GENUKI Maintainers' Pages
Hints And Help For Beginners
Choose your HTML editor carefully
Because of the problems that have occurred using a WYSIWYG HTML editor to generate GENUKI pages, beginners might benefit from some advice. A WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) HTML editor is one that presents web pages in their final, displayable, form for editing often using commands and mouse movements to place or move text and/or images. Such editors generate HTML which ensures that the page, when presented on the web, looks very similar to the form displayed when editing.
However, they usually have problems:
- Production of extremely verbose HTML (e.g. extra, redundant, tags such as "FONT FACE= SIZE="). This increases the size of web pages (typically doubling them in size) so you can fit fewer pages into the same amount of webspace, and pages are slower for readers to download.
- Production of browser-specific HTML (e.g. constructs only supported by recent versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer)
- Production of valid HTML but not standard to GENUKI (e.g. "FONT SIZE" instead of "H2", "H3" etc.)
- Destruction of existing constructs when a GENUKI page is loaded and resaved
For these reasons, many maintainers avoid using WYSIWYG editors and instead make use of an HTML-aware text editor. However, many WYSIWYG editors can be used in such a way to create satisfactory GENUKI pages. This is why it is important that GENUKI maintainers have a basic understanding of HTML and the web, allowing them to identify and fix problems. In addition to this they need to be confident with directory structure management (to set up and maintain web pages) and FTP (to upload web pages to their web server).
If you are planning to use a WYSIWYG editor it would be wise to seek advice from existing GENUKI volunteers on potential pitfalls, and how to avoid them. Some relevant advice is also available from the maintainers' page on the subject of maintenance software.
Ideas for locating information for reference from GENUKI
The web is now a primary source of local information and, once you know where to look, it's relatively easy to find. Here we list some of the ways that have been found for locating relevant information. Of course, don't forget the famous web search engines like Google and Yahoo. If you search for a particular place name you will probably get too many hits, but with experience you will find the search terms to use to get what you want. In particular the tourist/local information and local government ones are particularly useful sources.
The suggestions that follow are grouped by location in the GENUKI hierarchy, under the appropriate subject headings to use on the pages. The links are those that contain information for any location within the specified subject and don't indicate where the link should sit in the GENUKI hiearchy. Have a search round each link as some have quite a lot of information and it's not always immediately obvious where to go.
Archives And Libraries
The relevant county record offices - their holdings are usually partly, if not completely, catalogued on their own web sites and/or Access to Archives (A2A).
Mike Harbach (Staffordshire) suggests adding Bibliography sections to county parish pages by searching the on line British Library catalogue at http://catalogue.bl.uk. However, note that the bibliography subject heading covers bibliographies of material about the area of the page, and specific books should be listed under the appropriate subject headings.
Brett Langston has provided and maintains a list of townships and places in each district by county.
Local History Magazine have a list of local history societies for each county.
- Look at Family History Society material, but respect copyright and don't just copy their information to GENUKI. Look at their book list and, for example, under the Census heading put a list of the indexes published, and piece number, with links where appropriate to the society.
- Find out where the Local Studies information is held, and add it to Archives and libraries.
- Under Probate give details for locating pre-1858 wills (England & Wales).
- Under cemeteries put details of all the cemeteries and churches which have or had graveyards. If you can get dates of when they were in use so much the better.
- The old directories such as Kelly and Barrett are mines of useful information. They often have dates when churches etc were founded and other information specific to a particular town.
When you think you've finished
Before uploading your pages to the web please check all links. If you choose to run a link checker, either on your own computer, or using a service available on the internet, there is further advice available on which products and services are available on the maintenance software page.
If you have any links between pages, say from a county page to a parish page, it is better to use relative links where possible:
For example, if you want to place a link from file "a.html" to another file "b.html" and both files are stored in the same directory, you should use a link of the form:
<a href="b.html">myLink</a>instead of something like:
Relative links like the first one are shorter, allow you to test your links offline on your own computer and are a great help if your pages ever have to move somewhere else.
It is also a good idea to read through your pages carefully before uploading, possibly even reading them out loud to check that they make sense. It is easy when typing to miss out a letter, or transpose two letters. A quick read through can pick up on that. It may also be wise to make careful use of a spell-checker.
It's optional to include a What's New page with your county, so, when you have uploaded the new version of parish pages please ensure that the changes are added to your What's New page, if it exists. See the advisory technical standards page for advice on What's New pages.
After uploading your pages you should continue to maintain them, adding new information as it comes to light and correcting any mistakes which are pointed out to you. As time goes on, your pages will gradually evolve into a detailed information resource and will be of benefit to many researchers all over the world, thanks to your valuable contribution.