Friday, March 11, 2011

Contributing to the FamilySearch Research Wiki -- Do's and Don'ts

http://In  the past week over a thousand articles have been contributed to the FamilySearch Research Wiki. But there are still huge areas of the Wiki that lack detailed information. A wiki, by its nature, is a collaborative website. Everyone is invited to register and contribute information. In addition to the thousands of articles with genealogical research information and links, the Research Wiki also contains its entire operating manual of instructions, principles and policies.

Every genealogist has some specialized information about records or some location that would benefit others. The Wiki is designed expressly for the purpose of sharing this unique personal information with others. As you browse the pages or search for specific information, you may see incomplete or inaccurate entries. All registered users have an automatic invitation to make changes to the Wiki. To make those changes you first need to register. If you already have an LDS Account or a FamilySearch Account, you are already registered. If not, you can click on the "Sign in." Registrations is simple and you can use your login and password for all of the FamilySearch websites.

Once you are registered and sign in, we strongly suggest you go to your User Page. If you look at the right side of the Wiki screen you will see a list of topics. Click on the one that says "Personal Tools" and then click on your login name. This will take you to your own User page. You can edit the page any way you like (within reason and appropriate to the Wiki). I suggest you put up some basic information about your background so you can relate to the other Wiki contributors. You are welcome to go to my User Page for an example. Just type "jamestanner' into the search field and select the User:Jamestanner link.

Now, you are ready to contribute. You should read the Contributor Guidelines however. Search on "Contributor guidelines" or here is the link. Please take the time to read each of the individual guidelines. You may also want to read some of the basic introductory material about how to make edits and changes to the Wiki. Although this seems simple, the Wiki is so dynamic that there is plenty to keep you busy and interested. You may also wish to view the Wiki Contributors Corner in the Forums.

Now something about the don'ts. Don't add personal family history, biographies, pedigrees or other family information to the Wiki. If you have any questions about what is appropriate see the FamilySearch Wiki:Purpose and Appropriate Topics page. Please have the courtesy to follow the guidelines. If you look down the list of things that are not appropriate you will also see that the Wiki is not a place for advertising products or services.

Please think seriously about helping with the Wiki. It is currently growing at a fantastic rate and is the most extensive and helpful resource on the Internet for genealogy already, but you and I can make it even better.

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