Using the Wiki

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Welcome to Documents in Russian History:
A Primary Source Wiki

This site was originally created by Nathaniel Knight in 2000 with the support of a Seton Hall University Curricular Development Initiative Grant to the University's Russian and East European Studies Program. In 2008, under the auspices of a Seton Hall Faculty Innovation Grant the site was reconfigured as a wiki.

Documents in Russian History is administered by Professor Knight in collaboration with an editorial board made up of specialists in Russian history with an interest in new media and the development of on-line resources. At the present time the members of the editorial board are as follows:

Dr. Yanni Kotsonis, New York University
Dr. Marshall Poe, University of Iowa
Dr. John Randolph, University of Illinois
Dr. Paul Werth, University of Nevada

Use of the materials on Documents in Russian History is authorized under a Creative Commons license for non-commercial education use only. Use of these materials for commercial purposes is a violation of copyright.

Contributing to Documents in Russian History

Anyone can read these documents and use them freely for educational and scholarly purposes. Users also have the ability, since this is a wiki, to add documents of their own and to contribute questions, analysis and suggestions through the discussion pages. To contribute, users should first create an account by following the link on the right hand side of the page.

Pages are created and edited using the Media Wiki mark-up language. Basic text can simply be entered into the editing window. For more complicated formatting refer to the MediaWiki User's Guide.

Documents contributed to the Wiki should concern some aspect of the history of Russia in its various manifestations (Muscovy, the Russian Empire, USSR, Russian Federation, etc.) and should have a clear pedagogical or scholarly rationale. All documents contributed must be free of copyright restrictions. What this means, practically speaking, is that the documents tend to fall into two categories: 1) texts in the public domain; or 2) original translations of historical texts. If you have a text that doesn't fit into either of these categories, you may want to consult with an editorial board member before contributing it to the Wiki. Documents that are in clear violation of copyright restrictions are liable to be removed.

The following guidelines apply to the submission of documents:

1) The working language for the wiki is English. If you wish to include a text in its original language, this is fine, but it must be accompanied by an accurate English translation.

2) Always indicate the source of the original text. If you have submitted a translation, you must include a citation back to the source in the original language. If the text is in the public domain, you must give the full date of its original publication.

3) A brief introduction and notes can be included at the discretation of the contributor. More detailed discussion and analysis, however, should take place on the discussion page that accompanies each document.

To create a new document, go to the Table of Contents page, choose "edit" in the "views" panel on the right hand side of the screen, and then enter the name of the new document surrounded by double brackets under the proper chronological heading. When you save the Table of Contents you will see that your document appears as a link in red letters. Click on the link and a blank page will open up in which you can enter and save the text of your document.

Editing Documents

When you submit a document, you should understand that others will have the ability to make corrections, changes, amendments, comments, etc. At the same time the editors will monitor the documents and have the ability to restore the text to its earlier state should changes prove to be unjustified or ill-intentioned.

If you would like to make changes to a document that has already been posted on the wiki, simply click on "edit" in the Views panel to the right, make your changes and save. However, before you start editing you must be certain that your change is justified and necessary. The editors will review all changes and restore the text to its original state in the event of inappropriate revisions. To avoid this outcome, the editors strongly urge anyone who edits a page to explain what has been done and why using the discussion page. If you can make a persuasive case for your changes, it is less likely that they will be removed.

Discussion Pages

Each document on the Wiki is accompanied by a discussion page where additional ideas and information pertaining to the document can be shared. Each page is divided into three sections: Study Questions, Context and Analysis, and Technical Discussion. Study questions are intended to be used in a pedagogical context as the basis for in-class discussions or writing assignments. You do not need to provide answers for your questions, in fact it is better if you don't--best to leave that to your students. Under context and analysis, specialists in a given area can provide additional information about the origins of the text, its impact and significance, or highlight nuances that might not otherwise be apparent. This would also be the appropriate place to post questions that you would actually like someone to answer. Technical discussion would be the place to discuss editorial changes, questions of translation or the rendering of specialized terms.

In addition to the discussion pages, there is a "guestbook" page linked from the main page of the site where you can make comments and suggestions related to the wiki as a whole. The discussion pages should only be used for comments relevant to the particular documents to which they are linked.