NGS Guidelines for Publishing Web Pages on the Internet

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Computers and Genealogy

This article is part of a series.

Overview of Computers and Genealogy
The Internet and Family History
NGS Guidelines for Publishing Web Pages on the Internet
Family History Software
Collaboration and Sharing
NGS Guidelines for Sharing
Online Options for Family History Education
Security Concerns with Technology and Family History
Other Gadgets and Helpful Technology

This article originally appeared in "Computers and Technology" by Juliana Smith in The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy

Appreciating that publishing information through Internet websites and Web pages shares many similarities with print publishing, considerate family historians

  • apply a title identifying both the entire website and the particular group of related pages, similar to a book-and-chapter designation, placing it both at the top of each Web browser window using the <TITLE> HTML tag, and in the body of the document, on the opening home or title page and on any index pages.
  • explain the purposes and objectives of their websites, placing the explanation near the top of the title page or including a link from that page to a special page about the reason for the site.
  • display a footer at the bottom of each Web page which contains the website title, page title, author's name, author's contact information, date of last revision, and a copyright statement.
  • provide complete contact information, including at a minimum a name and e-mail address, and preferably some means for long-term contact, like a postal address.
  • assist visitors by providing on each page navigational links that lead visitors to other important pages on the website, or return them to the home page.
  • adhere to the NGS 'Standards for Sharing Information with Others' regarding copyright, attribution, privacy, and the sharing of sensitive information.
  • include unambiguous source citations for the research data provided on the site, and if not complete descriptions, offering full citations upon request.
  • label photographic and scanned images within the graphic itself, with fuller explanation if required in text adjacent to the graphic.
  • identify transcribed, extracted, or abstracted data as such, and provide appropriate source citations.
  • include identifying dates and locations when providing information about specific surnames or individuals.
  • respect the rights of others who do not wish information about themselves to be published, referenced, or linked on a website.
  • provide website access to all potential visitors by avoiding enhanced technical capabilities that may not be available to all users, remembering that not all computers are created equal.
  • avoid using features that distract from the productive use of the website, like ones that reduce legibility, strain the eyes, dazzle the vision, or otherwise detract from the visitor's ability to easily read, study, comprehend or print the online publication.
  • maintain their online publications at frequent intervals, changing the content to keep the information current, the links valid, and the website in good working order.
  • preserve and archive for future researchers their online publications and communications that have lasting value, using both electronic and paper duplication.

©2000, 2001 by National Genealogical Society. Permission is granted to copy or publish this material provided it is reproduced in its entirety, including this notice.


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