Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Our hope is that this web-site will become a repository for Huntsville History information provided by anyone who has relevant information to share. It is built on Mediawiki, which is a powerfull tool for collaborative authoring of content. Mediawiki is simple enough that anyone who has basic computer experience can start authoring articles, but sophistocated enough to support the needs of more experienced authors.

This article provides basic information on how to accomplish basic navigation and authoriing tasks. See the Mediawiki article Help:Contents for more complete information.


Return to the Main Page

Click on the large Huntsville History Collection icon in the upper left corner at anytime to return to the Main Page. You can also get there by clicking on the Main Page link just below that icon.


There are at least three different ways to search the Huntsville History Collection. These include:

  • Wiki Search - Located on the middle left side of the browser window, this is the standard search capability for a wiki site. Enter a some text and click Search to for a list of places containing that text. If the text you entered is the name of an article and you click Go, you will go directly to that article.
  • Google Search - Located on the middle left side of the browser window below the Wiki Search, this will do a Google Search of the website which will some some areas of the website that are not available via the wiki search. It will also return a list of pictures.
  • Huntsville Historical Review - This is a Full Text Search of the Huntsville Historical Review articles.

Find a Place

To find a specific place, click on the Find Place link which is the second link below the large Huntsville History Collection icon in the upper left corner or click on the Places link in the page banner. You can then find the place using one of the maps listed at the top of the Find Place page, or scroll down and select a place from the addresses listed by Historic District and then by Street. Click on the number of the address you are looking for. Addresses that are not in Twickenham, Old Town or Five Points are listed at the bottom of this page.

Find a Person

To find a specific person, click on the Find Person link which is the third link below the large Huntsville History Collection icon in the upper left corner or click on the People link in page banner. Then click on the name of the person you are looking for.

Comment on an Article

To make a comment about an article that you are reading, go to the top of the page for that article and click on the Discussion tab, then click on Start a new discussion or on one of the Reply links for an existing comment. If you are starting a new discussion thread, you will need to name the thread in the first box and add your comment in the second box.

When you add a comment, the system will watch that thread and notify you if someone has replied to it by indicating you have a new message at the top of the page. To have the system notify you by email, click on the My Preferences link at the top of the page and put a checkmark in the E-mail me on replies to a thread I am watching item at the bottom of the My Preferences page.

If you do not want to be notified you can click the Unwatch tab at the top of the Thread.

Watch a Page

You can select pages to Watch by clicking on the Watch tab above the title. If you click on the My Watchlist link at the top of the page you will see a list of changes made to the pages you are watching.

To have the system notify you by email when a watched page changes, click on the My Preferences link at the top of the page and put a checkmark in the E-mail me when a page on my watchlist is changed item at the bottom of the My Preferences page.

You can remove a page from your watch list by navigating to that page and clicking on the Unwatch tab above the title.

Contribute Materials

There are several ways you can contribute materials to the website. You can:

  • Send us an email with comments, ideas, stories, pictures or other documents. See Email Us for more details.
  • Send us a picture or story to add to one of the articles. To do that, go to the article of interest and click on Contribute in the header. Complete the form to indicate who you are, what you are contributing and any comments you want to make. Follow the instructions to include pictures or other files.
  • Write an article or edit an existing article. See Create an Article or Edit an Article for more details.

Email Us

Click on the Email Us link in the header. This should activate your email and open a new message that is addressed to us. Complete the message and click send.

Get a Login

Click on the Login link in the upper right corner of the main window. Complete the form to include your login, password, name & email address. Due to spam attacks we have been forced to implement the following security procedures:

  • Captcha - This will require you to enter some distorted text that will be displayed on the screen. If you can't read the text, you can click the circular arrows to the right of the entry box to display a different image.
  • Email Address Confirmation - You must enter an email address. The website will send a confirmation email to that address and you must click on the first link in the email to activate your account. If you do not receive an email within a few minutes, please check your spam filters to make sure it has not been blocked.

Be sure to remember your login and password so that you can login at a later time.

Create an Article

You must be logged into a valid account to create an article. You can create an article using any one of the following ways:

  • Click on a red link in another article. This will take you to an editing page where you can write and save your article.
  • Add a link from an existing article to a new article. This will create a red link in the existing article when it is saved. Click on the red link and start writing the article.
  • Enter the name of the new article in the Search box at the left of the screen, then click the Go button to jump to an editing page for that article. Alternatively you can click the Search button to see if the article exists. The search results should have a red link that will take you to the editing page for that article.

Edit an Article

You must be logged into a valid account to edit an article. To Edit an article, navigate to the article you want to edit and click on the Edit tab at the top of the page. This will open a text only version of the article that you can edit. Click the Save button at the bottom when you are done editing. See the following topics for more information on editing:

Format an Article

Formatting of an article can be done using HTML or combinations of special characters such as []{}='*# that control formatting within a Wiki article. For example, ''word'' creates an italized word, ''word'' creates a bolded word, etc.


The editing tools at the top of the editing page will assist you. Highlight the phrase you want to format and click the appropriate button. Mediawiki will insert the formatting characters around the highlighed phrase.

See Help:Formating for additional formatting instructions.

Add Pictures

Before you can display a picture in an article the file must be uploaded into the system. Uploading files and writing articles require a login. To upload a picture, click on upload file in the Toolbox menu at the left side of the screen. Click the Browse button on the dialog box and select the file you want to upload. Optionally, you can add a comment. Click the upload button. Be sure to note the name of the file so that you can reference it in an article.

To display an uploaded picture in an article, include the following text in an article you are writing: [[File:filename.ext]] replacing filename.ext with the name and extension of the picture file. See Help:Images for ways to control how the picture is displayed.

Add Links

To add a link from your article to another article, edit your article and insert the following text: [[articlename]] where you want the link to appear, replacing articlename with name of the article you are linking to. Make sure the text is exactly as shown at the top of the page when you are viewing the linked article. Note that some articles (People & Places) will have a prefix like Person:articlename.

If you want to have a link to another article, but you want something different than the article name to be displayed in the link, use the following format: [[articlename|Display Text]].

To add an external link to another web-site use the following format: [http://url]

To add an external link to another web-site that displays some text other than the url, use the following format: [http://url Display Text].

Request a Fix

If find a technical problem or place where a factual correction is needed, you can request a fix from the webmaster. To do this:

  • Navigate to the page that needs the fix.
  • Click the Request Fix link in the list of links in the banner for that page to display the Fix Request Form.
  • The first field on the form lists the article you were on when you requested the fix. You can edit this field if the fix relates to another person, place or article.
  • Please provide your email address in the Email field so that we can contact you if we have questions.

If the fixes page does not display a gear icon, you will need to create the fixes page. Simply, click the save button at the bottom of the page.

  • Add as much information about the problem as can in the Description field.
  • Click Submit. The system will capture the information you submitted.
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