User:Cos1776/Proposed Revision to Help:Categories



Page in Progress

Below is a proposed overhaul of the Help:Categories page. Please bear in mind that I have purposefully written it with a novice user in mind, so you may find the language a little simple at times. I welcome comments and suggestions on the Talk page here. Thank you, --Cos1776 23:26, 20 November 2013 (UTC)

Have a question about the Category feature that is not answered here or ideas about how we can make better use of Categories at WeRelate? Post it to the Talk page (look to your left).

About the Category feature

What is "Category" and Why Would I Use It?

"Category" is a wiki feature that allows you to group together pages (also called articles) which share a similar characteristic and to display them together on the same page, appropriately called a "Category page". Categories are used to help readers quickly navigate around pages which have something in common and, in the case of genealogy, to provide insight or clues into the lives of our ancestors.

Examples: Category:Signers of U.S. Declaration of Independence ; Category:Society of Governor William Bradford Descendants ; Category:Proprietors of Nantucket ; Category:7th Illinois Infantry (Civil War)

How are Categories Created?

The wiki software has been programmed to automatically create some Categories, while others are created manually by WeRelate users. Here are some examples:

As you can see, automatic Category generation is dependent upon content being added to the pages, so it is important to add sourced facts and locations (and even best guesses) to your Person and Family pages.

How can I tell if a Page has been Categorized?

Different wikis handle this in different ways. At WeRelate, if a page has been categorized, a blue (or red) link to the Category page will appear in a pale blue box at the bottom of the page. Just like other wiki links, blue signifies that the Category exists (i.e. the Category page has been edited) and red signifies that the Category page does not yet exist (i.e. the Category page has not yet been edited).

Example: THIS page you are reading now is in the existing Category:Help, so a blue link to that Category page appears. If you wanted to see a list of all the pages currently in Category:Help, you could simply click on that link and go to that page.

Likewise, if there is NO Category link (and NO pale blue box) displayed, then the page has not been categorized. For a list of all non-Person or Family WeRelate pages which have not been categorized, see Special:Uncategorizedpages.

How can I find existing Categories?

Finding a specific Category

To search for a specific Category or group of similar Categories, Search WeRelate, where Namespace = Category and Keywords are used to narrow the results.

Example: Search WeRelate, where Namespace = Category and Keywords = "senator", returns 30 hits for existing Categories for Senators.

Viewing all existing Categories

Alternatively, if you want to see a quick Master List of all existing WeRelate categories (or if you have a lot of time to kill), you can peruse the Special:Categories page by clicking on the word "Category" in the pale blue box at the bottom of a page.

Using the Category feature

What types of pages can be categorized?

Any page with a text box can be categorized.

How do I put a page into a Category? == or create a Category for a page?

These two questions have been combined, because the effective use of the Category feature is dependent upon a little forethought on the part of the WeRelate users. Before creating a new Category or categorizing your page, please follow these steps:

Step One: Find out if the Category already exists.

There are already many active Categories and Category hierarchies on WeRelate, so before you reinvent the wheel, spend a few minutes to check if a Category similar to yours already exists. Do this by performing a WeRelate Search, where Namespace = Category, and Keywords are used to narrow your search.

Example: Suppose I wanted to create a category for Mississippi Governors. A WeRelate Search with Namespace = Category and Keywords = "governor mississippi" immediately lets me know that Category:Governors of Mississippi already exists. I do not need to create another one.
Example: Suppose I have an ancestor who fought in the 2nd Infantry Ohio in the Civil War and I want to group him with other soldiers who did the same? A WeRelate Search with Namespace = Category and Keywords = "Civil War" returns 1248 hits. I want to narrow it down, so I add the Keyword "Ohio" and now I get 132 hits. I could wade through these, but I decide to narrow it down even further by adding the Keyword "2", and I get 5 hits from which I can see that Category:2nd Ohio Infantry (Civil War) already exists.
Searching Tips: It is better to cast your net wide (i.e. use "Virginia" instead of "Augusta, Virginia" or "governor" instead of "United States governor"). If your first search turns up empty, remember to try different combinations of Keywords and to use "Exact, close, & partial" instead of "Exact match only".

