and Probate Records.

Mock Up Pages[edit | edit source]

Three options: We are going to create three options of the County pages - one using the new Taxonomy, one showing important resources first, and one using a flat list of what we've been working on to this point. This will allow us to do some usability testing to test the three pages to see which one works better. See the mockups below.

Questions we are testing
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  • Which format is best for:
  • An individual who is just starting out with research in an area?
  • Is looking for a specific piece of information about an individual who lived in that area?
  • Will advanced users have a hard time finding vital records if we remove the term Vital Records from the heading of the section titled Birth, Marriage, Death?