WeRelate Naming Conventions

As you wander around in WeRelate, you’ll notice patterns in how things are named. These naming conventions make it easier to design the programming to support the site’s functionality – especially with the all-important search engine. They also let us know at a glance what we are looking at. Here are some page name examples to show you what I mean:

  • Person:John Barker (11)
  • Family:John Barker and Linnie Blake (1)
  • Place:Holland, Chattooga, Georgia, United States
  • Source:Chattooga, Georgia, United States. 1920 Census Population Schedule
  • User:moultriecreek
  • Image:ChattoogaBarkers0001.png
  • Portal:Cemetery
  • Repository:Family History Center

Are you beginning to see the pattern here? Every name begins with a namespace. A namespace is a programming term defining a category of information. By looking at the first example, we know right off that it’s referring to a specific person while the second refers to a family.

What comes after the namespace (besides the colon) depends on the type of namespace. For each person in WeRelate, their page name displays only their first given name and their surname. The number in parentheses in my case shows that my John Barker was the 11th John Barker added to WeRelate. When you visit his page, you will find that his full name is John Thomas Barker. This may take a bit of time and effort for us humans to get used to, but the machines managing all this information understand it just fine.

You usually don’t have to worry about creating a page name. When you create a new person or family page, you enter the given names and surnames into the page’s data entry form and the system will generate the page name for you. Places are quite simple too. Start with the smallest entity and move out from there. In my example above, I’m referring to the community of Holland in Chattooga County, in the state of Georgia which is in the United States. With “Holland” and “Georgia” also being the names of countries, this system helps keep everything in perspective.

Naming conventions are important to limit duplications. Most of the steps to creating a new page in WeRelate involve a search to see if the page already exists. That’s a whole lot easier to do when there is a standard format for naming things.

Which leads me to sources. Yes, we all cringe at that word. Because there are so many variables, sources are the most difficult to name. As a result, there’s an on-going effort at WeRelate to consolidate duplicate source records. There is a section within the WeRelate Help files dedicated to naming source pages. Read it. Bookmark it so you can get to it easily for a quick reference. This is probably one of the most important pages in WeRelate’s help system.

Standardized page titles also make it easy to get to that page within WeRelate. For example, the actual URL to the Help:Source page titles page is http://www.werelate.org/wiki/Help:Source_page_titles. Not bad, huh? It makes it easier to search for things when you know how they are named. And, it helps prevent duplication of people, places and things within the platform. Since there are more than 2 million people pages residing here, all these things are important. Spend some time getting familiar with WeRelate’s naming conventions and you’ll soon discover how useful they are.

What’s up next? Sources! We’ll look at how to craft a source page and why that time and effort is so worthwhile. See you next week!