Place naming conventions: ascending vs. descending order

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In naming places, should we use ascending or descending order?

Poll ended at Sat Apr 05, 2008 4:08 pm

Ascending (Montgomery County, Maryland)
11
69%
Descending (Maryland, Montgomery County)
5
31%
 
Total votes: 16

ritcheymt-p40
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Postby ritcheymt-p40 » Fri Apr 04, 2008 4:11 pm

JamesAnderson wrote:Before the forum was created, I had mentioned this on a talk page for a user group meeting, maybe preferring the descending order for the purpose of allowing 'drilling down' to the needed article.

For example, for the United States you do the article on the national-level items, then have a list of the states.

From the states page, select the state, then on the state page select the county (how to deal with Texas with its 270 counties could be a wrench in the works).

From a county page, select its towns and townships, if that state uses townships like Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, etc., does.

The link to the lower jurisdiction list should be very easy to find so that people don't get lost finding the needed content. Preferably in a template box near the top of the article would be a link to the lower jurisdiction, we would probably have to write a template ourselves, I don't recall if Wikimedia has one already or not for this.

Does this idea I've presented sound like it could fly?


It feels like what you're describing is less how to structure a place name within an article's Title field and more how to set up the navigation structure. Is this correct? It feels like you're saying "We should have a navigation structure whereby you can go from the main page to a country page, from a country page to a state page, from a state page to a county page, etc." If that's your assertion, I think everybody is saying it has merit. I think we can also all agree that from the top of the category tree the user should be able to select that they want a country, then from the list of country categories they should be able to select a state, then from the state category that they should be able to select a county, etc. We might disagree on whether states should be listed directly in a country's category or whether they should be listed in a country's sub-category called "States of [country name]." But still, I think we're all saying that it's smart to be able to drill down in categories from larger places to their smaller sub-places.

And while both ideas (a drill-down navigation/link structure from larger place page to smaller place page and a drill-down navigation/link structure from larger place category to smaller place category) probably have merit to most of us, they are not the subject of this thread/poll. The subject of this thread and poll is how we should construct a place name within the title field of an article. That's what we're voting on here. We can deal with the other issues in other polls, but let's keep this one clear so we can reach this one decision.

jbh001
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Postby jbh001 » Fri Apr 04, 2008 5:17 pm

ritcheymt wrote:The subject of this thread and poll is how we should construct a place name within the title field of an article. That's what we're voting on here. We can deal with the other issues in other polls, but let's keep this one clear so we can reach this one decision.
Then I must have misread something somewhere along the lings, sorry. In that case, I opt for Ascending instead of Descending as I previously stated.

JamesAnderson
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Postby JamesAnderson » Fri Apr 04, 2008 8:29 pm

I did misread you then Michael, my post is more about the first two things, but the third thing you mentioned is obviously from your reply is what I might have simply missed, and that is finding a way to place the place name in the title field.

In that case, along with others, I now opt for the title bar to have the name in ascending order, as that is how most peoploe will find it. The navigation issues can come later, but yes having the title of the article being the location, like Montgomery County, Maryland and not just the name of the county, or being descending, would be the way most people would find the article.

That would also make it more likely people will find the article in search results on search engines. Google now highlights your search expression when it also appears in the URL of a search result. So an ascending schema for an article title will also show in the URL, and the search engine will be more likely to show that as a more relevant result than descending order titles would.

Again thanks Michael for pointing this out to me.

The_Earl
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Postby The_Earl » Sat Apr 05, 2008 10:38 am

jbh001 wrote:Then I must have misread something somewhere along the lings, sorry. In that case, I opt for Ascending instead of Descending as I previously stated.


So we are currently at 2/3 Ascending (10-5), without the two vote changes. Changing those two votes puts it at 12-3.

Seems pretty definitive :).

