Best Practices for Managing This Wiki

Topics on this page address common practices, or standards, for creating, editing and managing content on the Information Resources Management Staff Wiki. Applying these conventions will create a more friendly environment for wiki users. In addition to what's covered here, the UMass Libraries Web Coordinating Committee Best Practice Guidelines for Web Content Creation is a useful and relevant document.

Creating new pages

Before you create a new page, review existing pages on the wiki to look for the same or related content. Browse the index or body of the Start page, and do a search for terms that describe the subjects in your new page. If your documentation might be integrated into an existing page, discuss the possibilities with its primary contact. If the workflow or procedure you are describing is related to another one, link to it. Our goal is to provide a streamlined set of documents without redundancy. This also relates to Documenting Workflows that Span Across More Than One Unit.

Naming new pages

When you create a new page, type the shortest, most descriptive and sensible title possible. Start with a word that is essential to what the file is about, e.g. “serials” or “monographs”, rather than its type, e.g. “workflow” or “procedure”. Give this some thought before you actually create the file. Make it plain English. It's easier to choose a good name at the outset than it is to delete a file and create a new one with a better name.

Applying headings

Headings are used to delineate sections or topics within a page. In addition to making it easier to browse the contents of the page, the headings also automatically generate the Table of Contents which appears at the top right of the page. The Table of Contents gives a brief page outline and enables you to go to a given section of the page by following the heading link. At a minimum, please apply these headings:

  • H1 - to the page title
  • H2 - to a main section or topic covered

Adding contact information

Each page should have at the bottom a note about who is primarily responsible for maintaining its content. This does not preclude others from making changes to the page, but it's useful to know of whom one can ask questions, report errors, make suggestions, etc.

At the bottom of each page you are responsible for creating and maintaining on the wiki, add a line with your name and an email link. The format should look like this: Primary contact: Christine Turner. Refer to the edit mode to see the syntax.

Linking new pages

When you save a new page, it will automatically appear within the alphabetical list in the Index column to the left of the Start page. Depending on the subject of the page, you will need to add the filename (page title) to the Start page within the appropriate functional area(s). It may be listed in more than one place, as appropriate. To create a link to a new file on the start page: Go to the start page, click on edit this page, add the page title within double brackets.

Reviewing a page draft

After you've written a new page, solicit feedback from your colleagues about its clarity, accuracy and comprehensiveness. It's difficult to transfer a process you know well from your head to writing, and something that might be crystal clear to you might be confusing to others. Try to consider others needs for the documentation and incorporate it in the text and/or formatting.

Signing up for email notifications about changes made to wiki pages

Everyone should subscribe to page changes for pages you are responsible for as the primary contact. Everyone should also subscribe to page changes for pages with instructions you use to do your work. By subscribing to page changes on a particular wiki page, you will receive an email each time the page is changed or updated.

To subscribe to page changes follow these instructions:

After you've logged in with your user account, go to the page you wish to monitor. At the bottom of the page, select “Subscribe Page Changes”. This will trigger an email sent to your account whenever someone saves a change to that particular page.

Once you've subscribed to receive a change notification, the link at the bottom of the page will change to “Unsubscribe Page Changes”. If you want to cease notifications, select this option.

Primary contact: Christine Turner

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