Sunday, March 18, 2007

Not Using Titles Properly

Indexing links every day makes this topic one I frequently grumble about. Why don't people properly title their web site/pages?

If you publish a book you put your book's title on the front cover, on the spine, and on the title page. And most publishers would tend to insist that you should use the same consistent title on each of these spots. So, why don't people do the same on their web sites?

The majority of web sites I visit put at least two different titles on their web site: one in the body (the cover and/or title page) and a different one in the TITLE tag or bar at the top of the browser window (the spine). And if they submit their site as a new link to Cyndi's List many times they will use a third, different title when they do so.

As an indexer, which title should I choose to use in the link? Which one is more important to the author? Generally, I assume it is the one in the body. However, which one is more important to technology on the Internet? The TITLE tag. Search engines, web browsers, bookmarks, and favorites all use what they find in the TITLE tag to index web sites. Because of that I have always used the TITLE tag for indexing the links on Cyndi's List.

If you have a genealogy web site take a minute today to look at the title of your site. Do you have one title? Or several? Does your preferred title appear in the TITLE bar at the top of your browser window? If not, it is time to update your web site.

And if you have a genealogy web site linked on Cyndi's List don't complain to me about how I indexed the link. First look at the title that you chose and think about possible corrections that might improve your site's indexing future.



Anonymous said...

I agree the websites should be consistent with their titles. In the meantime, I would use the visible title for your index as you do, but also you could include alternate titles at the bottom of the index entry or simply add the alternate titles as "see" references. In the online catalog records for libraries, we use the alternate title field, "see" and "see also" references frequently. Print publishers also aren't the best at maintaining a consistent title. With serials especially, changing and non-consistent titles is one of the serial catalogers greatest headaches. Then when you add what the patrons call it... And what YOU think it should be called... Authority records start looking good! Keep up the good work!

Cyndi Ingle said...

I do try to find a way to accomodate all the possible titles I'm faced with. I start with the TITLE tag, then sometimes use what I find in the body as as a sub-title. Depending on the text I may put it in the description. In the end I do my best to include everything without being terribly redundant.

Ultimately I would love the web site authors to take responsibility for this themselves and use the same title everywhere. Thanks for the comments!

Schelly Talalay Dardashti said...

Hi, Cyndi,
Welcome to the wonderful world of blog. I'm looking forward to your postings.

With best wishes,
Schelly Talalay Dardashti
Tracing The Tribe - The Jewish Genealogy Blog

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