Thursday, June 21, 2007

Organizing and Projects

We've started a number of projects recently at Wikibooks that are really going to help improve not only our image, but also our general usability. First and foremost, we have started planning stages for a general overhaul of our Help: namespace. Many of the pages in that space were either imported from Wikipedia and never updated, fallen completely out of date, or are duplicates. There is a general idea that the help pages should themselves be formatted as a book, to create a "help book" instead of a "help namespace". I had the radical idea of creating multiple help books, and creating an entire help bookshelf, although the jury is still out as to whether that idea is too ambitious or not.

Another project that has been started recently is a general overhaul of the various categorization an organization schemes in use at the site. Among these that have already been worked on are the Dewey Decimal System, The Library of Congress System, and the Alphabetical Listings pages. These pages have been redone to utilize MediaWiki categories that will automatically update, instead of lists that needed to be manually updated. Of course, there are trade-offs to be made when we change anything so drastically, but the improvement in useablitity seems to outweigh the lack of per-book customization (ability to associate development stages and infobox icons with the book titles in a category page).

With the help pages and classification pages taken care of (or at least being in good hands) we can start to set our sights on other pages, such as the oft-overlooked Community Portal. With a working (and aesthetically pleasing) community portal available, it will open the way for new rounds of collaboration and improvement in an organized and positive way.

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