Wikipedia:WikiProject National Register of Historic Places/FAQ

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This is a list of frequently asked questions in WikiProject National Register of Historic Places. This list includes common questions from newcomers to the project as well as how to's for frequently performed tasks. If your question is not answered below, feel free to leave a comment at the project talk page asking for assistance.

Questions related to the project itself[edit]

How do I join the project?
Just like all WikiProjects, there are no prerequisites to join this project. Simply start creating articles or taking pictures. We welcome any help! Because we want to keep track of how big the project is, who is actively editing, and where they are focusing, we ask that you add your name to our members list (in alphabetical order) along with a geographical area of interest (which may be the entire country) and/or any other specialized interests you may have.
How do I show others that I am a participant in this project?
We have several Userboxes you can put on your user page to notify others that you are a member of this project. For a list of them, click here.
I'm new to the project and/or my to-do list is empty. Is there anything I can help with?
If you are new to the project, or if you are just looking for something to do, you can check out our project to-do list, which is never empty! For those that are content with behind the scenes work, there are several maintenance tasks that always need doing such as assessing or cleaning up articles. There are also occasional article drives and a seemingly unlimited supply of information that can be used to create new articles. Some states even have every single NRHP nomination document online! There is always something to do around here; just ask!
I have a question about a specific article or template, and I'd rather not bother the entire project with it. Whom should I ask?
While no post at the project talk page is ever viewed as "bothersome", sometimes asking individual editors gets the problem solved more quickly (e.g. if you are asking about a specific region of the country or a certain type of architecture). Our list of members may be helpful in finding someone tailored to your question. Most members include a geographical area and/or some other area or topic on which they generally focus. Many members on the list may be inactive, however, so it may be beneficial to drop a comment on the project talk page and one on that editor's talk page.
I am having trouble figuring out how to assess the quality and/or importance of an article I created or found. Can anyone help me?
Our project strives to make sure that all articles under our scope are properly labelled and assessed; we even have an entire division dedicated to assessment. If you come across an article that should be under the scope of WikiProject NRHP, please feel free to add the {{WikiProject National Register of Historic Places}} tag to the article's talk page. For a list of frequently asked questions about assessment, click here, and for more information about what each class/importance level signifies, click here.
An article I created was just featured as a Did you Know?, Good article, Featured article, or some other recognition. How do I let the project know?
Congratulations on your achievement! While we understand your eagerness to get the word out, no action is necessary to alert the project of your article; we have a bot for that! User:JL-Bot periodically updates our recognized content page with newly-recognized articles. The bot usually runs once a week or so, though sometimes the wait is longer. Any changes you make to the page will automatically be replaced when the bot runs again. If an article you have written is not displayed on the recognized content page even after the bot has run, make sure it has the {{WikiProject National Register of Historic Places}} banner on the talk page. Without that banner, the bot cannot associate the article with this project. If the banner is present, and the article still isn't listed, all questions should be directed to User talk:JL-Bot.

Questions related to articles[edit]

What should I name the article I just created?
See WP:NRHPMOS#Naming conventions. Generally the title of an article should be the official name given in the NRHP nomination document or listed in the NRIS. In certain cases, it is preferable to use a more common name, although the official NRHP name should be a redirect to the article.
Where can I find information to write an article?
See our editor help page for a list of nationwide and state-specific sources for finding official NRHP nomination documents and/or other sources of information about sites listed on the NRHP. A quick Google search never hurts either!
How do I cite the information that I get from the NRIS database or other official sources?
See WP:NRHPMOS#References for a full overview of standard reference formatting. Information that is retrieved from the NRIS database is usually cited by using the {{NRISref}} template inside of a reference tag with the reference name "nris" (i.e. <ref name="nris">{{NRISref|parameters}}</ref>). Any stand-alone references that do not use this template should be converted to the standard notation whenever found. The reason for using this centralized template is that the status of the NRIS database as a reliable source is occasionally brought into question by the community at large due to the inability to link directly to a specific entry in the database. The coding of the template currently reflects the most recent community-wide consensus on the best formatting possible. If consensus changes in the future, only one edit to this template needs to be made instead of tens of thousands of edits to individual articles.
The Elkman infobox generator (or other source) gave me the wrong coordinates; what do I do?
The Elkman infobox generator (and many other tools) obtain coordinates of NRHP listings from the NRIS database, which is provided by the National Park Service via its online Focus interface. Though most coordinates are fairly accurate, the NRIS is sometimes slightly off, and there are a few egregious errors. For more information on why the coordinates are not exactly correct and how to fix them, see WP:NRHPHELP#Geographic help and/or WP:NRHPMOS#Coordinates. If the coordinates are extremely incorrect (e.g. they are shown in a different state), it would be helpful to bring them up at the project talk page and/or list them on our NRIS errors page.
Which infobox should I use in articles about sites on the NRHP?
The infobox that is usually used in articles about NRHP listings is {{Infobox NRHP}}. The infobox includes parameters for the NRIS reference number, location, listing date, architect, and many many other things. For information about what each of the parameters does, look at the infobox documentation. Building an infobox from scratch is sometimes a bit hard, so Elkman's infobox generator is often used to generate a pre-fabricated infobox skeleton with information from the NRIS. This infobox can (and usually should) be modified by clarifying details that are left ambiguous in NRIS or by adding more details that are not included in the NRIS skeleton data. The tool serves as a great starting point rather than starting from scratch.
The Elkman infobox generator returned a funny two-letter code when I searched for it. What does that mean?
Every listing in the NRIS has a "listing code" that signifies whether the property is actually listed on the Register, eligible to be listed but not actually on the Register because of an owner objection, or possibly even removed from the Register due to demolition or some other reason. The usual code for a vast majority of listings is "LI" or "LISTED" (depending on the NRIS version you're querying), which means the property is actually included on the Register. Elkman's infobox generator only displays the listing code for a property if it is not "LI" or "LISTED". For a full list of the codes and their explanations, click [show] below.

