Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Frequently Asked Questions

To reveal the answer, click or touch the question.

If you have a question, check here first. Then if you still not sure, please do not hesitate to contact one of our editors. Their email addresses are posted on the About Us page.

 
What About Winderís Less Historical Sites? image. Click for more information.
By David Seibert, March 26, 2009
1. What About Winderís Less Historical Sites?
1. Who can add new markers? How to add new entries?
Anyone can add new items to the database. Hereís how:
  1. First, take a look at the Editorial Guidelines to make sure what you want to add will be acceptable. If youíre not sure after reading this, email a photo to an editor and ask their opinion.

  2. Then take a look at the Guidelines and Suggestions to see what we would like to have on a marker page.

  3. Finally, click on the Add-A-Marker button and fill out the forms.
The Add-A-Marker sequence will ask you to sign in. If this is your first time look for the red First Time Here link on the sign-in page. It will take you to the registration page where you create your own password for immediate and future use.
    — Answered January 11, 2018, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
2. Add-A-Marker guided me through adding just one photograph. How do I add more?
To add more photos, use the blue Add Photo link at the top of the page youíve just created.
    — Answered January 11, 2018, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
3. I changed out or cropped a photo, and the original still shows. How do I fix this?
The workaround: On most browsers, you can hold down the Ctrl or Command ⌘ key and click on the “Refresh” or “Reload This Page” icon at the top of your browser. This should refresh your page with the changed image. If you want to know why this happens, read on.

You bumped into a limitation of the Microsoft Internet Information Server that runs this website. The problem occurs because, to make our website load faster on your browser and to reduce work on our server, we mark images “good for 24 hours.” This means that your browser, and other equipment anywhere on the internet that happen to have an unexpired copy of an image your browser wants to display, can send you their copy instead of going all the way back to our server to fetch it. It makes things very quick and efficient.

This also works for text. Normally we also mark our text “good for 10 minutes.” However, when you sign in, we turn this off for text so you see anything you change immediately. Microsoft's IIS server has no way for our software to turn off expiration time for images, just text.
    — Answered January 16, 2018, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
4. I rotated an image and it's still sideways. How do I fix this?
See the answer to question 3.
    — Answered August 18, 2020, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
5. Iíve submitted an entry, itís still pending. How do I get it published?
When you add a new marker, or a new photo, link, or commentary to an existing marker, your entry goes into a queue. We get hundreds of entries a week. Volunteer editors go through the queue, giving each entry personal attention before publishing it or deciding not to use it. We ask you for your patience. We will get to your entry.

Before your entry is published, the editor checks to make sure it passes our editorial guidelines. If it does not, your entry will be rejected and will show as “not used” in your My Markers list. The editor may leave you a message on the entry explaining why it was not used.

The editor may also leave questions for you on the entry, or send you an email. The entry will be held until you respond. If there is no response after a reasonable period, it will be marked “not used”.

When your entry is published, an email will be sent to you letting you know.
    — Answered January 11, 2018, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
6. But itís still pending. How long must I wait?
We know you are anxiously awaiting your contributionís publication. Please understand that we get hundreds of entries each week and each entry must be reviewed by one of our editors, all volunteers, before a marker is published. Along with your contribution, there are many entries by other contributors waiting for review. When a marker is "pending," it is simply waiting its turn in the review process.

The submission process can be time consuming. The editor must determine if the marker qualifies under our rules. Then the accuracy of the text and GPS coordinates are checked. The submission is also reviewed to see if it qualifies for any of our Marker Series lists. If time allows, we also check to see if any internet links about the marker's subject can be added to further enhance the submission.

We greatly appreciate all contributions and thank all contributors. Rest assured that your marker entry will be reviewed and published soon.
    — Answered June 3, 2009, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.
7. I found this great historic site you donít have. How do I add it?
This database is full of historic sites, but you have to understand that this is officially a database of historical markers, not of historical sites.

If you can find a historical marker that meets our guidelines that discusses the historic site you want to add, then you are all set. But if the historic site does not have a marker that meets our guidelines, then you can't add it here. Instead, lobby the caretakers of the historic site, or the nearest historical society, to erect a historical marker. As soon as they put it up, please proceed!
    — Answered January 11, 2018, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
8. Why did the editor make changes to my entry?
The editor can change and add to your entry to conform it to guidelines, to make the entry look and read better, and to add things that the editor feels will make for a better and more complete page.

Editors also go through pages days, months or years later and make changes to pages you originally submitted. The goal is to add more information and/or make all of our entries look and read better.
    — Answered January 11, 2018, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
9. Why are entries published out of turn?
Editors DO NOT publish entries in the order they were submitted. Here are some reasons:
  1. Our queue of new entries are assigned to different editors based on states and countries. Editors work on their assignments when they find free time, since they are volunteers just like you. Like you, they sometimes take time off. And like you, they are also out on the roads looking for new markers, and later entering their own finds into the database.

  2. Editors are encouraged to publish the “easy” entries first in order to whittle down the queue faster. Some entries require more research than others before the can be published. Others require more work to than others to make sure they meet our guidelines.
    — Answered January 11, 2018, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
10. My photograph was replaced with someone elseís. Why?
An editor decided that someone elseís photograph was better suited to the page. This is usually because it was clearer, or showed the subject better. Typically, close-up photographs of markers will be judged on clarity while long views with markers in the distance may be changed out for newer photographs because their background better reflects the current view of the marker. Editors are constantly going through the database to, at their discretion, make it better and more up-to-date.
    — Answered January 11, 2018, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
11. But the marker is in all capital letters, why canít I enter it in caps?
Because we decided when the database was created that our layout guidelines would use “magazine layout” typesetting rules. Have you ever seen a newspaper or magazine page set in all capital letters? Not even the headlines are in all caps! A page set in all caps screams at you. Even if just the title was set in all caps, it would scream out and look clunky.

So the rule is, if the marker title and/or text is set in all caps, it must be entered in lower case with standard capitalization. Also, if a word is broken with a hyphen at the end of the line on the marker, put it back together as one word when you enter it into the database.

If you are worried that you are not being faithful to the source when transcribing the text on a marker, consider that unlike old-fashioned databases, this one also includes a photograph of the marker which will clearly show the capital letters on the marker itself and exactly where the line breaks occurred, etc. Let the photograph speak for itself. We just need the text in the most readable format possible. And while we are on the subject, resist centering lines just because the marker centered each line. Most text will look and read better when it just flows as one or more paragraphs.

There is more information on our Typographical Guidelines page.
    — Answered January 11, 2018, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
12. I found an entry in the database that clearly does not qualify under the Editorial Guidelines.
Should I report it? Will you remove it?

From the Editorial Guidelines: You may occasionally find a database entry that violates these guidelines. These got in before the guidelines were tightened, or were snuck in when no one was looking. There should be very few of them and no, they will probably not be purged if you bring them to our attention. At the same time, they cannot be used to argue for the inclusion of your non-complying marker.

That entry that is bothering you is in the database because an editor once made a call on adding the offending entry. Thatís why the entry has to stay. Editors have a lot of work to do without having to also revisit published entries on demand. The reason an entry was approved may have been quite legitimate, and just because someone is questioning it now, perhaps years later, that reason will have to be remembered and rehashed. Think of it like the double-jeopardy rule after a court verdict: the murderer was acquitted and cannot be tried again.

With all that said, we can and have withdrawn published pages from our database. Published pages are removed at the publisher's prerogative. I hate to do it and get very grumpy when pressed.

So, should you report it? If you would like. Will we do something about it? Probably not.
    — Answered January 11, 2018, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
A Directional Sign image. Click for more information.
By J. J. Prats, September 29, 2018
2. A Directional Sign
At first look, this sign does not qualify for its own page. But it was erected by a marker-erecting organization and is (or once was) on its list of official markers, so it qualifies by exception. (FAQ No. 13)
Click for more information.
13. A historical organization has erected a marker that does not qualify under Editorial Guidelines.
Can it be entered?

Probably. Check with an editor first. We make an exception to the Guidelines in order for the database to show the entire series of markers that a historical marker-erecting organization has erected. Here is one example that does not qualify because its subject is not historical, but was allowed into the database in order to catalog the complete Indiana Historical Society collection of markers.
    — Answered January 11, 2018, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
14. My entry was not used, or my entry was changed. I disagree with the decision. How do I appeal?
We do not have a formal appeals process on purpose. The editorís decision is final. But you are welcome to write to the editor and explain your disagreement. You might be able to change his or her mind. If you canít, please let it go. We understand and appreciate the time and effort you took to submit your entry and weíll try not to disappoint you too often because we know that youíll stop helping us expand and improve the database if we continue to upset you. But we also have to enforce our guidelines. Itís a fine line, and we empower our editors to walk that line without second-guessing them.
    — Answered January 11, 2018, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
15. Explain the relationship, responsibilities and hierarchy between Correspondents and Editors.
The Historical Marker Database is an organization of self-directed volunteers that work to expand and improve the database. Because we are all self-directed volunteers, we canít for the most part be told what to do or when to do it.

Anyone who registers with an email address and password is a Correspondent. Correspondents who submit a new marker page, updates one, or add a photograph, link, or commentary to an existing marker page are Contributing Correspondents. Contributing Correspondents can be promoted to Contributing Editors so they can publish their own entries. This promotion acknowledges their dedication and editing skills and takes a load off the editors who publish Correspondentsí entries. Contributing Editors can also be deputized by an Associate Editor or the Publisher to perform other functions for the database.

A Board of Editors perform the day-to-day entry publishing functions and advise the Publisher. These Editors are also Regional Editors and/or Topic Editors with responsibility for certain geographic regions and/or topics. Associate Editors are also members of the Board and make queue assignments, assist with general correspondence, and assist the publisher. The Publisher is responsible for the database and website, and will defend and protect it. He is also an editor and member of the Board of Editors.
    — Answered January 11, 2018, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
16. I want to be able to publish my own entries. How do I become a Contributing Editor?
Members of the Board of Editors are always on the lookout for correspondents who can be promoted to be contributing editors. A Contributing Correspondent who submits many entries over a long period of time, whose entries are for the most part are always perfectly entered, and with many entries with well-researched additional information added, are candidates for a Contributing Editor position. They will recommend these candidates to the Board for nomination.

If you feel you meet the qualifications for Contributing Editor but have been overlooked, write to the editor who normally publishes your submissions. If he or she agrees with you, theyíll recommend you to the Board.

Contributing editors must be trustworthy individuals because they are being trusted to not only edit their own entries, but also enforce the databaseís editorial and layout guidelines on themselves for every entry they make. No one is looking over their shoulders as they work, so they have to try to get it right every time. No one is perfect, of course, and other Editors who come across typos and other errors will either make corrections on the spot, or will ask the Contributing Editor to take care of the problem.
    — Answered January 11, 2018, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
17. Marker pages have an Add-Commentary link. What do you mean by “commentary”?
We specifically chose the word “commentary” over the word “comment” to more clearly define what we are looking for. We welcome explanatory notes that clarify and expand on what the historical marker is saying or not saying. Also welcome are notes that correct or debate the accuracy of the marker text. The commentary must be written in calm language and when questioning accuracy, your correction should be cited.

We want to avoid general and personal comments. While we appreciate that you enjoyed, liked, or also visited a particular marker or historic site, we don't want to clutter the database with your shout-outs. That's what the Share-This-Page buttons at the bottom of the page are for. Punch that Like button if you like what you see! Hit that Share button and let others know about what you just found! Or smash that Tweet button and express your umbrage! But if you want to spend some time composing a well-thought out commentary on what the marker is saying or not saying, you are welcome to add it to the page with the Add-Commentary button.
    — Answered January 12, 2018, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
18. Should I add any links to a marker page? How Many? What information should they add to the page?
Historical markers by their very nature abbreviate history. If a marker's subject got your interest, you probably googled the subject matter to learn more. If you found something historically interesting on a page somewhere else in the internet, you should add that link to the marker's page, if you didn't find anything interesting, don't.

Don't worry about asking permission before adding a link. That worry was legally over years ago. You are not violating copyright by linking. And you are not violating copyright by repeating a small excerpt in the comments section of the link, if you put in in quotes or say it is an excerpt. Excerpts are not required, but they may give the reader a reason to click (or not to click) on the link.

Link deep. Don't link to the home page of a website if the relevant information is a few clicks in. Click in yourself and link to that relevant page.

Make sure the link you add adds value. Maybe this example for a church marker will also clarify this rule for other markers: If the marker is about a church, don't link to the church's website unless (1) they have a page that details their history and (2) that text does more than just repeat what the marker says.

Another reason to link: for more detailed photos. To continue the church marker example, maybe the page you link to has photos of the interior, or of well-lit stained glass. It would be great to include a photo or two of the interior of a church on our marker's page, but you just can't lift a photo from another website and use it because you do not have permission to do that. Link to it instead.

Don't over-link. If two or more websites say the same thing about the subject of the marker, pick the one that does the best job. Likewise for links to photos. Pick the one that has the best.

Don't link to pages that require signing in, or that bombard you with ads, pop-ups, and autoplay videos. Don't encourage that type of behavior by linking to them.

Here is another way of deciding: Try not to disappoint. Was is worth the click? If this was not a marker page you created, and you came across it, would feel misled if you clicked on a link for more information and you did not get more quality information? Or it was too much hassle once you got there? Go for quality, not quantity.
    — Answered January 29, 2018, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
19. Who owns the photos Iíve uploaded to this database?
If you took the photo, then you still hold all the rights to it. But when you uploaded the photo, you granted HMdb.org a perpetual and irrevocable right to use your photograph in this database or elsewhere, which means you gave us the same rights you still have to your photograph. Which means we both “own” it and can do anything we want with it without checking in with each other.

Our published copyright for the website (scroll all the way down any of our pages for a link) allows our images to be used for non-commercial purposes without written permission provided that the photographer and HMdb.org is cited.

Occasionally we receive requests for the use of a photograph that someone found on this website in a publication, website or television program. We can and have granted permission, but we normally forward their note to the photographer by email so the photographer can make that decision. When we grant permission, we ask that they acknowledge the photographerís name and HMdb.org.

It is a fact that our images have been used by others without attribution, and used commercially without permission. If you find your image used elsewhere without attribution, or used commercially, check with us first to make sure we did not grant permission for commercial use, then please proceed to vigorously defend your work.
    — Answered February 2, 2018, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
20. Public Domain Photos and other Images
We can also publish photos that are in the public domain if they are relevant to the topic on the marker. Examples are portraits of the subjects of markers about a person or persons, or his or her home, etc.

What does “public domain” mean? In this context it refers to works of art such as photographs, drawings, and the like that are not, or are no longer protected by copyright law. The public owns these works. These are some examples of public domain works in the United States of America:
  • Anything 96 years old or older. This date moves forward every year on January 1st. Google public domain date to get the current date. At this writing (2019) the public domain date is 1923 or older. (This is known as the Mickey Mouse rule. It was set at 56 years until Mickey Mouse approached that age, when Congress changed it to 75 years. As Mickey Mouse approached 75 years it was extended again. By 2023 Disneyís Mickey copyrights will start expiring unless Congress acts again.)

  • For works by a person, not a corporation, their work enters the public domain 70 years after their death.

  • Works made by the United States Government cannot be copyrighted and are therefore in the public domain. This includes photographs taken by government employees in their official capacity.

  • Works published before 1978 that were not published with a copyright notice.

  • Works published with a copyright notice before 1964 that were not renewed on their 28th year anniversary.

  • Works explicitly placed in the public domain by its authors.

  • Works licensed by certain Creative Commons licenses.
The examples listed above are legally littered with asterisks, exceptions, and traps. In addition there is “fair use” of copyrighted works. A good source of information on the topic of the public domain is this online resource published by the Stanford University Libraries.

Good sources of public domain photos are Wikipedia Commons and the U.S. Library of Congress. There are others. Please note that not all photographs at these sources are in the public domain.

When you add a public domain image to your page, you must override the photographerís name on the upload form from your name to the actual name of the photographer, if known, and the source of the photograph. For example, “By John Smith, via Wikipedia Commons”. Also, please attempt to find the date the photograph was taken and add it to the upload form.

If the lack of copyright is not blatantly obvious, explain it to the editor in the Note to Editor blank on the form. Do not expect the editor to do the research for you. The editorís decision to publish or reject the photograph is final, so please state your case in advance.
    — Answered August 15, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
21. What Are Those Circled Numbers Used For? — Whatís Tagging?
When you are signed in, you will notice five circled numbers like this in lists of markers and at the top of each marker page. They are used to “tag” markers.

Tagging can be used to build personalized lists and optionally create individualized maps of historical markers you are interested in. One use of Tagging would be to create a map of historic location stops for, say, a weekend outing. On your mobile phone our maps interacts with your phoneís navigation app to take you from one stop to another. Another use might be to keep a list of places youíve visited. Up to 5 different tags are available and you can give each of them any name you want: “This weekendís trip,” “Next weekendís outing,” “Places Iíve seen,” etc.

Here is how it works: First go to the My Markers page to sign in. Then start browsing or searching. One touch on one of the small circular buttons numbered one through five found on our historical marker pages—and on search results—tags that historical marker. Touch again to un-tag it if you change your mind. Continue browsing and searching until youíve found everything you are looking for. You can do your tagging in one sitting, or continue to add to your tag lists over weeks and months. Your My Markers page tracks your tags and has links to create lists and maps.

Tags are also useful for local history research projects, history studies assignments, creating historical bucket lists, marking favorite historical sites, marking interesting historical facts to discuss with others—the possibilities go on and on. As mentioned earlier, you can simultaneously work with five different lists and can clear them out when you are finished with them and rename them for a new uses.

Tagging is easy to use and reuse and lists are personal to you. There is more information on your My Markers page.
    — Answered May 5, 2020, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
22. Whatís the Difference Between Topics, Series, and Related Markers Lists?
Topics are a set list of categories. When a correspondent adds a new marker, he or she simply selects one or more topics from a presented list. Correspondents must petition to add a new topic—and to keep the list manageable, editors rarely approve.

Series are user-generated. Any correspondent can create a new series, populate it with markers and wait for an editor to approve the new series. Creating a series can be a time-consuming task. If the proposed series appears to provide any sort of value to readers without confusion, editors approve it.

A third similar grouping method is related markers. When used, a link appears within the page of a particular marker in the optional Related Markers section. The correspondent adding a marker uses this to note other markers in the database that have an "also see" relation to the one you are currently viewing. