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Discussion in 'Forums Help & Notices' started by Kent, Nov 6, 2019.
How do I post a new Encyclopedia article in the Miscellaneous/Miscellany category?
Categories are general indexes that can contain many articles and articles, in turn may belong to many categories. You can select or create categories at the time you create the article.
Areas are similar to sections of the library where the articles are held. Each article is in only one area. Areas are created by the person who administers the Encyclopedia (currently me but looking for someone better qualified and with more time).
We do not currently have a miscellaneous content area but I can create one if we need it. I do not think miscellaneous is a very good category name in the way we use them, since they are normally used to search for material.
Since we have not had an Encyclopedia Administrator since Richard Watkins resigned over 10 years ago, the are many parts of the encyclopedia that need some tender loving care. I can either fix most problems or get help from Pegasus, who wrote the software, to repair whatever is broken.
On one of our software transitions, some content was lost and one sees a mess of symbols when opening the article. In almost all cases the content is available in the archive, where it was stored before the software transition, and can be restored to this site.
Here's the article; I think it belongs in the Miscellaneous/Miscellany category and would appreciate it if you would create the area. However, I'm open to suggestions as to where it might better reside.
Finding and Downloading Items for Research and Posting
Purpose of this ArticlePeople who are curious enough about an item or subject will eventually try looking it up. Most of them are satisfied by the first few pages of Google 'hits' (including a Wikipedia article or two). This article was written to assist those few who, because many answers simply lead to more questions, want to know more. The intent is to guide people to authoritative primary and secondary source material. If you expect to share your information with others (or even if you don’t), it is important to document your sources. Thus, it is also a purpose of this article to describe how to accomplish 'easy' documentation. More advanced, computer literate readers are asked to excuse the fact that this article is written in (what may seem to be) an overly detailed manner; it is intended to assist computer novices.
Historical Means of Searching for MaterialThe following is included here because it is still a valid, viable, means of research. Historically (in pre-internet days), the first thing one did at the beginning of a search was to check an encyclopedia. This almost always involved a trip to a local library because even if you were fortunate enough to have an encyclopedia at home, it probably didn't have enough (or any) detailed information; you were going to have to widen your search. Many libraries had two important resources; copies of the Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature and microfilms of the New York Times (and possibly other important newspapers and periodicals).
Searching TodayToday, thanks to the internet and the organizations that are scanning (digitizing) materials in a way that is keyword-searchable, we can search for our desired subjects quickly and easily from our desktop computers or portable devices. To do so, here are some search engines that have proved to be useful. It is important to understand that new material (from old publications) is being digitized on a daily basis. So re-searching after six months or a year may yield additional material.
Google Books Advanced Search
Google News Archive
Library of Congress Chronicling America Advanced Search
California Digital Newspaper Collection
New York State Historic Newspapers
A Note About KeywordsChoosing useful keywords for which to search is a skill worth developing; too general and one ends up with an immense number of 'hits' through which to sort; too specific and desirable material might be missed. For example, if you're searching for material about the Burlington Watch Company, try using "Burlington Watch" or "Burlington Watch Co" (no period). Of course you can expect a lot of 'hits' for ads with something like this - the Burlington Watch Company advertised widely and heavily. But then ads are useful for telling at what point in time various products are introduced.
Once Found - Saving A Copy of the MaterialIf the material you wish a copy of is hardcopy (an actual book, magazine or newspaper), obviously you'll use a copy machine - very few libraries have scanners for public use. However, it a good idea to make it a two-sided copy, putting the title page on the back. Also, check to see that the page number(s) of the material you're copying show, or write it in as soon as you make a copy. Most libraries that have microfilm copies of periodicals have at least one microfilm reader/copier. When using these, take the time to write the pertinent information on the copy when it's made. The purpose of doing all of this work is twofold; first of all, undated information may be interesting but its very difficult to correlate with other information to form a picture of what happened; second, if you're going to share the information with others, its important to document your sources. The same principles apply to digitized materials downloaded from the internet or scanned in from hardcopies. The only hitch is that you'll need image editing software to add to the top or bottom margins and enter the text that documents the source.
Making the Material Presentable for SharingIf there is a chance that you'll be posting the material (to answer a question, illustrate a point, support an assertion, or just for the fun of it), you should consider making an effort to have the material appear presentable when first downloading it. The first step is to eliminate the keyword highlights, The next step is to "capture" (download) the desired material. The third item is to record the information necessary to document the source. The fourth step is to edit the downloaded image. Finally comes the addition of text to credit the organization or person who created the actual images that were downloaded and any explanatory notes that may be needed.
Image Editing Software
You'll need image editing software that will enable you to perform the following functions. Using a combination of two or more programs (moving the file back and forth between them) may be necessary to carry out all of the functions.
Opening a large blank page upon which to paste multiple images from the clipboard to selected portions of the page.
Select portions of those images and copy & paste them elsewhere on the page (or onto another page), having high enough resolution and using high enough magnification to seamlessly join them to form a single image.
Erase, or copy & paste blank portions of material, to 'clean up' the material to increase legibility.
Edit the lightness, darkness or contrast to increase legibility. Some programs have functions that will automatically adjust these levels for optimum results.
Add text of various sizes and colors to the image.
The author uses two archaic, obscure programs that either may no longer be available, or may not run on modern operating systems/hardware; nevertheless, between them the above functions can be performed:
Serif PhotoPlus X4
Eliminating the Highlight(s)
Search engines will highlight the keyword(s) in the material(s) linked-to when a 'hit' is opened. The methods of eliminating the highlights described below don't really "eliminate" the highlights, rather they're a means of reloading the desired page(s) without searching for the keyword(s). Thus in all cases, make notes of the issue and page number(s) of the desired material.
For Google Books Advanced Search: Click on "Clear search" in the menu bar immediately above the material. Go to the desired page.
For Google News Archive: Click on the periodical name-date on the left in the menu bar immediately above the material. Go to the desired page.
For Library of Congress Chronicling America Advanced Search and New York State Historic Newspapers: Click on "All Pages" in the menu bar immediately above the material. Go to the desired page.
For California Digital Newspaper Collection: Look for a unique phrase on the same page as the desired material, but not within the material. Then, rerun the search using that phrase as the keywords. This method will work with other search engines.
Downloading the Material
The first thing to determine upon opening an unhighlighted page containing the desired material is: After increasing your display area to the maximum (going to 'fullscreen') and increasing the magnification of the material enough to easily read the text or to be able to see and understand the details of an illustration, does all of the desired material appear within the screen? Or, does it overrun a single screen, necessitating two (or more) successive downloads (screen captures) to obtain the desired material?
If all of the desired material appears within the screen, the job is almost done. Copy the screen to the clipboard (using the "PrtScn" key) and paste it into the center of a large blank page that's open in your image editing program. Then erase or delete the unwanted portions of the screen's image. Next, add the text to embed the information necessary to document the source and credit the organization or person(s) who created the actual images that were downloaded and any explanatory notes that may be needed. Crop the image, leaving a small border and save it under some sort of descriptive name to some logical folder.
If the material overruns a single screen, two (or more) successive downloads will have to be performed. Open a blank page in your image editing program that's a bit more than twice the size of the desired material (having created such a page that suits most needs, you might want to save it in an easy to find location). Copy one screen at a time to the clipboard and paste it on the large blank page, ensuring that you don't inadvertently change the desired material's magnification in going from one screen's worth of material to the next. Be such to include a small amount of overlap (in an easy-to-recognize area - perhaps a line of text) between one screen and the next.
Once all of the desired material has been pasted onto the blank page, this might be a good time to save the unfinished file, giving it its final name. This way, an error in rebuilding the image won't necessitate copying and pasting screens again. Your image editing program may have placed each successively pasted screen in a different layer. If so, this would be a good time to merge all of the layers.
Having pasted all of the desired material onto the blank page and saved it, select the desired portion of a convenient screen (typically the top or beginning) including the area of overlap of the adjacent screen and drag it over to an empty area of the page (the means of doing this varies with the image editing software being used). Be sure to leave space at the top to document the source. Next, select the adjacent material, splitting the overlap area, and drag it over to the first portion. It's helpful to increase the magnification to aid in aligning the adjacent material. Repeat this with additional screens until the desired material is reconstructed.
Kent, I like the article, but I would have thought it belonged in the tutorials area.
I think we may have made a mistake in creating so many areas that have content specific titles. and the Encyclopedia Index is probably confusing for a lot of readers as a result.
Back in the beginning, we put a lot of effort into creating a meaningful hierarchy of categories but we then drifted into creating new areas to mimic the forums but with more detail. The whole organization really needs to be revisited by someone with experience in editing and organizing content.
I agree; its a much better location than the one I had asked about.