Help:Wiki help


This page lists a number of terms frequently used in a wiki and provides a brief definition of each one. Entries are ordered alphabetically.


Categories are a useful tool to group pages stored in different namespaces. It is possible to create hierachies between two or more categories. A user can add a category to a page during the editing process, using the correspondent wiki markup [[Category:Category name]].
After saving, you can easily notice that the code used to markup the category is not visible where you have added it; as matter of the fact, all the categories used within a page are visible only at the bottom of the page within a specific box, as you can see also in this page.
Within this wiki categories are mainly used to set up letters indexes or to group pages to generate searchable tables.


Every page within a wiki has its own talk page: you can access to it by clicking on the 'Discussion' tab, next to the 'Page' tab, on the upper-left side of the page.
The discussion page structure is very similar to a forum discussion page: to create any new 'Topic' you must be logged in. A 'Topic' is anything that anyone could note about that specific page; a single discussion page can have one or more topics. Before add a new topic a user must check if anyone before him/her has already opened a 'Topic' on the same subject.
Users can partecipate to the discussion (and they are strongly recommended to do so) on all the topics of their interest, trying to contribute to their resolution. Obviously, several or many topics could remain unsolved, however this is not relevant because we strongly believe the discussion itself is important as much as its final resolution.

Edit conflict

Mediawiki does not support concurrence. This means that two or more users can simultaneously edit the same page, but when they will save their changes one of them will lose his/her work. Unfortunately this is a limit of the Mediawiki software that hopefully will be fixed in future. The following are some tips to avoid this kind of conflicts:

  • save your work frequently
  • when practicable, edit one Section at a time. This reduces edit conflicts because the system can cope if different editors are editing different sections at the same time. The system uses CVS-style edit-conflict merging, based on the diff3 utility. This feature triggers an edit conflict only if users attempt to edit the same few lines
  • GATE has an "In Use" notice that users may use when editing a page over a long period of time. This may discourage other editors from editing while you are editing. Simply put {{in use}} on an article before proceeding with a major edit, and remove the template when the editing is complete. Remember to save after you have added {{in use}}, otherwise no one will see the "In Use" notice.

This is a preview of the "In use" notice:

Ambox clock.svg This page is actively undergoing a major edit. To help avoid edit conflicts, please do not edit this page while this message is displayed. Thanks for your help!

This page was last revised at 16:22, 28 March 2018 (UTC). Please remove this template if this page hasn't been edited in several hours (click here to read the history of this page). If you are the editor who added this template, please be sure to remove it when your major editing is done.


Links are obviously one of the most used functions within a wiki. It is possible to link both to internal and external resources. To learn how to code links using the wiki mark-up, see Help:Formatting.

External links

An external link points to an address outside the wiki; it is easily recognizable because next to it there is the symbol Icon External Link.png.

Internal links

An internal link is a link between two pages within the same wiki. It can point both to an already existing page or to a page to be created:

  • this link points to an already existing page and is blue (it turns violet after you click on it);
  • this link points to a not existing page and is red (it turns a bit darker after you click on it).


Namespaces are used to group or separate pages. Usually one can recognize if a page is in a particular namespace by looking at the URL of the page. Some examples:


In these cases the Category:, Special: and Page: namespaces have been used. So, as we can see, usually a namespace preceeds the name of a page with a structure like NamespaceName:PageName. This is always true except for the Main namespace (see below). In a wiki there may be several namespaces and they are used for different purposes: maintenance, development, discussion, articles and so on.
There follows a list of the most used namespaces.


The so called Main namespace groups all the article pages within a wiki. This is the only namespace whose name is not visible in the URL, e.g.:

  • page

Even if this namespace has been imagined by the Mediawiki developers to host the articles of Wikipedia - seeing them as entries of an encyclopedia -, it can be used for other purposes too.


Within the Category: namespace all the categories of a wiki are grouped (see Categories for a detailed description).


Pages in this namespace are structured as forms to fill with data; the output of the form pages are article pages usually structured as tables. This means that the pages created with a form are stored in the Main namespace.
A form page example is the Form:AKC Bibliography entries, in this wiki used to create bibliographical data within the Monumenta Kircheri. Almost every user can create or edit an article page using a form, however the form itself can be modified only by administrators.