Thanks
The Earl

Thomas_Lerman
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Postby Thomas_Lerman » Sat Apr 05, 2008 11:28 am

I would personally like to hear a definitive answer to the question as to why the FHLC went in descending order. I know we can guess that it is because of sorting, but I would like to find out for sure.

kmatthia-p40
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Beyond ascending & descending

Postby kmatthia-p40 » Thu Apr 10, 2008 4:18 pm

I started a Westpreussen portal and am still struggling with this. I settled on ascending, but it doesn't solve the problem. Place names are ephemeral even in the United States. My mother was born in Sandy Hill, New York, but that doesn't exist any more--it is Hudson Falls now. In Westpreussen there are multiple jurisdiction names for every place depending on the politics of the time when an event happened. The equivalent of county seats also change. Spellings change. What was Konitz, Westpreussen was also known as Conitz, and is today Chojnice. What about Koln with an umlaut, Koeln, and Cologne? The farther east one gets in Europe and into Russia things are fraught with spelling changes locally that are magnified when a name is anglicized. Transliteration standards have changed. Bejing was Peking when I was a boy. My grandmother was born in a city that was subsumed by another larger city. Bohemia, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and the Czech Republic all had their own names for places and a jurisdictional heirarchy that doesn't match. Church jurisdictions do not match civil jurisdictions. There is an elephant in the room and it seems everyone thinks this can be put into a neat heierarchical, textual package. I don't think it can be.

I serve in International Reference on floor B1 of the Family History Library and have been here for over 4 years. I've researched European genealogy for over 40 years. I believe an ideal system would be latitude and longitude based. There might be near misses, but a smart system could list everything found within a given number of kilometers of the search target. Getting a hit at a population center would then result in a listing of all the place names by which it went along with juridictional heirarchy and the dates for which they were effective. This would include civil, church, synagogue, and other jurisdictions for that latitude and longitude. Using latitude and longitude is the only way to get away from a many-to-many database requirement and back to a one-to-many database that can be managed. Searching would go from any version of the place name, to coordinates, to multiple names, jurisdictional links, and applicable dates. Eventually, it would be good to actually map jurisdictions as more than a point on the earth and make them dimensional, but this might not be for this generation to do.

JamesAnderson
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Postby JamesAnderson » Thu Apr 10, 2008 5:53 pm

One way to solve at least a part of this issue is to use this program and I do not know where you find it, that takes old maps and superimposes them on a Google map. That would at least show visually via the mashup what you are looking at today. After all, we;re going to have alot of beginners looking for answers who will be looking at these pages.

If you know of other links that might help people find their way around those areas also online, please put them in the external links on the portal and pages you have created, that will also help.

I'm using my talk page (I use the same user ID I use here) to be a page where people can post external web links we might want to use and we can vet them together. Might help find the most useful links that way. That way I can also learn something as well about these areas.

kmatthia-p40
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Attempt at using latitude and longitude for page name

Postby kmatthia-p40 » Thu Apr 10, 2008 10:04 pm

I converted Konitz, Westpreußen, Preußen, Germany page to a latitude / longitude page name to see how it would work. You can see that Konitz has a rich and disputed jurisdictional history. I think this method will better avoid offending people (e.g., what will you name the Formosa page). See: https://wiki.familysearch.org/en/Lat_53.704684_Lon_17.583189

JamesAnderson
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Postby JamesAnderson » Fri Apr 11, 2008 7:19 am

That's a good way to handle it. Having the lat/lon coordinates along with the common name and listing the other names and the times they were used will help in these matters.

Will searching, whether from the site or from an external search engine pick this type of listing up properly?

The_Earl
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Fork

Postby The_Earl » Fri Apr 11, 2008 9:00 am

The original purpose of this thread was to discuss names in ascending or descending order.

The question of what to do with places that change over time is an important one as well.

I forked this thread to http://tech.lds.org/forum/showthread.php?t=1250 to continue the discussion of time changes.

Please keep this thread about ascending / descending, and contribute to the time discussion at the other thread.

Thanks
The Earl


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