MDGenWeb MDGenWeb Project Policies
and Site Guidelines

[general information] [mdgenweb policy] [required elements] [additional necessities] [recommended elements] [local coordinator duties/responsibilities] [sc duties/responsibilities] [asc duties/responsibilities] [election procedures]
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GENERAL INFORMATION:

  1. Introduction: The MDGenWeb Project is part of The USGenWeb Project™, a not-for-profit, all-volunteer genealogical organization. Therefore, in addition to any state guidelines outlined here, all MDGenWeb-affiliated web sites and their coordinators shall conform to policies and procedures established by our parent organization. These national policies and procedures, which form the foundation for each state project, are described on the USGenWeb Volunteers Information page and the USGenWeb Project Bylaws page. Persons interested in becoming a part of The MDGenWeb Project should first carefully review the information contained in these web pages in order to familiarize themselves with our national structure.

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  2. Terms: The term "Special Topic" used throughout this document refers to any MDGenWeb topical special projects which may be included in our state project, and should not be confused with USGenWeb-level Special Projects. The term "Local Coordinator" refers to MDGenWeb site coordinators for local geographic or special topical divisions. This includes County, City, and Special Topic Coordinators, Co-Coordinators, and Assistant Coordinators. The term "Maryland local web site" includes county, city, and state-level special topics web sites. The requirements outlined for Local Coordinators and Maryland local web sites apply also to the State Coordinator, Co-Coordinator(s) and/or Assistant Coordinator(s) and to the state MDGenWeb web site.

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  3. The following are standard accepted abbreviations used within MDGenWeb:

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  4. When the terms "MDGenWeb member" and "MDGenWeb membership" are utilized in this document, they refer to all persons currently holding the position of MDGenWeb CC, ACC, SC, ASC, LC, ALC, and STC (see abbreviations list above), and who are in good standing with the state MDGenWeb and national USGenWeb organizations.

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MDGENWEB POLICY:

The following policies and procedures are specific to our state project. All MDGenWeb Project members are responsible for reading, understanding, and abiding by them. New and potential members are required to read and understand the following information prior to their participation in this project.

  1. Organizational Status: The MDGenWeb Project is an organized group of volunteers working to create an online center for Maryland genealogical research. The organization shall consist of a state web site and linked sites representing every county in the state of Maryland, as well as Baltimore City and any topical state-level Special Projects which have been developed and approved. The purpose of this organization is to gather genealogical and historical information for free online access by researchers. The MDGenWeb Project is considered to be an "Unincorporated Non-Profit Association."

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  2. Local (County, City and Special Topics) Coordinator Policies and Duties: The Local Coordinator is responsible for creating and maintaining websites at the county (or city) level or special topic websites. Local Coordinator duties include striving to include as much local or topical reference and resource information as possible for their site, adding new and updated content regularly, responding promptly to correspondence and questions from researchers, responding promptly to rollcall messages on the MDGEN-CC-L mailing list, and expeditiously correcting any problems noted during a site quality check. Local Coordinators are appointed by the State Coordinator in accordance with national and state guidelines. In making Local Coordinator selections, consideration should be given to knowledge and interest in genealogy in the area, technical ability, activity in The USGenWeb Project, and existing workload. All Local Co-Coordinator and Assistant Coordinator appointments must be authorized and approved by the State Coordinator.

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  3. State Coordinator Policies and Duties: The State Coordinator (SC) is the primary administrative officer of MDGenWeb. SC duties include, but are not limited to, oversight and maintenance of the MDGenWeb state web site, recruiting and training new project volunteers, and maintaining an internal MDGenWeb coordinator's mailing list. The SC has the responsibility and authority to select new local coordinators in accordance with national and MDGenWeb guidelines, and to replace local coordinators who fail to comply with MDGenWeb or USGenWeb state bylaws, rules, and policies. The SC may appoint other members to serve in volunteer positions such as webmaster, archivist, welcome host, new member training coordinator, special projects coordinator, etc. These positions should be held by members in good standing and do not merit any special project authority or position other than meeting specific needs of the project.

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  4. Assistant State Coordinator Policies and Duties: The Assistant State Coordinator (ASC) is selected by the State Coordinator. The ASC is responsible for assisting the SC as needed. The ASC would be called to serve as Acting SC in the event that the elected SC resigns, becomes unable to serve due to illness, is on extended vacation, or is unable to meet the SC position requirements. The ASC should be a Local Coordinator in good standing.

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  5. State Coordinator Election Procedures: An election for the office of MDGenWeb State Coordinator is to be initiated and completed every two years (on odd-numbered years) in the month of December, with the term of office commencing January 1st. There is no limit to the number of terms an individual may be elected. To qualify to run for MDGenWeb State Coordinator, the candidate must be a member in good standing of MDGenWeb and USGenWeb for 12 consecutive months before being nominated. The election is to be administered by The USGenWeb Elections Committee. The State Coordinator will be elected by the MDGenWeb Project membership. Each member may cast one vote only (no matter the number of local or topical sites hosted). The winner of the election will be the individual who receives a fraction over 50 percent of the votes cast. If no candidate receives at least a fraction over 50 percent of the vote, then a run-off election will be held between the two individuals with the highest vote totals. The winner of the run-off will be the individual who receives at least a fraction over 50 percent of the votes cast.

