Now that we’ve looked at the major components in WeRelate, it’s time to see how all this can come together for research and collaboration. We each have our own research style, so I’m throwing out a list of ideas that you can choose to incorporate into your style or adjust to fit it.
- Do you want to get your feet wet, but are afraid of inadvertently deleting something important? No problem, experiment to your heart’s desire in the Sandbox site. This is a duplicate of the main site created just for users who want to practice something before they put it in place on the live site. There’s also a Sandbox page in the Help section used to get you comfortable with the wiki editor.
- The Surname in Place pages (example: Barker in Chattooga, Georgia, United States) make a great place to not only document useful resources, but also maintain your research log and todo list for the group.
- Follow the links at the bottom of any page to other pages associated with this one. My Surname in Place page links to the Barker Surname page, the Chattooga County page and the Barker in Georgia page. A little browsing in these related pages might hook you up with others researching your family or places.
- Your own User page is a great place to bookmark WeRelate pages associated with your research. Not only does it make it easier for you to move within the platform, but it lets other researchers see at a glance which families and places you are researching.
- Watch pages related to your research. Just click the Watch link in the sidebar (shown as Unwatch here) of any page. In this example, you can see I am watching this page. Click on my username in the sidebar and you will be taken to my User page. This is a great way to find – and be found by – research cousins. Also, when you watch a page, you will be notified when anyone makes a change to that page.
- Take advantage of the growing number of portals and research guides available within WeRelate. You’ll find research guides covering a broad range of topics – from ethnic groups and historical events to cemeteries and sources. Check both the watchers and contributors (by looking at the page’s History) to find possible collaborators.
- As you discover research resources online, add them to the appropriate place pages or research guides so others can find them too. Every addition adds value to the entire community.
- You can use article pages to include additional content related to your people and places. One group has included pages as a notebook for a significant family or to provide analysis of their research.
WeRelate offers a tremendous amount of flexibility, adjusting to your research style rather than forcing you into a style you may find awkward. The toughest adjustment is learning the wiki editor, but even that will quickly become second nature. Few platforms offer the potential to connect and collaborate like those found here. So what’s stopping you?
See you on WeRelate!