Adding Or Modifying An Entry In The Gazetteer


Version 3


Source files

Searches on the Gazetteer are performed on a central MySQL database using SQL queries. Changes made by maintainers are not made to the central database itself, but to source files which are used collectively to update the database at regular intervals or when the need arises.

The source files consist of comma separated text files named CCCplaces.csv, where CCC is the upper case 3-letter Chapman County code. The county's CCCplaces.csv file is held in the filestore of the genuki.org.uk server to which a symbolic link is provided in the home directory of the county's gazetteer maintainer. Note that the county's gazetteer maintainer need not be the same person as the county maintainer. Contact the system administrator if you have a problem locating your CCCplaces.csv file.

Database creation/update

A program is run by the system administrator to collect all the county CCCplaces.csv files and update/build the gazetteer.

Updating the gazetteer

Refer to the definition of gazetteer fields for details of what to enter in each field.

Use an editor to update the places.csv file for your county. A simple text editor will be adequate, but it might be easier to use a spreadsheet editor if you have one available. Don't forget to save the updated file back in its original csv format.

To add a new entry, simply insert a new empty line in the file and add the new entry. The file should be sorted by placename so locate the right point in the file for the new entry.

To modify an existing entry, locate the entry and edit the fields that need changing, taking care to use the correct flags - some of these are not obvious, so look at similar entries to get the right values.

Improving the gazetteer

There are some tasks that county maintainers should undertake to improve the gazetteer. It may well be worthwhile recruiting a competent volunteer to do the bulk of the work but quality control procedures will be needed, and cooperation to ensure the correct URLs are used on the entries.

  • Approximate locations. When the gazetteer was generated initially, the entries contained only approximate locations. For England, Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man the entries only specified the kilometre square on the map in which to find them, and some entries remain in this state. Maintainers need to find a more exact location for the places in the gazetteer marked as approximate. The statistics page has a link for each county, listing all the places with an approximate location, with links to find them on online maps. Replace the approximate grid reference (GRIDREF) with an exact value, and change the APPROX field to "No" to indicate it's no longer approximate. This will lead to an improved visual display for readers and users, because in some current cases, the place isn't near the centre of the map and, occasionally, it is off the screen.
  • Incorrect locations. There are some locations that are completely wrong so these do need correcting.

    A useful method is to ensure you have a Nearby Places link at the top of town and parish pages. Use that to identify the places that have approximate locations ('~' is shown on the distance value). Click on the grid reference to show the online map and use the point and click interfaces these provide to get an exact location. There is a minor disadvantage in that the place names on maps are placed in the nearest empty space so some judgement is required and hopefully some local knowledge. For large places such as towns and cities, the town centre is a good choice for the exact location. For smaller places such as villages the location of the parish church is a useful alternative.

  • Missing URL. There will be a number of places that don't have a URL in their gazetteer entry. Add one for the appropriate town or parish page for the area in which the place is located. If it is a primary town or parish page then you will need to set the PRIME field to "Yes" to indicate that this is the primary entry for the relevant town or parish. Every place in the gazetteer should have a URL specified which directs the user to a page which may contain information about the place. We don't need a page for every place name in the gazetteer and the URL will normally be that of the town or parish page covering the area in which this place is located. The statistics page has a link for each county, listing all the places without a URL field.

  • Missing places. Compare the places.csv file with your list of towns and parishes. Add any towns or parishes that aren't in the places.csv file.

  • New places. Add the larger places that don't have a town or parish page of their own. Two sources which you could use for possible additions (which are also likely to be the sorts of names for which users will search) are the 1891 census database (search it on registration district names), and Brett Langston's places in registration districts.

  • More new places. If you have your own gazetteer, find the additional entries it has in comparison to the GENUKI gazetteer, then add them to the GENUKI gazetteer.

  • Places on maps. Get out your maps, and go over the county section by section, adding in the places you find missing from the GENUKI gazetteer.

  • County boundaries. Take a look at the statistics page to see if there are additional entries that need adding to a county or which need evaluating to see if they are in your county.

Copyright warning

It would be a breach of copyright/database right to systematically copy placenames and grid references from a map or gazetteer that is in copyright. NPE OS maps are a useful additional source that is out of copyright and can be found at: http://www.npemap.org.uk/