Monday, May 10, 2010

Adding to the Encyclopedia of Genealogy

Dick Eastman created the Encyclopedia of Genealogy ( several years ago in a wiki format, and it is very useful. The index contains many genealogical terms, acronyms, and other articles.

Have you used the Encyclopedia of Genealogy? Have you ever wondered what Accoucheur, Cadastral, and Henry Numbers are? There are plenty more terms on the list! Over 800, in fact!

The home page says:

"Welcome to the Encyclopedia of Genealogy, a free-content encyclopedia created by its readers, people like you. The Encyclopedia of Genealogy is available to everyone, free of charge. Everyone can also contribute information, again free of charge."

Here is the home page of the Encyclopedia of Genealogy:

Clicking on the "Index" link in the left sidebar brings up the Index - with links to first letters and a long list of all of the articles in the encyclopedia:

I was working on my CGSSD presentation (next Saturday, 15 May, more later!) about Wikis for Genealogy and include the Encyclopedia of Genealogy in my talk. I wanted to show how easy it was to create an entry in this wiki, so I chose to create an entry for one of my local genealogical societies, so I registered as a new user with a name, email address and a password, and was quickly into the edit screen.

I added "content" about the Chula Vista Genealogical Society into the editing box, which has word processing like icons and features). When I was done, I typed in the Captcha, and hit the "Save and Close" button.

Unfortunately, I made some mistakes in my typing, and had to correct my page several times. Then John Cardinal came along and changed my "*" to letters for numbering (e.g., "a."), and deleted some duplicate text that I had not seen. The changes to my entry can be seen on the screen below:

The user can see how the entry was changed by each person using the "Diff" link, which displays the current and previous entry and highlights the differences.

The finished product (for now, until someone adds to it!) looks like this:

This was so easy that even a complete, blithering blogger like me can edit and add information. I made some mistakes, but there are monitors to correct them, or to delete spam or vandalism edits.

If YOU have helpful information on any genealogical topic, I encourage you to add content to this Encyclopedia in order to expand knowledge, and to gain experience in using Wikis for Genealogy.

I was surprised that there were very few biographical entries in the Encyclopedia - I saw Elizabeth Shown Mills but not Dick Eastman, Megan Smolenyak, David Rencher and other notable genealogists.

I was also surprised that some of the information on some topics was outdated. For instance, the entry for Find a Grave says that there are 13 million entries, when the site now claims 44 million. The entry for indicates 3 billion records in 4,000 databases, when they currently have over 29,000 databases.

Another local society, the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego has an entry in the Encyclopedia of Genealogy, but the San Diego Genealogical Society does not.

If the entry leads researchers to the Chula Vista Genealogical Society web page, the Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe blog, or to society meetings, then the 15 minutes of effort will be well worth it.

My question now is "will the entry show up on Google and other search engines?" It doesn't show up on Google yet.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"I was also surprised that some of the information on some topics was outdated."

Did you edit the wiki to improve these articles? That's the power of the wiki - when you find something needing improvement, you can (and should) do so.