Step Two: Create a Category link.

"Categorizing a page" simply means telling the wiki software to create a link between your page and the desired Category page by entering a line of code onto the page. It does not matter if the Category page exists or does not exist at this point - the steps to create the link are the same.

The code line is [[Category:Category name|Sortkey]] , where

Category name = the title of the Category page. The title is unique, so pay attention to spelling, capitalization and phrasing.
Sortkey = an optional parameter that controls the display on the Category page. Without a Sortkey, the default sort order is alphabetical by first letter of the wiki page title, including the Namespace if applicable. A Sortkey tells the Category page to sort using an alternative value. Usually for most Person pages, a Sortkey of "Surname, Firstname" is used.
Example: [[Category:3rd Maine Infantry (Civil War)|Dodge, Stephen]] tells the Category page to list article Person:Stephen Dodge (1) under "D" for "Dodge" instead of the default "P" for "Person".

You can enter the code manually or by using a template or function.

  • To enter code manually: Standard wiki practice is to enter the code at the bottom of the main text box of your page. The code will not appear on the page once the edits are saved.
Example: Adding [[Category:5th Indiana Cavalry (Civil War)|Bell, James]] to the main text box on Person:James Bell (9), created one Category link at the bottom of his page which placed his page into Category:5th Indiana Cavalry (Civil War).
  • To enter code using a template: Several templates have been created which can also be used to create a Category link. Please see their pages for more information on how and when to use them:
  • Template:Category
  • Template:CategorySorted
  • (... others?)

Once you have entered the code, save the page as usual and look at the new Category link at the bottom of your page.

  • If the link is BLUE, you have successfully linked to an existing Category page.
  • If the link is RED, it simply means that you have linked to a Category page that does not yet exist or you have made a mistake in specifying the exact Category name for an existing category. If you made a mistake, no worries. Just check the Category name again, edit the page to correct the mistake, and your link should turn BLUE.

Step Three. Create a Category page (if necessary).


Can I put a page into more than one Category?

Absolutely. Many pages are linked to multiple Categories. Simply follow Steps 1 & 2 above again for each Category to which you would like to link.

Can I edit the Categories on a given page?

Software-generated Categories cannot be edited, but user-generated ones can. BUT be careful about editing or removing manually added Categories. Someone put it there for a reason. Use the page's History link to find out who added it and when, and communicate with them before doing anything.

Working with Category pages

What is a Category page?


How are Category pages organized?

Note: The hierarchy for Category pages is designed by the user, so care should be taken to ensure that the structure is meaningful and consistent and does not duplicate the efforts of others.

At WeRelate, Category pages are organized in a nested form with the TOP LEVEL page called "Category:Contents". All other Category pages will either be a subcategory of the TOP LEVEL, known as a "LEVEL 1 Subcategory" or a subcategory of some other Category page, known as "LEVEL 2, 3, 4, etc. Subcategories".

Note: The TOP LEVEL is the only level in the hierarchy that can not be changed by a user. The nesting of pages from LEVEL 1 down can be changed fairly easily, but users SHOULD NOT change the nesting structure without prior approval of the original user(s).

As of this writing (21 Nov 2013) the first couple of levels is as follows:

TOP LEVEL Category:Contents (contains 3 subcategories)

  1. LEVEL 1 Category:Administrative content (contains 6 subcategories)
    1. LEVEL 2 (see LEVEL 1 page for list)
  2. LEVEL 1 Category:Genealogical content (contains 7 subcategories)
    1. LEVEL 2 Category:Genealogical Methods (contains 44 articles)
    2. LEVEL 2 Category:Places (contains 13 subcategories & 2 articles)
    3. LEVEL 2 Category:Repositories (contains 5 subcategories)
    4. LEVEL 2 Category:Sources (contains 36 subcategories)
    5. LEVEL 2 Category:Special Projects (contains 20 subcategories & 23 articles)
    6. LEVEL 2 Category:Surnames (contains more than 200 subcategories)
    7. LEVEL 2 Category:Transcript (contains 15 articles)
  3. LEVEL 1 Category:WeRelate Projects (contains 25 articles)

It is a good idea to spend some time navigating the category hierarchy to familiarize yourself with the structure. Some categories are heavily nested.

