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How to recommend naming of counties in article titles?

Posted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 8:32 pm
by ritcheymt-p40
In an article title field, what format should we recommend in naming counties? Which way should it be?
  • Montgomery, Maryland
  • Montgomery County, Maryland

More handles (like the word "county") can be better

Posted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 8:36 pm
by ritcheymt-p40
When searching for an article about a place, it is helpful to have as many handles as possible to get the right search results. This is especially true when dealing with common place names, which are numerous. One has only to have a quick look at Wikipedia’s list of the most popular U.S. place names at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...nklin_.2837.29 to see just how many common place names there are in the U.S. alone, and how frequently each one is used.

Preventing ambiguity when counties and towns share a name

Posted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 8:37 pm
by ritcheymt-p40
It is common for a township, county, or parish to share a name with one of its towns. Wikipedia admins have apparently found it hard to police the naming of pages about a town. They seem to have given up trying to get their users to do it a certain way. Therefore, a Wikipedia user might name a town “Franklin, New York” or “Franklin, Franklin County, New York.” If they choose the former, it will be necessary to create a disambiguation page because of the fact that New York had both a town and a county called Franklin, so the title "Franklin, New York" wouldn't clarify whether the article is about the town or the county. Not that disambiguation pages are a huge problem, but if we can create best practices that prevent the need for disambiguation pages, it would be helpful not only to users, but to admins as well.

Posted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 10:42 pm
by JBParker-p40
ritcheymt wrote:In an article title field, what format should we recommend in naming counties? Which way should it be?
  • Montgomery, Maryland
  • Montgomery County, Maryland

I prefer the latter. I think the beginning/intermediate genealogist will think in terms of adding the term county to a name in a search. I also think having a page titled Montgomery County, [state] distinguishes that article from one for a town or village or other locality.

We must remember, too, that in Louisiana, it is a parish, not a county, as in Winn Parish, Louisiana. That complicates things a bit, since the designation of Parish could be a church-related locality.

Posted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 7:24 am
by jbh001
What about:
Montgomery (County), Maryland
Oklahoma (County), Oklahoma
Salt Lake (County), Utah
Utah (County), Utah
North Slope (Borough), Alaska

If I were a beginning genealogist, the parentheses might clue me in that I don't need to include the word "County" in my place name (i.e. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Oklahoma; instead of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma).

But it would also clue me in that I had reached the county page instead of the city or state page.

Posted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 9:04 am
by ritcheymt-p40
jbh001 wrote:What about:
Montgomery (County), Maryland
Oklahoma (County), Oklahoma
Salt Lake (County), Utah
Utah (County), Utah
North Slope (Borough), Alaska

If I were a beginning genealogist, the parentheses might clue me in that I don't need to include the word "County" in my place name (i.e. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Oklahoma; instead of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma).

But it would also clue me in that I had reached the county page instead of the city or state page.


Using parentheses feels clunky. It is something that wouldn't come naturally to me, at least, so it doesn't feel like a convention that would attract widespread use. I don't really see the parenthesis adding compelling value, so I'd lean toward keeping the solution cleaner and simpler. Ockham's Razor.

Yes

Posted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 9:10 am
by srweight
ritcheymt wrote:Using parentheses feels clunky. It is something that wouldn't come naturally to me, at least, so it doesn't feel like a convention that would attract widespread use. I don't really see the parenthesis adding compelling value, so I'd lean toward keeping the solution cleaner and simpler. Ockham's Razor.


I agree - keep it cleaner and simpler for us beginners!

Posted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 9:34 pm
by The_Earl
ritcheymt wrote:It is common for a township, county, or parish to share a name with one of its towns. Wikipedia admins have apparently found it hard to police the naming of pages about a town. They seem to have given up trying to get their users to do it a certain way. Therefore, a Wikipedia user might name a town “Franklin, New York” or “Franklin, Franklin County, New York.” If they choose the former, it will be necessary to create a disambiguation page because of the fact that New York had both a town and a county called Franklin, so the title "Franklin, New York" wouldn't clarify whether the article is about the town or the county. Not that disambiguation pages are a huge problem, but if we can create best practices that prevent the need for disambiguation pages, it would be helpful not only to users, but to admins as well.


This gets to the core of the reason I would include the whole structure in the name of a place. If you need to name a city or twp article, it should include the county, state and country as well. You don't really need all of the info, but including it does not break search, is easily predictable, and prevents conflict when people try to create articles for same-name places. Each place ends up with a single 'official' title.

If you take this down to a level lower than the city, the problem above gets even uglier. How many 'First Ward' articles would you have to disambiguate? What information would you have to put in the title to keep them straight?

As to the issue at hand:
Utah County, Utah, USA :)

The Earl

Posted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 9:54 am
by Thomas_Lerman
I believe in consistency between products and setting the same example. Am I sounding like a broken record? new FamilySearch does not include "County" unless it is part of the name (I do not know that this is ever the case). If for some reason, "County" is included, should it really be initial-cap? My first reaction is
"no" since it is not part of the name proper.

Posted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 10:43 am
by dsammy-p40
jbh001 wrote:What about:
Montgomery (County), Maryland
Oklahoma (County), Oklahoma
Salt Lake (County), Utah
Utah (County), Utah
North Slope (Borough), Alaska

If I were a beginning genealogist, the parentheses might clue me in that I don't need to include the word "County" in my place name (i.e. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Oklahoma; instead of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma).

But it would also clue me in that I had reached the county page instead of the city or state page.


non-conforming. not practical, too.