Questions related to lists[edit]

A site that I know has been listed on the National Register is not included in the state or county list in which it is located; what should I do?
While we try to keep our lists as up to date and complete as possible, we aren't perfect. If a site has been listed on the National Register within the last week, perhaps wait a few days, and someone in the project will get around to it. Remember, this project covers all 50 states, plus the territories, so it takes a while for the numerous weekly additions to the Register to be reflected on Wikipedia. If a site has been listed for an extended period of time and is still not included on any list, please leave a comment at the project talk page and one of our members will help you shortly.
If waiting is not your style, be bold and make the addition yourself. We ask first, though, that you check to make sure the site in question is actually on the Register. Sometimes sources may claim that a site is listed on the National Register individually, but in reality the site is only a contributing property to a larger district. A quick search in Elkman's infobox generator or in the Focus database can confirm a listing. If the site in question is not returned from either of these sources, it is best to leave a message at the project talk page asking for more information.
A list of NRHP listings seems to be displaying incorrectly and/or takes forever to load, but I can't find any problem in the article text.
Our lists make use of many templates, so sometimes larger lists may exceed the limits that Wikimedia's software can handle. It is also possible that the list contains so many images that load times on slower connections become unbearable. The usual remedy for this problem is to split lists into smaller and smaller geographical regions. For example, National Register of Historic Places listings in New York City is broken down into several counties, which are then broken even further down into listings by street address. The splitting criteria are usually hashed out at the relevant county or state list's talk page, although it is sometimes beneficial to drop a note at the project talk page as well to notify editors who may not actively watch county lists.
When I click "Map of all coordinates from Google" (or Bing) at the top of a list, the map includes markers for sites not on the list and/or does not include markers for sites that are on the list.
The coordinates tool used in the {{GeoGroup}} template is hosted on the Toolserver. The tool supports several parameters (listed at the tool homepage) that can be used to customize the output. The GeoGroupTemplate sets the usecache parameter to a default value of "1", which tells the tool to use a cache if one exists in order to reduce bandwidth on the toolserver. If an error is observed when using this tool, try unsetting the usecache parameter by clicking in the URL bar once the map has loaded, removing "%26usecache%3D1" from the end of the URL, and pressing Go. This will force the toolserver to query the page again and create a new .kml file, hopefully fixing the problem. If this still doesn't work, drop a note at the project talk page asking for assistance.

Questions related to images[edit]

I have an image of a site listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Where should I put it?
We pride ourselves on not only creating articles about sites on the NRHP but also taking illustrative pictures to brighten up our articles. While all pictures are welcomed, first make sure they don't violate copyright law. If you've taken the picture yourself, there is usually nothing to worry about, although there are a few circumstances where even your own photos violate copyright. If there is any doubt about the copyright status of your image, bring it up at the project talk page and/or the Media copyright questions page.
After you're sure you can use the image, you can upload it to Wikimedia Commons and place it in an article about that subject. If no article exists, fret not, because there is still a place for your image. You can add it to one of our List of National Register of Historic Places listings. Simply find the state, county, or city list that the site appears on (some sites may appear on multiple lists) and add the picture there!
An image that appears in an article about a site on the NRHP is of the wrong building or site. What should I do?
While accuracy is a high priority in this project, we sometimes make mistakes due to a lack of specific information about a site or ambiguous descriptions of listed buildings. There have been several cases where entire articles were written about the wrong buildings or sites. If you have local knowledge (or even better, a reliable source) that proves an image is incorrect, alert us at the project talk page. If you have a picture of the correct building, please upload it to Commons so the article can be fixed. If not, we may remove the image from the article (and possibly to the correct article).
What should I do if there is nothing historical at the address and geographic coordinates listed?
Please double- or triple- check, but these things do sometimes happen. Addresses can change over time, even if the building stays in the same place! Coordinates can be off for several reasons, and sometimes listings are demolished or even moved to another address. The NRHP might not update this information for years, or even decades. If you are sure that a building is no longer where it is listed, then please take a picture of the former site, place that photo in the county lists, and add a comment in the summary column, such as "replaced by a parking lot."