Categorization --> Countries: Include empires?

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Thomas_Lerman
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Postby Thomas_Lerman » Thu Mar 20, 2008 6:49 am

I agree . . . usability testing may tell us what works, what does not, and may give us ideas that we have not thought about (or others have not thought about either).

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Postby fergie34-p40 » Thu Mar 20, 2008 8:23 am

Darris Williams wrote:At what point do we set up some user testing. It might be interesting to sit down and observe some people actually using the wiki and get their input on how some of these ideas work for them. There are a lot of missionaries that work in various parts of the Family History Department that might make good test subjects.


I think that Darris has a point. It many be time to have some version setup and tested be people that have a vested interest in this area.
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Thomas_Lerman
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Postby Thomas_Lerman » Thu Mar 20, 2008 8:34 am

The Earl and I were talking yesterday . . . wishing we had access to the test site, etc.

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Postby russellhltn » Fri Mar 21, 2008 11:20 am

Thomas_Lerman wrote:If someone was not sure whether the country existed, they would have to check both place? I can see advantages both ways.


That's a good point. But I think it's one that would be fixed with a good search function. If someone typed in "Bohemia" and landed on the right page, do they care how it's categorized?

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Postby russellhltn » Fri Mar 21, 2008 11:37 am

One question I'd have is what the purpose of categorizing? Is it just to reduce the number of entries in a folder, or should the entries that are grouped together share something in common? In that case, what ls the logical trait that should be shared? Should we just group them by alphabet so they are easy to find? :o

I'm wondering if locations should be grouped by continent. Users are likely to want to move between historic and current country, so I'm not sure as it makes sense to put them into different top-level categories. On the other hand, once you've selected "Europe" you're probably not going to want to jump to "Africa" next. Keep in mind this is for Family History work. And it's not uncommon to use the wrong name for a location. Such as "United States" for something that happened before 1776.

Once you've broken down countries by continent, then you may want to break it down by era. (And the eras may be different in different parts of the world, so pre-dividing by continent is the way to go.)

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Postby Thomas_Lerman » Fri Mar 21, 2008 12:50 pm

Continent is an interesting and good thought as well . . . one that may even be better. We could have a map that gets clicked on to get to that continent (okay, I am really more of a keyboard person). Maybe even maps to get to the country. However, we know that country boundaries change. Plus, I know many people do not know their geography. What about a country like Kazakhstan? At times, it has been thought of as part of Central Asia and Europe. Maybe the divisions can be the same as what Temple Ready currently uses or what the "Standard Finder" uses in the "Culture" field??? It would be nice if all products are standardized.

One of the purposes of categories is another way of finding related topics by browsing rather than searching. If someone did not remember the name of a country, they could browse the names (in general or by continent). If someone is looking at an article, the categories for that article may point them to other articles where they may find information that will meet their needs better . . . burned county courthouses, Jewish genealogy, other parishes, etc.

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Postby russellhltn » Fri Mar 21, 2008 2:01 pm

Thomas_Lerman wrote:Continent is an interesting and good thought as well


Actually, it probably should be "region", although major Continents would each be their own region.


Thomas_Lerman wrote:What about a country like Kazakhstan? At times, it has been thought of as part of Central Asia and Europe.


As a guiding principle, I'd go with whatever makes most sense to genealogists. Because that's our target audience.

Thomas_Lerman wrote:Maybe the divisions can be the same as what Temple Ready currently uses or what the "Standard Finder" uses in the "Culture" field??? It would be nice if all products are standardized.


I agree, but I'd tend to ignore TempleReady as it's about to be retired. TR is a good way to initially visualize it. But aligning to Standard Finder would make more sense.


Thomas_Lerman wrote:One of the purposes of categories is another way of finding related topics by browsing rather than searching.


Exactly! Which is why I'm not in favor of modern/historical division as a top-level category. I also dislike the idea that as time goes on we'd have to move entries from "modern" to "historical".

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Postby ritcheymt-p40 » Fri Mar 21, 2008 3:10 pm

Thomas_Lerman wrote:Are you saying that "Countries" would only have only two entries in it?
  1. Historic countries
  2. Current or Modern countries
If someone was not sure whether the country existed, they would have to check both place? I can see advantages both ways.

An example, a relative was born in Bohemia. I have had several people ask where that is. I know that it does not exist as a country, etc. Bohemia should still exist as a portal/page with historical information, research information, where to find records, old boundaries versus new boundaries, etc. Okay, this is going off on a slight tangent with this example.


You know, that's the sweet thing about categories -- like any other database tag, you don't always have to make an "either/or" decision. If we wanted, we could have the best of all worlds:

Countries
[INDENT]All countries, current and historic
Current [or modern] Countries
Historic Countries
[/INDENT]

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Postby ritcheymt-p40 » Fri Mar 21, 2008 3:21 pm

RussellHltn wrote:That's a good point. But I think it's one that would be fixed with a good search function. If someone typed in "Bohemia" and landed on the right page, do they care how it's categorized?


Right. Most people will use Search to get to country pages. But there are still some important use cases which are answered through categories:

  1. People who like to browse to a topic (rather than search) can do so through categories.
  2. Browsing categories is like browsing a site map: It's an interesting way to get a high-level view of the types of content a site has.
  3. Authors have been requesting a way to get a high-level view of all the types of content that have been submitted within a given topic domain (like Pennsylvania.) A search would just yield a list of all pages which contain the term Pennsylvania, so the resulting list isn't high-level at all. Browsing the Pennsylvania category, one would see far fewer entries because all the Pennsylvania content would be under five or ten subcategories like Pennsylvania Counties, Pennsylvania Record Types, Pennsylvania Archives and Libraries, etc. This view would be much more helpful than a search for contributors who are trying to identify large gaps they can fill.

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Postby ritcheymt-p40 » Fri Mar 21, 2008 4:01 pm

Thomas_Lerman wrote:Continent is an interesting and good thought as well . . . one that may even be better. We could have a map that gets clicked on to get to that continent (okay, I am really more of a keyboard person). Maybe even maps to get to the country. However, we know that country boundaries change. Plus, I know many people do not know their geography. What about a country like Kazakhstan? At times, it has been thought of as part of Central Asia and Europe. Maybe the divisions can be the same as what Temple Ready currently uses or what the "Standard Finder" uses in the "Culture" field??? It would be nice if all products are standardized.


Spot on regarding that Kazakhstan thing. For instance, if I found out my great grandfather was from the Channel Islands, I wouldn't know what continent to choose if that were the only way to browse to a country. So I'd want a list of all countries in alpha order.

OTOH, if I knew the continent for the country in question, I might want to click on the continent in order to delimit the alpha list of countries I had to look through.

Again, though, that's the nice thing about categories. Like all db tags, you don't have to have an either/or choice. So you could have something like this:

Countries
[INDENT]All countries (modern and historic)
Historic countries
Modern countries
Countries by continent
[/INDENT]The only way you'd have all these categories is if the users cared enough about each to create and populate it. So, as Molliewog mentioned in the beginning of this thread, we needn't create all these categories now. But it does help to imagine the full scope of country subcategories we might have someday before we try to name the first ones, because the potential name of a category we may need someday may affect the name we choose for the categories we'll create initially. That's why we'll want to use Library of Congress authorities to help us generate the names above -- the folks who maintain these authorities have changed them many times over generations to accomodate new ones they continually add. So rather than us doing a lot of painful trial-and-error, we'll benefit from decades of trial-and-error of a much more experienced institution.


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