2.1 The structure of the knowledge base

One of the comments received from the user advisory group was that although they had invested in specialist geoarchaeology texts, they had 'neither the time nor the head space' to read, digest, and interpret their contents in terms of their own projects and sites. By contrast, the structure of internet web pages allows users to access relevant information quickly and in manageable chunks, without imposing the linear structure of a paper book.

MediaWiki software was chosen for this project because of the ongoing level of development and support for the software that underpins Wikipedia. One potential disadvantage, however, is the horizontal structure of pages. This means that any user coming to the site in the first instance has to know exactly what to look for in order to find relevant information via the search facility. To provide SASSA with a more structured feel and to aid users in navigating between related web pages if they so wish, two approaches have been used:

  1. Each web page includes a 'crumb trail' header, providing links back through the hierarchical structure of the knowledge base.
  2. The SASSA wiki has been split into distinct namespaces, allowing grouping of pages with related content. Pages in knowledge base are grouped into ten namespaces.

In addition, Mediawiki includes 'special pages' that provide an advanced search facility and help administrators monitor changes to the wiki.


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Last updated: Mon Dec 15 2008