Help:Manual of style

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Rather than inundate you with an extensive and precise Manual of Style, here are some general guidelines to keep in mind and follow while you are creating pages or editing existing pages on


When you are writing content, make sure that you are keeping the tone neutral. Try not to be biased. The information or text that you are providing should be fact-based and have an authoritative and encyclopedic tone.

Writing conventions

Always write your content in the third person. Be original. There is no place for plagiarism within There is a difference between using someone else's idea and just straight copying someone else's words as if they are your own. Just because this is a wiki, does not mean that it is open to plagiarism. Copyrights still exist and are valid, as well as, authoritative text written by someone else. If you are going to use someone else's material or text, then cite the content properly. See Help:Citing sources.

Creating titles

When creating a wiki page, the title should be written in title case or Start Case. The table below gives an example of each type.

Once a page is created, meaning the title has been generated, the title cannot be edited; therefore, please use careful consideration and be sure to check your title for accuracy before saving your wiki page.

Example Rule
A Shapefile Is Composed Of Various Component Files "Start case" – capitalization of all words.
A Shapefile Is Composed of Various Component Files "Title case" – capitalization of all words, except for internal articles (a, an, and the), prepositions, and conjunctions.

Because of the differences in capitalization, when creating a title for your new page, it may be a good idea to check that your page doesn't already exist, but with different capitalization (e.g. "Aerial Photography" is not the same as "aerial photography"!). It is possible to have pages with the same names but different capitalization existing on at the same time.

Use of Templates

Use of the Infobox Template

There is a special template that can be used to provide more detail to a page when the page concerns a software product. This template is called InfoBox. All fields in the Infobox template are optional. Of course, the more of the fields that are used, the more useful the page may be to the reader.

Here is a list of fields that can be provided in the Inforbox template:

  • name = product name
  • developer = name of the company that wrote or sells the software
  • released = date software released
  • latest release version =
  • latest release date =
  • latest preview version =
  • latest preview date =
  • operating system = names of the operating systems that software runs on
  • platform =
  • language =
  • status =
  • genre = most software listed on will be in the 'GIS' genre
  • license = is the license Proprietary or Open Source ?
  • website = an external link to the software vendors website

For an example of the Infobox in use, check out the ArcIMS page.

Here is what the Infobox for the ArcIMS page looks like in wiki markup language:

screenshot = [[Image:ArcIMS Weber County Geo Gizmo.png|200px]]|
caption = Screenshot of an ArcIMS web service.|
name = ArcIMS|
developer = [[ESRI]] |
latest_release_version = 9.3.1|
latest_release_date = May 2009 |
operating_system = [[Microsoft Windows|MS Windows]]; [[IBM AIX (operating system)|AIX]], [[HP-UX]], [[Linux|GNU/Linux]], [[Solaris (operating system)|Solaris]]|
genre = [[Geographic information system]] |
license = [[Proprietary]] |
website = |

Use of Categories

A category is a software feature of MediaWiki. Categories provide automatic indexes that are useful as tables of contents. Together with links and templates they help structure

Each of the pages in the Category namespace represents a so-called category, a kind of grouping of related pages. For example, this page belongs to "Category:Help". When a page belongs to one or more categories, this information appears at the bottom of the page (or in the upper-right corner, depending on the skin being used).

The category page itself contains text that can be edited, like any other page, but when displaying the page, the last part of what is displayed is an automatically generated, alphabetical list of all pages in that category, in the form of links. "Existence" of a category has two independent aspects: the category can obtain one or more pages and/or the category page can exist as an editable page. New categories can be created in the last sense, and edited, in the same way as any other regular page. For a list of categories in this sense, see Special:Allpages/Category: (note the colon at the end). For a list of categories in the first sense, see Special:Categories.

You can assign a category to a page simply by adding "[[Category:Category name]]" to the page's wikitext source.

Putting an item in a category

A page can be put in a category by adding a category tag to the page (by convention, at the end of the page), e.g.:

[[Category:Category name]]

You must substitute the actual name of your desired category in place of Category name. For example, to add an article called "Albert Einstein" to the category "People", you would edit the Albert Einstein article and add "[[Category:People]]" (no quotes) into its page source somewhere.

This will cause the article to be automatically listed on the associated category page, and it will also create a link in the article to the category page. Category pages are always in the namespace "Category". Pages can be included in more than one category by adding multiple category tags.

Category tags may be placed anywhere in the article, although they are typically added to the end of the article to avoid undesirable text display side effects.

Linking to Other Pages

When creating new content, often it is possible to add references to other pages.

For more information on creating internal links please refer to the Help:Internal_links page.

Use of External References / Citations

Often there is a need to add references, citations, or further reading links to a wiki page. When these links are external to, it becomes necessary to add specific code to insert these external links into the wiki page.

For more information on creating external links please refer to the Help:External_links page.

For more information on creating citations please refer to the Help:Citing_sources page.