The USGenWeb Project
N E W S
Volume 1, Number 3
April 2004

PENNIES FROM HEAVEN
Greta Thompson
        You may have more resources available for your pages than you realize. For example, have you visited the Penny Postcards site at the USGenWeb Archives? Joy Fisher has scanned old postcards from everywhere in the country, organized by state and then by county. She would be delighted if you asked permission to use postcards on your site.
        If you have a list of the students at one of your county’s high schools, for example, you could include a postcard picture of that school. Or you could pair a newspaper account of a flood or train wreck with one of the many “disaster” postcards available. The site includes pictures of train depots, parks, bridges, homes, government buildings, schools and universities, churches, Main Streets, hospitals, rivers and waterfalls, and more.
        Take a look at how Wisconsin has incorporated postcards into its page about
State Institutions or see how Mississippi is using the postcards with photos to highlight the state’s county courthouses
        To use a postcard from the site, email Joy. Her requirements are simple: (1) ask permission to use the scan on (2) a page that will be enhanced by the addition of the postcard.
        While you’re browsing the Penny Postcard site, be sure to look at the sections on “Types of Postcards,” a brief and fascinating history of postcards; and on “Submissions,” which tells you how to send in your own historical postcards.

FROM THE ELECTION COMMITTEE
Ellen Pack, Chair
        The USGenWeb Election Committee is preparing for the National-2004 Election. The nomination period will be June 1-14, 2004, and the voting period will be July 1-31, 2004.
The EC has constructed National 2004 Election Pages where all members will be able to follow the election process, including notice of seats available, names of nominees, and information about candidates.
        The EC is looking for temporary helpers to assist during the election period of May through July. Responsibilities include assisting with nominations, and handling bounced email addresses. Volunteers will be asked to check and respond to mail frequently, at least daily. All members not considering running for election are invited to volunteer. Please consider helping out during this busy but rewarding time. Contact the EC Chair, Ellen Pack
e.j.pack@natchezbelle.org
        Reminder: In order to vote in USGenWeb National elections you must be Registered with the Election Committee not later than May 31, 2004. Please visit the EC WebSite for more information.

LINDA'S HTML TIPS for EASY WEBSITES
Linda Haas Davenport
As CCs we often have our e-mail address many pages of our websites and it's always a chore to change e-mail addresses. Here's a way to only have to change your e-mail in one place.

1. Open Notepad and type in:
<A HREF="mailto:(your e-mail address)">
(the name you want to show on the web page)</A>
Example: <A HREF="mailto:lhaasdav@cox.net">Linda</A>
Save the file as xmail.html (or htm if that's what you use) and place it in your root directory.

2. If you use an html generator program, open
xmail.html in your program and make sure this is the only text in the program (delete any header tags, body tags, etc.)

3. Open the web pages where you have your e-mail address listed and replace the current "mailto:" link with:
<!--#include virtual="/(your site name)/xmail.html"-->
Example: <!--#include virtual="/~armarion/xmail.html"-->

Once the change is made on individual web pages you only have to change your e-mail address in the xmail.html file and it will be correct on all the pages where you inserted the code.

Along the same line you can make a footer to go on each page.

1-Using Notepad type
<P ALIGN="CENTER">"This Page Was Last Updated&nbsp;<!--#echo var="LAST_MODIFIED"-->"
<P ALIGN="CENTER"><A HREF="mailto:(your e-mail address)"> (the name you want to show on the web page)</A></P>
Example: <P ALIGN="CENTER"><A HREF="mailto:lhaasdav@cox.net">Linda Haas Davenport</A></P>
Save as xfooter.html and place in your root directory.

2-If you use an html generator program, open
xfooter.html in your program and make sure this is the only text in the program (delete any header tags, body tags, etc.)

3-On the pages where you want this information to appear, type in
<P><!--#include virtual="/(your site name)/xfooter.html"--></P>
Example: <P><!--#include virtual="/~haas/xfooter.html"--></P>
Place the code just before the </Body> tag.

This example includes the last modified date and your email address, but you can include any additional information you want to appear on all the pages where you place the code.

SEARCH ENGINES
Greta Thompson
(Sue Seibert, siouxcitysue@cox-internet.com, also contributed information for this article.)
        A search engine on your website helps your visitors and you. It's a quick and easy way for them to find out if you have information that they need, and it gives you a chance to find out what they want when you look at the reports you receive. No search engine is perfect, but any search engine is better than none, especially as your site grows.
        Which search engine should you choose? What features should you look for? Do you have to pay to get one worth putting on your site? The last question is probably the easiest to answer. No, you don't have to pay. There are several search engines with free plans that will almost certainly do a good job. Which will do the best job for your particular site depends on some variables.
        Two of the most important variables are the size of your website and the frequency with which you add data.
PicoSearch, one of the most popular free search engines among USGenWeb members, will index up to 1500 pages for free. FreeFind, perhaps even more frequently used, indexes 32 mb (about 3000 pages, FreeFind says, which may be a generous estimate) and provides "liberal, free increases." Atomz, a third search engine that many like, limits its free plan to sites with 500 pages or less; and its pay plans seem to be especially pricey.
        If you frequently add or change data on your website, you need to have it reindexed frequently. Until the changes are indexed (or spidered), they aren't available for searching. Atomz and FreeFind appear to offer the most flexibility in indexing: you can choose to have reindexing done automatically daily, weekly, or monthly or you can request it be done at any time. On the other hand, FreeFind indexes its free accounts only when the schedule permits and gives priority to pay plans. PicoSearch doesn't allow for automatically scheduled indexing in its free plan, but you can visit their site as often as you like and with a few clicks arrange to have your site reindexed as necessary.
        Be aware that all indexing is not the same. You need to determine which pages are indexed. For example, PicoSearch will index plain text and HTML files in the free version, but not MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint files and not RTF or PDF files.
        Another question you will want to consider is whether you can exclude certain pages from being indexed. You may want some pages to be excluded because they are primarily email addresses. Other pages may be text versions of HTML pages or only images. 
        These are some of the more important variables, and there are others. The best way to find out if a search engine is right for your site is to read the information the vendor offers; notice what others use and say about their search engines; try out the search engine, experimenting with searches and studying the result reports you receive after reindexing; and reevaluate your choice periodically as your site changes and search engine options change.

