Holdings of other locations

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:41 am

ritcheymt wrote:I like the idea of being able to fix all the links if the Family History Library Catalog URL changes. I may not understand the template idea, though -- is there another problem it solves? Isn't there a way to solve a URL change problem without requiring users to add template code each time they link to a Family History Library Catalog entry? I'd think that if the FHLC URL changes, engineers would be able to do something like a global find and replace on the database to change all the FHLC links. I'd rather have a single engineer solve the problem than implement a template workaround that would make it harder for hundreds of contributors to create links. What am I failing to see?


A template for FHLC references would have multiple benefits:
  • In many ways it is simpler -- you just have to know the template and the film number, not the entire URL. Admittedly, the template syntax may be new to many contributors, but once you see how it's done, it's quite easy.
  • It provides consistency and accuracy -- some people may start with an http://, while others may leave that off, or in a long URL they may make errors.
  • You can control the visual appearance globally -- you may choose to have FHLC references in a certain font or color, or accompanied by an image.
  • If desired, the template can automatically create categories for articles that contain such references.
  • And of course, there is the originally stated benefit of allowing the URL to change with one simple global change.


Of course a global search and replace to change the URLs would be possible, but you don't always know the context of a reference, and inconsistencies in references may make it a bit problematic. I would prefer that we embrace the power of the wiki engine. In this case, it will make the resulting content much better for all consumers of the content, at the cost of only a slight learning curve for the creators and editors of the content.

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Postby Thomas_Lerman » Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:41 am

Templates allow article writers to do those things that Alan enumerated so well. I was also thinking about the original holdings question that I posed. Depending on IF or HOW other holdings may be presented, a template may help give a different visual presentation in this case.

Using a different example, a template could allow the writers to include a list of all of the counties within a state. Why type those up all the time or be concerned with consistency? However, templates may not be the only way to do this, it is just an example.

One other benefit that I thought about that Alan alluded to is that an article writter does not even need to know the URL if they know about the template. If the best practices indicated to reference FHL film numbers using the template, they writer never needs to look up the URL.

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Simpler?

Postby ritcheymt-p40 » Mon Mar 31, 2008 12:54 pm

Alan_Brown wrote:A template for FHLC references would have multiple benefits:
  • In many ways it is simpler -- you just have to know the template and the film number, not the entire URL. Admittedly, the template syntax may be new to many contributors, but once you see how it's done, it's quite easy.


How is it simpler to have to know two things (the template and the film number) instead of one thing (the URL)?

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Accuracy

Postby ritcheymt-p40 » Mon Mar 31, 2008 12:59 pm

Alan_Brown wrote:A template for FHLC references would have multiple benefits:

[SNIP]
  • It provides consistency and accuracy -- some people may start with an http://, while others may leave that off, or in a long URL they may make errors.
[SNIP]


People can mess up film numbers and template codes, too. Either way, Wikipedia proves mistakes like that get fixed quickly by the community.

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System-generated category?

Postby ritcheymt-p40 » Mon Mar 31, 2008 1:09 pm

Alan_Brown wrote:A template for FHLC references would have multiple benefits:
[SNIP]
  • If desired, the template can automatically create categories for articles that contain such references.
[SNIP]


Could you give an example of a category you'd want the system to automatically create?

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Postby aebrown » Mon Mar 31, 2008 1:17 pm

ritcheymt wrote:How is it simpler to have to know two things (the template and the film number) instead of one thing (the URL)?


I guess it's a matter of opinion, but to my poor brain,

{{FHL|885209}}

looks simpler than

http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Libr...&filmno=885209


The template name should be something really simple, and once you know it, you reuse it. The film number is the only thing that changes. I can type the template reference from memory, once I know the film number -- I can't do that with the URL.

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Postby aebrown » Mon Mar 31, 2008 1:24 pm

ritcheymt wrote:People can mess up film numbers and template codes, too. Either way, Wikipedia proves mistakes like that get fixed quickly by the community.


I'm not so convinced. Wikipedia is riddled with mistakes, particularly on low-traffic pages. I have worked on wikis with low traffic, and you can't depend on the community to fix problems. The FamilySearch Wiki is a great idea, but you have to admit that many of the pages are going to have a small number of interested people -- the community of people interested in Southeastern Luxembourg during the Napoleonic era who know about and are dedicated enough to the FamilySearch wiki to make changes is just not that big. So anything you can do to lower the risks of mistakes is a good idea.

And on the consistency front, templates definitely help there. It's very difficult to find all the articles that may have a URL reference to a FHLC film in order to verify or create consistency, but using the template produces automatic consistency.

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Postby aebrown » Mon Mar 31, 2008 1:26 pm

ritcheymt wrote:Could you give an example of a category you'd want the system to automatically create?


One that immediately comes to mind is something like "Pages that refer to Family History Library films" -- it may or may not be desirable if the volume is too high, but adding categories is something that Wikipedia templates do quite often.

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Postby ritcheymt-p40 » Mon Mar 31, 2008 1:31 pm

Alan_Brown wrote:I'm not so convinced. Wikipedia is riddled with mistakes, particularly on low-traffic pages. I have worked on wikis with low traffic, and you can't depend on the community to fix problems. The FamilySearch Wiki is a great idea, but you have to admit that many of the pages are going to have a small number of interested people -- the community of people interested in Southeastern Luxembourg during the Napoleonic era who know about and are dedicated enough to the FamilySearch wiki to make changes is just not that big. So anything you can do to lower the risks of mistakes is a good idea.


I'm with you there; I just don't see how it's more complex to cut and paste a URL than it is to cut and paste a film number. Either way, you're clicking the same mouse keys or pressing the same buttons. The difference is this: Using the template solution, I'll probably choose to cut and paste the film number rather than the template code (I'm always transposing film numbers during my research). So since I'll cut and paste the film number, I will probably choose to enter the template code by hand. And my chances of errors when entering the template code are way higher than my chances of errors in pasting a FHLC URL.

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Postby ritcheymt-p40 » Mon Mar 31, 2008 1:34 pm

Alan_Brown wrote:One that immediately comes to mind is something like "Pages that refer to Family History Library films" -- it may or may not be desirable if the volume is too high, but adding categories is something that Wikipedia templates do quite often.


Oh, so you're not talking about the system generating a new category; you're talking about the system associating a known category to any page where a given template is used.


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