WCPL:About

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Welcome Statement

Welcome to the Wayne County Public Library's Wayne County, Ohio Online Resource Center, an archive of local knowledge.

What is Wiki?

The Wayne County, Ohio Resource Center uses the Wiki platform.

Wiki Wiki Shuttle at Honolulu International Airport

In 1994, computer programmer Ward Cunningham began programming a website intended to minimize the barrier between reading content and writing content. He named his website the WikiWikiWeb when it launched in 1995, and user-editable websites became known as "wikis". The word wiki—meaning quick in the Hawaiian language—highlights the speed with which new pages can be created and with which existing pages can be changed. In a wiki, creating and editing pages does not require programming knowledge or other technical expertise. Rather, one uses a relatively simple markup language to produce content. Despite the design goal of simplicity, wikis provide a powerful medium, in which users can modify both the content and the organizational structure of the site.

Over the years, many different wiki software applications have been developed and countless websites have implemented one such application or another. Wikipedia, probably the largest and most widely-used wiki, is implemented using MediaWiki software. MediaWiki, the software used for this website, is free and open source software developed by the Wikimedia Foundation and a community of volunteers.

Why is this site a wiki?

In late 2013, the Wayne County Public Library began a project to improve their online presence by developing a completely new website. The Genealogy section of the old website was quite large and designed with a different intent than the library website overall. It contained numerous databases, scanned documents, and reports—resources of potentially broad interest, produced by an active community of volunteers, librarians, and researchers. The new genealogy section required a platform that could contextualize existing information for a potentially global audience, adapt to demands of ongoing research, and serve an existing community of contributors. With its collaborative intent, mutable structure, and emphasis on linking information, a wiki seemed like the clear choice.

As pre-launch development of the "Genealogy Wiki" was under way, a "Local Business Wiki" emerged from the flurry of activity. This led to a reconceptualization and a broadening of intent. The "research tracks" of Wayne County genealogy, business, and history are distinct, and yet they are still deeply intertwined by the locality of their constituent data. Splitting them into separate wikis would be to complicate the rich possibilities that may emerge from their "local knowledge" connections. To address this, the website was shifted from "WCPL Genealogy Wiki" to "Wayne County (OH) Wiki", with a "portal" added to each of the three major tracks: Portal:Genealogy, Portal:Local history, and Portal:Business.

A note from the Genealogy staff

Welcome to the website of the Genealogy and Local History Department of the Wayne County Public Library.

We have chosen to move to Wiki for many reasons. With Wiki, we will continue to offer many of our same services. We plan to improve on these services and provide many more indexes and links to Wayne County, OH information. Over time, many of these indexes will be linked to actual images.

Over the past several years, staff and volunteers have been working on many projects. With the new web interface, we hope to make these projects available to the public at no charge. In addition, we would like to have more feedback from the genealogy community. We are here to serve you and want to make your virtual and actual visits to our department enjoyable and successful.

If you have suggestions for the website or for the department, please notify Deborah Kitko, Genealogy Librarian, at dkitko@wcpl.info.

Thank you.

Genealogy Staff