This is a question that I find most interesting, and I think it is very important to getting it right. Of course, I don't know the various limitations of the new system etc, so I will outline some of my frustrations with the old system and hopes for the new one.
My main frustration with the old, or current, system was that I found it difficult to find my way around. I realise that is was due to the system that was used and how that required the way it was set up, and I do not fault anyone involved for this. The system just kept growing and growing by necessity. I think all of you do a wonderful job in trying to keep it going.
There are the general subjects, which contain good information, and then there are answers to questions that are somewhat "hidden" in different places. As a fictitious example, someone would ask a question about wind in Concord Discussion and Comments, and it would be answered there, but that answer might or might not show up in the main post about Winds.
Personally, I like webpages (HTML or Wiki) that are fairly short and have links that burrow down into a topic. I would like to see these set up in a way such that if someone asked a question about wind in the Concord Discussion and Comments, that point would be answered there, but also appear in the Wiki or HTML page. I really would like to see links somehow tied to the data entry boxes so that, when I am entering data about ice, I could click on a "?" or "Help" key and I would be taken to the OW wiki or HTML page about ice. If there was nothing there to answer my question, I could ask it somewhere, get an answer, and then that answer would be entered on the page about ice.
When we set up the webpages for the Yukon Weather Centre, our goal was to make our website as user friendly as possible. We wanted to keep the information about any topic contained on one page. We did this by keeping images to a minimum, unless they were vital to the subject at hand, and usually there was just a link to the image. We also grouped items, perhaps alphabetically, with links to those items.
When our office was being closed, the people in the main computer centre called to tell us that our webpages had the highest number of hits of any website belonging to Environment Canada. Not only were we number one, but our total was greater than the sum of the hits from numbers two, three and four combined. Our pages were not glamorous, but they were fast and easy to use.
Earlier in this phase, I set up a dummy website as an example of what I would like to see. The link is here
This is just an example. In the new world, a "Help" key on a data entry box would link to the appropriate page in this system.
For myself, I have downloaded the names of all the ships in the various navies. Sometimes when I struggle with bad handwriting, I can make out only part of a ship name, and I have a script wherein I can enter part of a name and I get a list of all the USS ships with that string as part of the name. I do the same thing with Matteo's list of places. For example, Concord mentioned a US Submarine and I could really only make out ~ike or ~eke. My script got me this:
$ USS ike | cut -c1-55
A-5 (Submarine # 6, later SS-6), 1903-1922. Named Pike
Pike (SS-173), 1935-1957 http://www.history.navy.mil/p
Pike (Submarine # 6, later SS-6), 1903-1922. Renamed A
SC-1062 (1943-1945). Later became USCGC Air Shrike (WA
By the dates I knew it was USS Pike. Looking on the internet for US Submarines operating in 1905 was fruitless. A new system should be able to have this sort of functionality. A similar system for place names would be most valuable. I find the huge lists awkward to navigate.
Perhaps under Glossary there would be links such as:
- Nautical Terms
- Whaling Terms
- Geographical Terms
Under People you might have links to Crew Lists to various ships; and ranks and ratings etc
You might also have links to ranks and ratings under Nautical Terms.
Perhaps under People, Ships and Places you could have very elegant search functions.