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Contributing to this Site

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This site can only grow and thrive if the people interested in it continue to make contributions of any media that can be displayed here. While this site is run in our spare time, we are always fine tuning various aspects of it to make it work better for you. As of this writing (September 2004), we have many grand plans; all we need is the time to implement them. We make slow but steady progress. Among those plans are a vastly improved Names Directory and a content-management system to allow a small group of people to quickly and easily add pictures and articles to appropriate areas of the site (so that such things are not buried in the message-board archives). Until these plans come to fruition, we are happy to accept anything you would like published on the site via email per the guidelines below.

So how can you contribute? Here are some ways:
  • Add your information to the Names Directory through the joining form.
  • Send scanned pictures in to be displayed on the message board. In addition to reading the scanning instructions below, please read our notes on sending in pictures for the message board.
  • Add you organisation's event information to the Events page.
  • Add interesting links related to Northern Rhodesia / Zambia and central and southern Africa to the Links page.
  • Post messages on the message board.
  • Buy books from the GNR Book Store. The meagre income (so far about $10 in the years it has been operating!) helps defray the direct costs associated with hosting the GNR.
  • Tell us a tale about your life in NR/Zambia.
  • Write or pass along an article about Northern Rhodesian or Zambian history for the "After Livingstone..." section.
  • Send in some memorabilia to add to the site.
  • Let us know if you find broken links on the site. We try to be very careful in creating pages and link, and we check the site logs frequently, but we do miss things occasionally. If you find a broken link on the site, it means that something is wrong and we would like to know as soon as possible, and we would like as much information about the error as possible. Broken links come in several varieties:
    • Internal broken links: These are links from pages on the GNR to other pages on the GNR that do not work. Pages on the GNR all have addresses (URLs) starting with http://www.greatnorthroad.org/ , http://www.northernrhodesia.org/ , http://gnr.rhonet.org/ or https://gnr.niner.net .
    • Broken image links: When your browser cannot find an image that is supposed to be displayed on a page, you will see a broken image icon instead of the actual image.
    • External broken links: These are links to other sites on the Web beyond our control, and if there are links on the GNR to sites that no longer exist, then they need to be removed. Sites can go down temporarily, so we don't always remove them immediately.
    • Links from external sites to the GNR: Sometimes other sites link to pages or images within the GNR, rather than to the GNR home page. Since we make changes and move things around occasionally, their links can "break". If the link is from an automated search engine, we just have to wait for them to re-index the site. If the link is from a directory or another website, we can try and contact the person who runs that site to have him/her correct the link.

Scanning Pictures

From our experience it would seem that most scanners and scanning software are set by default to scan pictures at a resolution suitable for printing. The result is a file that is huge, often several megabytes (MB) in size, that takes a considerable amount of time to send by email, and then for us to receive by email. (See the following section.) If we were to add these images to the site as they are sent to us, people would never look at them as they would give up as soon as they realised how long it was going to take before they could see the whole picture.

The solution is for you to set your scanning software to scan your pictures at a lower resolution. Some scanning software asks you if you want to scan your picture "for the Web" or "for printing" (or something similar). Choose "for the Web". Other software gives you a choice of a variety of resolutions, usually measured in dots per inch (dpi). If you are planning to print your scanned image, choose as high a resolution as your printer will support; the typical range is from 300 dpi to 1200 dpi. However, if you are planning to send the scanned image to us for inclusion on the website, please scan at a resolution no higher than 72 dpi, or as close as possible. The reason is simple; monitors display images at a resolution of 72 dpi, so there is no point in scanning at a higher resolution as nobody will see the difference.

When saving your file, save it as a JPEG with a ".jpg" file extension at around 15% compression (also known as 85% quality); if your software uses a slider to adjust compression, slide it closer to the "high quality, large file size" end, but not all the way. (If you are not familiar with this information, please consult the documentation or help files that came with your scanner and/or scanning software.)
One special exception to the all-consuming matter of file size: Group photographs are an exception to some of the above rules, simply because people need to see small parts of the image in greater detail (i.e., faces). When scanning group photographs, consider scanning them at a size somewhere between 100% and 200% of their original size. 100% will probably do in most cases, but it's really up to you considering the original size and quality of the photograph you are scanning. Even when scanning group photographs, however, please still scan at a resolution of around 72 dpi.

Large Attachments and High-Speed Connections

Many of us still connect to the Internet through a modem and phone line, so while a 4 MB file might take a few seconds for someone with a high-speed connection (cable, DSL, ISDN, T1, etc.) to send, it takes much longer to receive over a phone line. We have alternate methods for receiving large files, so we thank you in advance for your consideration and adhering to the following guidelines:
  • If the file sizes add up to more than 1 MB, please split your files over two or more messages, keeping the total attached file size per message to no more than around 1 MB.
  • When sending files via email, please send them to the email address found on the "Message Board Pictures" page, where you can also find more instructions regarding sending files. Please do not copy the message with the files to any of our other email addresses that you might know; this is the email address designated for receiving files for the GNR.
  • If you have more than about 5 MB of files to send, please contact us so that we can either discuss instructions for sending them, or ways of reducing the sizes of your files.
Typically, most pictures are around 25-30 kB in size, but there are some on this site as big as 100 kB. If you find that your pictures are bigger than that, please see the section above on scanning pictures. However, if you convert an old movie to a video file, or want to send a whole bunch of pictures at the same time, then the guidelines above are definitely for you. Email technology is still actually quite old (by computing standards) and can choke on large attachments. On top of that if the recipient wants to check his/her email "quickly" and someone has sent a 4 MB file to one of our usual (i.e., for correspondence only) email addresses, then the air turns blue and the sender's ears burn.


Summary

So send us your stuff; don't be shy. If you have a photograph or other image that you would like scanned but don't have a scanner, you can often get them scanned at a print or photographic shop for a small fee. Sometimes it's a do-it-yourself thing; sometimes the staff will do it for you. Then you save it on a floppy disk at the location, take the floppy disk home and email the file(s) to us.

Please enjoy the site and we hope to see it grow in leaps and bounds in the years to come.
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Updated
18 March 2015

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