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Revision as of 12:28, 12 May 2010 by Cottrells (talk | contribs) (Technical overview)

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What is a "Namespace?"

A namespace is a high-level category in which articles or pages are created. Namespaces help segregate articles about genealogical research from administrative types of articles, such as those that explain how the Wiki software works.

What do I need to know about namespaces?

If you are a user searching for articles that will help you with genealogical research, you will likely only search within the main namespace, and need to know little about most of the other namespaces. If, however, you are a contributor, moderator, or sysop, namespaces may be very helpful. For example, if you want to write an article that explains how to use the FamilySearch Research Wiki, you could create that article in the "Help:" namespace. If you wanted to search for an image to insert on a specific page, you could search the "Image:" namespace. Namespaces can also make it easy to search for specific types of articles or pages. You will be able to easily locate pages that have been created in a specific namespace because there is a colon ":" in the name. For example, "Image:Palafito," or "Help:How to add citations."

How do I search within a specific namespace?

While articles in various namespaces may show up randomly in regular search results lists, they may not be searched exclusively through the search box. This requires an additional step. The best way to narrow search results to a specific namespace is to check only the box or boxes of the specific namespace(s) you want to search. You may search temporarily in a namespace by following these instructions:

First, search for the title of any article. At the bottom of the search results page, you will see a box that look similar to the one below. Notice that certain boxes are checked. Each box represents a namespace. After checking the box or boxes of the namespace(s) you wish to search, type the word(s) you want to locate within that namespace in the box shown below the namespace check boxes, and click, "Search." This will only work one search at a time. After each search, the namespace boxes will change back to the default settings. To permanently or semi-permanently search for items in a specific namespace, you must change your user preferences.


Namespaces in the FamilySearch Research Wiki

Pages without a ':' in their name are in the main namespace. This namespace is for content pages; documents that aren't directly related to this may go in other namespaces. When pages are in another namespace, they are specified as namespace:page; i.e. this page is Help:Namespaces.

All the categories used in FamilySearch Research Wiki to help users find and navigate to research topics that would be helpful in their family history research.
FamilySearch Wiki
Information about this wiki; i.e. policies that apply here. This namespace also has an alias, which is the name of the wiki installation.
Documentation about working with the wiki software. This could be mirrored from outside sites, or locally written.
For descriptions of uploaded files or media files. You shouldn't create these directly; they are created when you click the Upload file link in the toolbox.
Use this namespace to link to uploaded files directly, rather than through the description pages.
Use this namespace to change the default system messages, See Help:System message on meta.
Portals are in the process of being deleted.
Each page has a corresponding discussion page. This can be used for feedback/comments about that page, or other local notes that another group may want to associate with the page, without modifying the document directly, or for any other additional information to associate with the document.
This is used for meta-information that is to be transcluded into multiple documents, such as tags to mark the status of a document.
For personal notes. Each User has a corresponding user page for their own information. Users can also create subpages, by using a / after their name.
The discussion page on a user's page can be used for leaving messages. If this page is edited, the next time that user logs in they will see a box notifying them that they have new messages

Technical overview

Pages exist within a namespace, and this can be distinguished using the namespace prefix of a page, which forms part of the title of a page, separated with a colon (:).

For example:

Title Namespace
Foo Main
Project:Foo Project
Help:Foo Help

The "main namespace" does not have a prefix. Also, pages in the main namespace cannot have names starting with any of the existing namespaces prefixes followed by a colon.

Pages can be moved between namespaces simply by changing the prefix part of their title.

Namespace prefixes can be translated, and aliases can be configured for each (see $wgNamespaceAliases). All namespaces also have a "canonical" prefix, which works on all wikis regardless of configuration. Aliases and canonical names can be used in links, when performing a search, and in the page title with the help of the {{DISPLAYTITLE}} magic word.

Each namespace has a corresponding namespace index. Within the database, the title is split into namespace index and text title, and this is used for storage in the page.page_namespace and page.page_title columns, among others.

Most namespaces have an associated discussion namespace (or "talk" namespace). All discussion namespaces have odd-integerindices, and the discussion namespace index for a specific namespace with index <math>n</math> is <math>n + 1</math>.

The following 8 namespaces all have associated discussion namespaces.

Index Name Purpose Comments
0 Main "Real" content; articles Has no prefix
1 Talk Talk pages of "Real" content
2 User User pages
3 User talk Talk pages for User Pages
4 Project Information about the wiki Prefix is the same as $wgSitename
5 Project talk
6 File Media description pages
7 File talk
8 MediaWiki Site interface customisation Protected
9 MediaWiki talk
10 Template Template pages
11 Template talk
12 Help Help pages
13 Help talk
14 Category Category description pages
15 Category talk

2 other namespaces have negative indexes and have special purposes. You cannot create or delete pages in these namespaces, and there are no corresponding discussion namespaces.

Index Name Purpose
-1 Special Holds special pages
-2 Media Alias for direct links to media files