Free Search Engines:
        Atomz http://www.atomz.com/applications/search/
        Bravenet http://www.bravenet.com/webtools/search2/index.php
        Free Find http://www.freefind.com/
        PicoSearch http://www.picosearch.com/index.html
        SiteLevel http://sitelevel.whatuseek.com/services-basic.shtml

Information about Free Search Engines:
        Search Tools for Web Sites and Intranets
                
http://www.searchtools.com/
        Search Engines for Your Web Site
                
http://www.philipstripling.com/searchEngines.html
        WebMonkey: Adding Search to Your Site
                
http://hotwired.lycos.com/webmonkey/00/09/index2a.html?tw=e-business
        James S. Huggins’ Refrigerator: Search Services Summary
                
http://www.jamesshuggins.com/h/bas1/search_services_summary.htm

THE DIGITAL MAPS ARCHIVE PROJECT
Deb Haines
        The Digital Maps Archive Project began in 1999 under the coordination of Fred Smoot. It has grown to consist of nearly 7000 maps requiring approximately one gig of server space. You'll enjoy a visit to the website to browse through the various maps available for Indian Cessions, United States, and individual states and cities.
        There are several United States maps including one from 1845 that shows Texas as a separate country, a much larger Mexico than the Mexico of today, and the U.S. extending through western Canada almost as far north as Alaska (how did we lose that land?).  A 1764 street map of Manhattan and a bird's-eye view of Newport, Rhode Island circa 1878 are fascinating.
        The project also includes all sixty-seven maps from the 1899 paper, Indian Land Cessions in the United States complied by Charles C. Royce. The paper appeared in the 18th Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1896-97, Part 2 by J. W. Powell, Director, Washington: the Government Printing Office, 1899. These beautifully colored maps identify the various Indian cession treaties by number, so the original book must be consulted for additional information.
        State Map Coordinators are needed to coordinate uploading donated maps and maintain state pages. If you are interested, please check the
SMC page to see if a state is in need of a coordinator. Please also read the State Map Coordinator responsibilities and then contact Deb Haines ddhaines@earthlink.net or additional information.

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
Gayle Harper
(Gayle deals with legislation in her job as Senior Research/Library Specialist for the University of Arkansas System Criminal Justice Institute.)
        H.R. 3261, Title: "To prohibit the misappropriation of certain databases" was introduced 10/8/2003, but was given an unfavorable report by the Committee on Energy and Commerce. Another bill was introduced 3/2/2004 (H.R. 3872) and reported 3/16/2004 by the Committee on Energy and Commerce. in House Report 108-437.
        The language used in the bill H.R. 3872, and in H.R. 3261 which it replaced, seems to be directed at databases produced by those associated with the Stock Market and at other financial information. Since genealogy data is not time-sensitive (see below), I do not believe that there is any reason to think this bill would affect the genealogical community.
        Section 2 deems the misappropriation of a database an unfair method of competition and an unfair or deceptive act or practice in commerce under section 5(a)(1) of the Federal Trade Commission Act. It sets forth a five-factor test to determine whether there has been a misappropriation. The five conditions to be proved are: (1) a person generates or collects the information in the database at some cost or expense; (2) the value of the information is highly time sensitive; (3) another person's use of the information constitutes free-riding on the first person's costly efforts to generate or collect it; (4) the other person's use of the information is in direct competition with a product or service offered by the first person; and (5) the ability of other parties to free-ride on the efforts of the first person would so reduce the incentive to produce the product or service that its existence or quality would be substantially threatened.
        One other bill that should be looked at is H.R.2601 TITLE: "Public Domain Enhancement Act". This bill was introduced June 23, 2003 and referred to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property on 9/4/2003. The bill would "amend title 17, United States Code, to allow abandoned copyrighted works to enter the public domain after 50 years" if the copyright is abandoned by not maintaining the copyright by a fee ($1) every ten years to the Copyright Office. This bill should be encouraged as it would help the genealogy community by providing additional works to enter the public domain.

MEET THE NC
Isaiah Harrison
        If you live in the Tucson/Green Valley area and would like to meet the National Coordinator in person, this is your opportunity. I will be at the Starbucks in the Safeway store at 260 W. Continental Rd., Green Valley at 2:00pm Thursday, April 29. So stop in and join me, have a cup of coffee and talk about the project, genealogy or whatever. Look for the USGenWeb logo.
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NEWSLETTER STAFF
Editor: Isaiah Harrison
Copy Editor: Greta Thompson
Contributors: Ellen Pack, Linda Haas Davenport, Gayle Harper, Deb Haines, Greta Thompson
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© 2004, The USGenWeb Project. Permission to reprint articles from this newsletter is granted when the author and The USGenWeb Project News are credited.