Help:For First Time Contributors

Instructions First Time Contributors

This page is intended to provide information on who can contribute to the Engineering and Technology History Wiki and what kind of content can be added to the site.

What is the Engineering and Technology History Wiki?

The ETHW is a website dedicated to preserving and promoting the history of innovation in the history of electrical, electronic, and computer technologies and allied disciplines. The wiki-based site is designed for the public to browse and populate it with their experience, knowledge, and insights. The ETHW will also invite professional historians to share their interpretations of the processes of technological change and innovation. In time, the site will serve as a central historical repository of all the achievements, ideas, and first-hand knowledge of engineering society members, societies, councils and technical communities. It also will also provide a central location for all materials related to engineering’s organizational history.

What Can You Share?

The ETHW has made it easy for people to contribute their knowledge and memories on just about any topic. Create a user ID and password, and you’ll be able to review and edit existing content, and add topic threads not yet available. You can upload photos, drawings, diagrams, documents (in both word and PDF format), and video and audio recordings. The idea of the site is to serve as a living electronic memory of all the important contributions made by people to technological progress -- all around the globe. The site will never be complete -- it will continually grow and expand to be a central site for members and others to explore the history of technological innovation.

Who Can Contribute and Edit Content?

Anyone can register on the ETHW creating a account using the account creation form. Simply log into the site using your ETHW membership user ID and password, and you’ll be able to tell your own story in your own words, while enhancing it with photos, drawings, diagrams, documents (in both word and PDF format), and video and audio recordings.

Who Can Participate in Discussions?

Any user is invited to participate in discussions. You do not have to be logged-in to participate in discussions.

The Historical and Technological Scope of the ETHW

The admissible range of technologies for historical presentation within the ETHW is very wide – anything that involves the history engineering and technology broadly construed. Examples, to mention just a few, range from bridges, microelectronics, oil wells, giant electric power stations, steam engines, bio-medical applications, the internet, space travel, ocean engineering, geosciences, video games, to music and movies.

Because of the preservation function of the ETHW and the fact that it is a repository of data for future historians, general articles and first-person accounts are allowed to cover right up until today. Certain other sections will be restricted to people, events and innovations that have occurred at least 25 years ago, including the IEEE Milestones program. Historians have developed various guidelines for how long ago an event must have occurred to be considered ‘historical’, as such certain archival functions may be restricted to conform with such guidelines.

Content areas

First Hand Accounts

Engineers, scientists and related professionals have long been the main actors in the drama of technological innovation. Knowing their stories is essential to understanding how and why technology has progressed as it has for the benefit of humanity. A first-hand account is written in the first person, using the pronouns “I” and “we.” A first-hand account is the recollection of an event, as seen through one person’s eyes.

First-hand accounts are very important to understanding the history of technology because they provide the experiences of those directly involved in the acts of discovery, design, invention, R&D, testing, production, and all other the elements shape the process of technological change. First-hand experiences are the accounts of the "actors" themselves. First-hand experiences need not be confined to products and services you worked on or used, they can also refer to your broader development as an engineer; your training and education, your professional affiliations In short, in First-Hand Accounts, you can write about anything that flowed from your work as an engineer and scientist or shaped your development as an engineer or scientist.

We encourage you to add your first hand accounts to the ETHW. To do this, select the First Hand Histories link under the Go pulldown on any page.

Encyclopedia

A enyclopedic article is a third person description of a person, place, event, thing, or idea. The article requires a balanced exposition that makes reference to all the different credible perspectives. Authors of articles must cite the sources of the information used in their writing. All the registered users of the ETHW can collaborate on any encyclopedic article. Everyones contributions, from the person who first creates the article to all those who add or edit it, is recorded. The "History" reveals the history of all edits. Any given version of a article can be found, compared to other versions, and restored if necessary. Articles do not belong to anyone person. They represent the collective insights of many. You may also wish to add new article, or contribute to existing articles on the ETHW. Please remember, although the subject matter of articles covers all of engineering technologies, they all must have something to do with the history of technology. If there are areas in which you have particular interest, your contributions will be appreciated.

To add a topic, click on the "Encyclopedia" link under the Go pulldown. at the top and follow the page creation link.

Oral Histories

An Oral History is an interview with someone with historical knowledge conducted by someone with historical training, in order to convert memory into a formalized historical document. Many societies on the ETHW have longstanding Oral History programs through which an official interview with a significant figure in engineering or science conducted by specially-trained staff and volunteers. Its contents are set by what was discussed during that interview.

Difference between First-hand History and Oral History

A First-hand History is an article originated by the person or persons who experienced or contributed to the historical subject. An Oral History is conducted by an interlocutor, questioning the subject with the first hand experience. More simply, you can record your own first-hand experience on the ETHW as a First-hand History. Oral Histories are recorded in an interview format by trained staff. As such, First-hand Histories can be updated, but only by its author or authors. Each Oral History is fixed by agreement of the interviewer and interviewee.

Archival Texts, Images, Audio, and Video

To provide a virtual archive for users of the ETHW, image, audio and video files, and scanned versions of archival texts can be uploaded onto the ETHW. These items cannot be edited.

Published Material

Published material cannot be edited. A published materials page contains a short description of the material and a link to a pdf document containing the article.

Writing and Editing Modes

The ETHW allows contributors to use two different modes, VisualEditor and Wikitext. You can select either under the Actions pulldown when logged in.

Wikitext allows for the more advanced user to accurately format the pages. If you are comfortable with using markup languages, see Wikitext Formatting and Style Guide.

Providing Feedback

We appreciate your assistance in providing feedback on the ETHW.  We'd like to know what is working well for you, and what suggestions you have for improvements.  The Feedback page is divided into various sections. Please enter your comments in the appropriate section. To input, just click at the "edit" function which appears at the end of  section and then add you comments at the bottom of the existing feedback. It may be helpful if you read the the feedback of others before entering your own. Someone else may have already given the same feedback. Also give a glance at the Discussion tab for the Feedback page. As always, feel free to participate in any discussion thread, or start a discussion thread. Simply let us know!