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Guidelines For Publishing Web Pages On The Internet

Recommended by the National Genealogical Society, May 2000 

Appreciating that publishing information through Internet web sites and web pages shares many similarities with print publishing, considerate family historians—

  • apply a single title to an entire web site, as they would to a book, placing it both in the <TITLE> HTML tag that appears at the top of the web browser window for each web page to be viewed, and also in the body of the web document, on the opening home, title or index page.
  • explain the purposes and objectives of their web sites, placing the explanation near the top of the title page or including a link from that page to a special page about the reason for the site.
  • display a footer at the bottom of each web page which contains the web site title, page title, author's name, author's contact information, date of last revision and a copyright statement.
  • provide complete contact information, including at a minimum a name and e-mail address, and preferably some means for long-term contact, like a postal address.
  • assist visitors by providing on each page navigational links that lead visitors to other important pages on the web site, or return them to the home page.
  • adhere to the NGS “Standards for Sharing Information with Others” regarding copyright, attribution, privacy, and the sharing of sensitive information.
  • include unambiguous source citations for the research data provided on the site, and if not complete descriptions, offering full citations upon request.
  • label photographic and scanned images within the graphic itself, with fuller explanation if required in text adjacent to the graphic.
  • identify transcribed, extracted or abstracted data as such, and provide appropriate source citations.
  • include identifying dates and locations when providing information about specific surnames or individuals.
  • respect the rights of others who do not wish information about themselves to be published, referenced or linked on a web site.
  • provide web site access to all potential visitors by avoiding enhanced technical capabilities that may not be available to all users, remembering that not all computers are created equal.
  • avoid using features that distract from the productive use of the web site, like ones that reduce legibility, strain the eyes, dazzle the vision, or otherwise detract from the visitor's ability to easily read, study, comprehend or print the online publication.
  • maintain their online publications at frequent intervals, changing the content to keep the information current, the links valid, and the web site in good working order.
  • preserve and archive for future researchers their online publications and communications that have lasting value, using both electronic and paper duplication.

©2000 by National Genealogical Society. Permission is granted to copy or publish this material provided it is reproduced in its entirety, including this notice.

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