The Index: namespace contains pages where books or manuscripts to transcribe are described. Together with Page namespace, it is part of the Proofread Page extension.
Index pages are necessary to check the status of the transcrption and contain links to all the pages of a same manuscript stored in the Page: namespace (see here).
Within this wiki, Index pages are not editable by users since they contain important metadata retrieved in other parts of the platform; however if users should notice mistakes within these pages, they can point them out in the discussion page of that Index page.


This namespace is used to perform transcriptions by using the Proofread Page extension. When you create or edit a page within this namespace, you always see at the right or at the top of the screen (according to your user preferences) the image of the book or the manuscript that you are going to transcribe. See also Index namespace.


The Special: namespace groups a lot of pages related to the management and maintenance of the wiki. Not all the pages are visible to and editable by all users, however some of the Special pages are very important to correctly work on a wiki. E.g., through the Special namespace you can access to your own preferences (Special:Preferences); you can also access to a special search for the pages where you can filter them according to their namespace (Special:AllPages); and many other useful things!

Talk namespaces

Generally on a wiki each namespace is associated to a Talk namespace. This is one of the best known feature of the Mediawiki software architecture, devoloped with the aim of promoting the discussion among users (without this feature Wikipedia wouldn't exist as we know it). Talk pages are used to propose improvements to a page, regardless to the namespace of the page. E.g. one can propose:

A user can access to the Talk namespace of a page by clicking on the 'Discussion' tab, next to the 'Page' tab in the upper-left side of the page. Some tips about how to use 'Discussion' pages are presented within the Discussion section of this page.


Within a wiki project, proofreading is the action of reviewing transcriptions made by other users. This process should led to more accurate transcriptions reviewed by many people instead of by just one editor.
The Wikipedia community developed a specific tool to ease this process, the Proofread Page extension. This extension generates two new namespaces - Index and Page - and some other tools to surf through transcriptions and to improve the whole process. One important feature is a visual system to easily notice the status of the transcriptions, based on colours. When you are on a page in Index: or Page: namespaces, you can see several colours associated to the status of the transcription. This is their meaning:

  • Not proofread
  • Proofread
  • Validated: the text is ready to be published
  • Without text: used for blank pages; NOT use for image pages
  • Problematic: indicates a problem that needs further work or discussion among contributors

It is possible to set the status of proofread at bottom of every page within the Page: namespace; this choice will be automatically visible in the associated index page too.


You can search the wiki in several ways. The easiest one is to fill the search bar on the upper right side of any page; this search mode is the easiest to perform but also the less accurate, because it searches JUST the pages within the Main namespace. This means that pages grouped in other namespaces, e.g. 'Page' or 'Index' namespaces, are not queried at all and, consequently, the results pertinent to your search stored under other namespaces will be excluded from the results list. Besides, this 'easy' search queries the whole article pages, so if you are interested, e.g., only in Kircher correspondence, the results related to other projects will be returned too. Therefore, if you want to search only one project, it is strongly suggested to use the search tools devoloped for each project and accessible through their home pages:

However if you actually want to search the whole wiki in an easy way, you can use this modality.
If your needs are instead more complex, e.g. you want to search a term within a specific namespace, you can use the advanced search form at Special:Search.

Wiki markup

Wiki markup is the specific coding language used within all Mediawiki-based sites. Once users learn its basic functions, it is very simple to use. Furthermore, this wiki implements both a more intuitive editor (named Wiki Editor) and an extension to insert specific wiki markups (named CharInsert), so that pages editing is even easier for users. Although this facilitation, we strongly recommend to read the formatting help page, where you can learn how to properly use wiki markup.
Using Wiki Editor, the default editor when you click on the 'Edit' tab, is easier. E.g. if you want to use the italics

  • with wiki markup you should digit ''italics'' to obtatin italics;
  • with Wiki Editor you just have to select the text and click on Toolbaricon italic I.png, then the '' '' will be automatically added.

This is one of most common and simple cases, however if you have to insert more complex elements, e.g., a table, the Wiki Editor can genuinely be very helpful.