Template talk:Battalion

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Revision as of 04:32, 17 December 2014 by Mia (Talk | contribs) (Agreed change)

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Further context and discussion for this template is in a commentable doc at towards modelling information about World War One Battalions --Mia (talk) 11:27, 4 November 2014 (PST)

Are Date mobilised, Date demobilisation started, Date demobilisation ended too much detail for these infoboxes, even as very, very optional fields? It's not already in Wikipedia so it's not duplicating anything, but the gist of 'where someone's unit' was may be conveyed by 'theatres' over time, but does that assume too much knowledge about what not being in a theatre meant? --Mia (talk) 11:22, 4 November 2014 (PST)

I now think date mobilised isn't worth recording at all at unit level. Units that were only raised during the war won't have one. If a unit existed before the war, it's usually safe to assume it was mobilised immediately after declaration of war. It is worth paying attention to start and end of demobilisation, as in the sending home of soldiers who enlisted for the duration of the war, as this is a significant part of lived experience, and the end date doesn't necessarily match the end of the unit as an organization. Dates can often be found in war diaries or published histories, and might be included in Operation War Diary.--GavinRobinson (talk) 11:15, 5 November 2014 (PST)
I agree! --Mia (talk) 15:26, 5 November 2014 (PST)

I've got infoboxes imported from Wikipedia but Lua (used for the extension that serves them) is throwing errors. Once that's sorted I need to tweak the format of the infoboxes e.g. http://collaborativecollections.org/WorldWarOne/index.php?title=Template:Infobox_military_unit --Mia (talk) 02:36, 5 November 2014 (PST)

Similarly, does adding a 'Source' or 'evidence' field for e.g. theatre, hierarchy changes just clutter up the infobox? Or is there an advantage to having that as structured data? --Mia (talk) 11:27, 4 November 2014 (PST)

I think it's very important for users to be easily able to trace every fact back to a reliable source (IWM Lives is right to insist on this). Would it be feasible to give users the option to show or hide sources? That would be the best of both worlds. The main sources for these things will be standard sources such as war diaries and Becke's orders of battle. These might benefit from being entered in a standard form.--GavinRobinson (talk) 11:15, 5 November 2014 (PST)
Standard wikipedia referencing isn't very intrusive, and some people might already be used to it. The editor provides decent support for most forms of evidence, but I haven't tried it for unpublished sources that can't be used on Wikipedia. Would you have a sample citation for the Orders of Battle handy to test the citation pop-up?
I think there'd be more debate around evidence linking specific people to units in cases where disambiguating people with similar names is tricky, but hopefully the diaries or letters themselves, as well as the information on the hosting site, would provide enough context to make that process easier. --Mia (talk) 15:26, 5 November 2014 (PST)
I could also look at adding the mediawiki extension that makes citing sources easier. --Mia (talk) 10:19, 12 November 2014 (PST)
Yes, Wikipedia style footnotes would be good as they allow multiple sources, and free text to explain things or point out that another source has got it wrong. Would ref tags inside infobox data fields cause any problems? Becke's Orders of Battle are published works with volume and page numbers, so in print a subsequent abbreviated reference might just be "Becke, Order of Battle, 2a, 53." or if an abbreviation was defined in the list of abbreviations at the start, maybe just "OB, 2a, 53." It's likely to be cited so often on this site that a standard abbreviated form would be useful. Maybe a wiki template specifically for citing it.--GavinRobinson (talk) 02:53, 19 November 2014 (PST)
I've added a source on 1/4th Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment, British infantry - it doesn't look too obtrusive. (It's also made me realise that I need to change the styling of Template:Infobox command structure as the date is included in the header) I'm updating Infobox Command structure/doc to test repeated boxes for parents and grandparent units (e.g. brigade, division), also adding start and end date rather than a single date. --Mia (talk) 16:23, 23 November 2014 (PST)


I'd like to suggest yet another way of arranging the source headings:

(H2) Personal narratives

(As before.)

(H2) Related media (images etc)

(As before.)

(H2) Official Documents

Official archival documents, and printed or web editions of them. Anything that isn't a war diary can go at this level. This might include:

  • intelligence summaries
  • headquarters correspondence
  • medal rolls
  • court martial records

(H3) War Diaries

Links and catalogue references for official copies of war diaries at TNA, AWM etc. Also links to unofficial images, transcripts or printed editions.

(H2) Published Histories

More or less everything else, including:

  • published books giving a narrative of a unit's history (official or unofficial: the boundary can be quite blurred)
  • websites about a specific unit (maybe including IWM Lives communities?)
  • academic articles and monographs which give substantial coverage to this unit or say something important about it
  • biographies (other than autobiographies) of people who served in the unit
  • for higher formations, relevant pages in Becke's Orders of Battle

(H2) References

Footnote list generated by ref tag --GavinRobinson (talk) 06:50, 25 November 2014 (PST)

Sounds reasonable to me! But 'published' is a slippery term, as is 'histories' - could it be merged with 'related media' in some way? I'm thinking of small institutions and local history societies that might have a mixture of photographs and other documents; and other sources that might or might not have had some external review before posting/printing/publication. --Mia (talk) 02:41, 26 November 2014 (PST)
You're right, 'published histories' is slippery. I was thinking of things that are mainly written, whereas media suggests things that are mainly images or sound, but I can imagine some overlap in the middle. I also sort of meant 'secondary works' but people who don't have adademic training might not have heard of the primary/secondary distinction, and people who do have adademic training know how slippery it is. Maybe in this case we can't avoid 'Other Sources'. I'm still not sure how to classify unit-specific communities at Lives of the First World War, but they will need to be included somewhere.--GavinRobinson (talk) 05:09, 27 November 2014 (PST)
I've updated the comment prompts for 'unit war diaries' with your text and added a section for 'other official documents' (ditto).
What about 'online sites and communities' to include LFWW? I'd include specific pages hosted on 'official' museum etc sites here, as well as community-created content, leaving it up to the reader to categorise them as necessary for their own purposes. Journal articles etc can go in the bibliography. --Mia (talk) 10:30, 3 December 2014 (PST)

I've edited your bit above as the headings made the page look like it had headings, if that makes sense. --Mia (talk) 16:57, 3 December 2014 (PST)

I think the source headings are fine as they are now. Not worth thinking about or discussing any more changes.--GavinRobinson (talk) 02:38, 13 December 2014 (PST)


But wait, I've had one more thought, because it seems a bit odd for Bibliography to be a sub-heading. How about:

  • H2 Personal narratives
  • H2 Related media
  • H2 Official Sources
      • H3 Unit war diaries
      • H3 Unit histories
      • H3 Other official documents
  • H2 Other Sources
  • H2 References

--GavinRobinson (talk) 01:31, 15 December 2014 (PST)

Done! --Mia (talk) 04:32, 17 December 2014 (PST)

Headings for infoboxes?[edit]

Would it be a good idea for repeatable infoboxes of the same type to be grouped under manually inserted headings? It wouldn't work when I tried it because all infoboxes are aligned right with text flowing to the left, but that's just a CSS thing. What are the pros and cons? Would it interfere with boxes being sub-boxes of the main infobox? Will pages with lots of children become unmanageable if they're not divided by headings?--GavinRobinson (talk) 03:21, 13 December 2014 (PST)