Example page

From The Brighton Toy and Model Index

This is an example of how to lay out a wiki page for the Toy Museum's Knowledge Bank. The opening paragraph of a page should be a good self-contained summary of what the page is about. The key concept or subject should normally be in the first sentence, and in bold text (this is not a particularly good example of an opening paragraph!). Subsequent paragraphs can provide more detail for anyone who wants to read further, ideally divided into sections with headings.

The pages are generated by a piece of software called MediaWiki, which is primarily designed for Wikipedia, but is also available for other organisations to use. The conventions used on this Wiki are based on those of Wikipedia, with a few notable exceptions (which are mostly to do with citations and links).

House style

Styling is based on the Wikipedia Manual of Style.

We do have a few departures from Wikipedia's styling - we include the domain name in brackets in our external links, we don't use inline references (because they're complicated)

Use lower-case for page titles and headings by default (apart from the first letter), unless something is a proper noun, like an official product name.

Headings and subheadings

Using headings is a good way to break up a block of text into manageable chunks. It also provides an overview of the page contents, helps the reader to find information, and helps them decide whether they want to continue reading the rest of the page, or go elsewhere. Subheadings also help Google to analyse a page's contents, and earns the site Google rankings for having well-structured content.

Subheadings can also be linked to directly, by adding a hash ("#") and the heading name to the end of a URL. However, people don't use this much, because those links will break if a heading is renamed of deleted.

Once a page has several headings, it will often generate a table of contents automatically. You can suppress this by including the text "NOTOC" surrounded by pairs of underscores "__XX__"

Formatting

If you want to know how to produce a particular formatting effect you can either check the MediaWiki Wiki (see: links section), or just look at another page either here or on Wikipedia, and use edit mode to see how it was done.

Using external links

It's taken as read that we're using primary sources (such as manufacturer catalogues) and multiple sources where possible. We don't require contributors to cite where every single little bit of information comes from, and we use links more to provide useful and interesting sites that a reader might like to visit (and to pass traffic on to useful sites that have earned it) rather than than as a way of supporting assertions.

We don't tend to link to Wikipedia pages, unless a wp page is exceptionally useful, and is notably better than what's available elsewhere (which is the case with wp's pages on some locomotive classes, which sometimes provide full listings of locos in a class that don't appear to be available elsewhere). We don't avoid linking to Wikipedia because the site is bad, it's more because wp info is usually taken from other outside pages, and the original authors of those pages deserve the traffic. It's also more interesting for readers if a page displays a variety of of useful and interesting "niche" sites rather than a single homogenised source. Locos and planes often have their own enthusiast groups, conservation groups, historical sites, picture sites, and so on, and the Pathe site has old video, and it's usually easy to find sites that are either about the toy or about the original.

If we didn't have this "Avoid Wikipedia" rule, the tendency would be to link to wp on every single wiki page, and things would quickly get tedious and boring. Readers are quite capable of finding Wikipedia themselves if they want another overview of the subject. Writers should certainly check Wikipedia to see what other people are writing on a subject, but part of the purpose of the wiki is to produce material that has the museum's own distinctive "voice", so we put more of an emphasis on information and overviews that aren't already available elsewhere.

On the occasions where we decide that Wikipedia has a page that's so good that we can't not include it, we put that link at the bottom of the list, so that readers are more likely to visit the other sites first.

Categories

If you put the text "Category:My Category" inside double square brackets, MediaWiki will add that category to the bottom of the page. If the category doesn't exist yet, the link will be red.

If you instead want to link to a category, you can override the default behaviour by adding a colon to the front (inside the square brackets), giving the link Category:MyCategory. However, we've put lots of extra "redirect" pages onto the wiki so that popular categories can normally be linked to simply just the bare category name (like "Dinky").

Templates

MediaWiki is customisable with Templates. These are special pages that are designed to be embedded in other pages, and they are useful for boilerplate text that get reused a lot, and for page names and category names that are linked to on many pages, but which might need changing or renaming at some point. You call a template by putting its name inside pairs of squiggly brackets {{}}.

For example, we have a template called "Dinky", which when called, will automatically add a list of categories to the end of a page, including the "Dinky" category. If we subsequently decide to rename the "Dinky" category to "Dinky Toys", all we have to do is edit this one template page, and all those hundreds of entries will automatically be updated to the new name. Before you copy the style of a page to create a new page it's worth checking how much of that style is generated by templates rather than by hand-typed text.

We use templates a lot to create our standard information boxes, such as the "Exhibits" box, and the "Display Area" box. With the help of a few items of information, such as cabinet number and shelf number, these templates automatically generate a standard set of links and categories and maps and crosslinks on any page that includes them.

See also:

References

  • Firstname Lastname, Book Title (Publisher Name, Year) ISBN 0123456789 - optional extra info

Use ten-digit ISBN numbers, without spaces or hashes, and double-check the number by typing it into Google - sometimes even publishers get the numbers wrong

External links

Linking format

Information