Example: Category:43rd Alabama Infantry (Civil War), is a LEVEL 8 subcategory of
Category:Alabama Civil War veterans, which is a LEVEL 7 subcategory of
Category:American Civil War veterans, which is a LEVEL 6 subcategory of
Category:Veterans, which is a LEVEL 5 subcategory of
Category:Service members, which is a LEVEL 4 subcategory of
Category:Military, which is a LEVEL 3 subcategory of
Category:Sources, which is a LEVEL 2 subcategory of
Category:Genealogical content, which is a LEVEL 1 subcategory of
Category:Contents, the TOP LEVEL Category.

For a list of orphan categories with no parent - see Special:Uncategorizedcategories.

For a manually maintained list of Level 1 & 2 Subcategories which allows users to monitor the upper levels of the category hierarchy by watching the page - see WeRelate:Category index.

OLD - Can I add text manually to a category page?

Yes, you can edit the area that appears above the automatically-generated list of subcategories and/or pages simply by clicking on the Edit button. Here are examples of Category pages that have been edited:
  • Example One
  • Example Two

Items below are from the previous revision which may need to be included

Which categories are automatically generated?

The bulk of categories currently used are automatically generated by the WeRelate software. They include
  • (Surname) in (Place) - i.e., Smith in California. The system examines the location fields, and automatically creates category pages when a surname is identified with a place name
  • Research guides - if you ever create a page where "Resource guide" or "Resource Guide" is in the title, WeRelate automatically adds this category name.

How can I categorize the surname categories on the bottom of my Person and Family pages?

The Surname and Surname in Place categories that appear at the bottom of Person and Family pages are automatically generated. If the categories appear in red, you can place them in the proper "parent category".

  • For Surname in Place categories at the State-level such as Category:Smith in North Carolina, place the following text on the category page (substituting the appropriate Surname and State that is in upper-case):
[[Category:SURNAME in United States|*STATE]]
[[Category:Surnames in STATE]]
For our Category:Smith in North Carolina example, this would look like:
[[Category:Smith in United States|*North Carolina]]
[[Category:Surnames in North Carolina]]
  • For Surname in Place categories at the Country-level, such as Category:Smith in United States, place the following text on the category page (substituting the appropriate Surname and Country that is in upper-case):
[[Category:SURNAME surname|*COUNTRY]]
[[Category:Surnames in COUNTRY]]
For our Category:Smith in United States example, this would look like:
[[Category:Smith surname|*United States]]
[[Category:Surnames in the United States]]

When shouldn't I create a category page?

Some of the automatically-generated surname-in-place categories are incorrect (don't follow the accepted format) due to an old bug. For example, Category:Calkins in MA should be Category:Calkins in Massachusetts. Eventually we'll have a process that will correct the automatically-generated categories. In the meantime, if you edit and save the page you should notice that the automatically-generated categories are corrected.

Pages for these incorrect categories do not need to be created. Similarly, pages for the automatically-generated "Unknown surname" categories are not worth creating either.

Categories should not be created for personal collections of pages. Tree are the appropriate way to create such collections. Categories should be used for more universally-defined collections.

Linking to Category Pages

  • Categories are different when it comes to linking to them.
    • A normal link such as [[Category:page name]] puts the page into that category, with a link to the category appearing at the bottom of the page.
    • If you just want to link to a category, you can put a colon before the word category, as in [[:Category:page name]].
  • Category – Add Category to Article:
    • [[Category:Category Name]]
  • Category – Link to Category:
    • [[:Category:Category Name]]
  • Category – Sort:
    • [[Category:People|Einstein, Albert]]

[Reminder: Before going live, add Category:Help back in]