first questions

I have received my review copy of Packt Publishing’s MediaWiki Administrators’ Tutorial Guide by Mizanur Rahman. It arrived very promptly – thank you.

As I am busy with project deadlines, I thought I would quickly look up in the index and table of contents the few questions that I had put aside while waiting for the book:

  • change passwords
  • I did not find this in the index. I looked for ‘change’, ‘password’, under ‘user accounts’, and ‘configuration. None of which led me to the information I required. I found this strange, as I thought one of the most important tasks of the MediaWiki administrator would be being able to manage user accounts.

  • delete categories
  • I did not find this in the index, but by looking up ‘category – creating’, and reading on from there, I found a section titled ‘Moving a Page’. I was able to read that what I needed to look for was to ‘move’. Fortunately, the note about not being able to move a category or image in the same way you do a page was highlighted with the manual’s important note or warning icon.

    In the table of contents I found ‘Deleting a Page’, but it had no reference to a category.

  • session time
  • I was unable to find an entry in the index about logging in and session times.

  • change logo
  • I looked in the index for “change”, “logo”, “configuration”, and “customisation”.

My first impression is that the index is not sufficient for someone that is new to MediaWiki or wikis. Perhaps a glossary would have helped, for example, I was looking to delete a category and the book describes this under the heading of moving a page.

Also, there are almost three columns of items in the index under the heading of “MediaWiki” which I think is superfluous in a book that is about administrating a MediaWiki wiki.

Flicking through the table of contents, I can see this is more useful than the index. Although, I find Chapter 7: Administrating MediaWiki a bit of a puzzle considering the book is titled “MediaWiki Administrators’ Tutorial Guide”.

Having just dipped into the book today and not being able to find my keywords or phrases in the index, has reduced my confidence in understanding the information when I do successfully locate what material I think I need.

To be fair, the book is a ‘Tutorial Guide’, and often this means that you begin at a certain chapter or section and read from there. I have been attempting to use it like a reference book knowing what questions I have, but not having knowledge of the MediaWiki or wiki terminology. Next time, I will read from the beginning.

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