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  6. Required Elements:
    1. Site Naming: Adopting a MDGenWeb local web site means it is a part of The USGenWeb Project, and it must be prominently identified as such. The name of your site should be something like "[County Name] County, Maryland, USGenWeb (or MDGenWeb) Project".

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    2. Project Logo: All MDGenWeb local web sites are required to use the official project name and to have the national USGenWeb logo and the state MDGenWeb logo displayed prominently. Please refer to the MDGenWeb Image Library page to obtain these and other helpful images.

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    3. Project Name: The name of our parent organization is The USGenWeb Project. The name of our individual state project is The MDGenWeb Project. (Note that there is NO space between the "US" or the "MD" and the "GenWeb"). Our national and state projects should never be identified by any other variation in spelling or character spacing (correct: MDGenWeb, incorrect: MD GenWeb, Maryland GenWeb, GenWeb, Gen Web).

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    4. Required Links: Links to the following web sites must appear on the main page of all MDGenWeb local web sites -

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    5. Queries: Every MDGenWeb local site must provide an area in which visitors can post research queries specific to the geographical or topical division of the site. This may be done via email, mailmerge, or through one of the approved query programs for USGenWeb, such as the RootsWeb/Ancestry Query Boards and CCHelper. The USGenWeb national site has a page with information on website design and maintenance, including query management, with instructions for each query option. Queries must be dated so that your visitors (and we) can determine which are the new ones. Care should be taken by the Local Coordinator to ensure that queries posted are appropriate and on-topic. Queries or posts that are not specific to the locality or topic, inquiries about living persons, and adoption inquiries should be removed or redirected to a more appropriate forum.

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    6. Resources: Every MDGenWeb local site must provide at least some basic research help for their locality or topic. At a very minimum, for instance, a list of names, addresses and phone numbers for the county court clerk, library, and genealogical and/or historical societies should be provided. Other helpful offerings would be a collection of area maps and a bibliography page showing the reference books available for your locality or topic. The more information you offer, the better your site will be. Lookups should be offered if you or your volunteers have received permission to do so from the book's author or publisher or the reference books you have available meet the copyright policies of The USGenWeb Project 

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    7. County or Topic History: Each MDGenWeb local web site should also provide at least some basic information on the history of the locality or topic, whether it be a short, general history, or longer articles on the history of particular families, towns, etc.

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    8. USGenWeb Special Projects: Each MDGenWeb local web site should include information on, and encourage participation in, the USGenWeb Special Projects. The following links will take you to a special CC's Guide for each project. You should read each one and familiarize yourself with our Special Projects:

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    9. E-Mail Link: Your main page should include your name, identify you as the County, City or Special Topic Coordinator, and give your e-mail address.

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  7. Additional Necessities:
    1. MDGenWeb State Mailing List: Communication with and between all MDGenWeb Coordinators is critical to the success of the Project. To assure that important information is shared in a timely fashion, all Coordinators will be subscribed to our CC mailing list, MDGEN-CC-L. This is where we discuss all matters having to do with the project. Periodically, the State Coordinator will send out a roll call message. Replies to these messages are expected within 24 hours. If you will be away from your computer and unable to respond to any such roll calls for more than a couple of days, please notify the State Coordinator in advance.

      To post messages to the MDGEN-CC-L list, send email to MDGEN-CC-L@rootsweb.com. Only MDGenWeb staff may post messages.

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    2. Site Maintenance: If you volunteer to coordinate a county or topical site, it is expected that you will have your site online within 30 days. If, for some reason, you will be delayed attending to your site, or will no longer be able to volunteer, it is very important that you notify the State Coordinator of the situation.

      All county and topical sites will become the sole responsiblity of those who have adopted them and they must conform to the USGenWeb and MDGenWeb standards. If you feel that you cannot maintain your site, then please allow it to be put up for adoption - our viewers expect to see an "active page" with changes and updates being made frequently. Your site should be updated on a regular basis. How often is "regular"? It is probably reasonable to expect that no MDGenWeb site would be static, or without updates, for more than a 30-day period at most. Queries should be updated at least every two weeks. If you use RootsWeb's Query Boards or another automated system, it is necessary to be vigilant about removing inappropriate queries.

      Be sure to check your site periodically for dead links. You can do this manually, or use one of the free online utilities, such as the W3C Markup Validation Service (http://validator.w3.org/).

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    3. Project Affiliation: MDGenWeb web sites may show only a single affiliation - that of The USGenWeb Project. If you choose also to host a local, state or special topic site with another organization, it must have a separate home or index page. Blended sites are prohibited.

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    4. Non-Genealogical Content: MDGenWeb web sites may not contain non-genealogical related information. In particular, public personal statements concerning politics inside or outside of The USGenWeb Project are expressly prohibited.

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    5. Site Evaluations: Periodically, your site will be visited for an evaluation to confirm that it includes certain required elements, to check for broken or outdated links, and to suggest other possible improvements. Please respond promptly to any correspondence you receive pursuant to these reviews. Any required updates identified in the evaluation should be attended to within a week of notification. If that is not possible, please arrange a completion date with the State Coordinator.

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    6. Advertising/Solicitation of Funds: Solicitation of funds on a MDGenWeb affiliated web site is prohibited. It is permissible, however, to provide a link to a non-USGenWeb affiliated personal web site where genealogical services or materials are offered for sale. It is also permissible to acknowledge any entities who host or provide server space at no cost and to include a link to that entity's web site. If a coordinator lists materials or services for sale or hire by third parties, such as genealogical societies or commercial interests, the home or index page may include a link to the listing, but the materials and services themselves may not be listed on the home or index page. Any such listing of materials or services for sale or hire by third parties should include a disclaimer on the listing page saying that The USGenWeb Project and the site coordinator make no warranty as to the contents or accuracy of any of the materials for sale by these third parties, nor the expertise of any professional researchers listed.

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    7. Co-Coordinators and/or Assistant Coordinators: All Co- and Assistant Local Coordinator appointments must be authorized and approved by the State Coordinator.

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    8. Local Coordinators: It is the responsibility of the State Coordinator to choose a replacement coordinator when a MDGenWeb Local Coordinator resigns or is replaced. Outgoing LCs are encouraged to try to find a suitable replacement to coordinate the site, but the appointment must be authorized and approved by the State Coordinator.

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  8. Recommended Elements:

    The MDGenWeb Project recommends the following items, though they are not required.

    1. Copyright Notice: It is recommended that all websites within The USGenWeb Project carry the following copyright notice:

        Copyright 2005 by (the name of the coordinator)

      Be sure to update the year.

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    2. Register With the Elections Committee: Elections for positions on the USGenWeb Advisory Board are held yearly. Also, from time to time, special votes or polls may be held regarding issues of importance to this Project. The USGenWeb Elections Committee (EC) was formed to provide a secure voting site and to manage all of our elections. New USGenWeb Local Coordinators should visit the Voter Registration page at http://www.rootsweb.com/~usgwelections/register.html and register to vote so that they may participate and have a voice in deciding important issues.

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    3. Recommended Links: Links to the following URLs are recommended, but not required:

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mdgenweb local coordinator faq

WHERE CAN I FIND HELP WITH MY SITE?

  1. SAMPLE COUNTY PAGE -
    Please feel free to download and use the available sample page, which conforms to all the basic requirements for a MDGenWeb County site.

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  2. COUNTER -
    If you are using Rootsweb's server (free! ) to house your site, you can use the easy counter system they provide. Here are the links you'll need:

    Tip for counters:

    1. Match the counter name with the name of the page on which you use it (for example, counter name "wills" for page "wills.html").
    2. Use the same password for every counter you put on your site.

    If your site will be housed elsewhere, there are a number of free counter programs available. A good one is located at StatCounter .

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  3. QUERIES -
    There are several options available to you for query management. You may instruct your site visitors to send you queries via email or use a mailmerge form, and handle them manually, or you may choose to take advantage of one of the approved automated query programs for the USGenWeb, such as the RootsWeb/Ancestry Query Boards or CCHelper. The USGenWeb national site has some good information on Web Site Design and Maintenance, with instructions for each query option.

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  4. MAPS OF YOUR LOCALITY -
    Here are some very helpful links for places to obtain maps of your area. Including good maps from various times in your county's history is extremely beneficial to your site visitors.

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  5. MORE HELP -
    Lots of additional help is available at the USGenWeb's Information For Volunteers page. Here you'll find a wealth of information on such things as National Guidelines, Official Logos, HTML help, maps, mail lists, query management, cgi scripting, mailmerge help, free server space for your site, upload info, publicity ideas, and . . . well, you get the point. Very comprehensive.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT COORDINATING A MARYLAND LOCAL SITE:

Do I have to live in Maryland?

Residence in Maryland (or in a specific county) is NOT required, though you should have a sincere interest in the genealogy and history of that county or topic. Most county hosts do not live in the counties that they coordinate. They adopt the county because they love it, they hold it dear in their memories, or because they do most of their own research in that county, they have a knowledge of it and want to help others.

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Do I have to know HTML and FTP?

Knowledge of making and uploading web pages is preferred. Note: If you would like to download free HTML editors, see Yahoo or C|Net's Download.Com for a wide variety of no cost or low cost software.

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How much time is involved in maintaining a MDGenWeb county or special topic site?

That depends on your level of involvement in the project and the expertise you bring with you. At first, things can seem pretty overwhelming, but there are plenty of experienced folks around to help you out. Probably a minimum of 3 to 4 hours per week will be needed to establish and maintain a satisfactory research environment, by supplying the required elements. As you expand offerings in your county, the time commitment increases. Most coordinators devote more than the minimum, and their sites reflect their effort. Some coordinators have even taken on assistants as their sites become more and more popular.

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This collection of policies and site guidelines was prepared to provide information and does not constitute a contract.




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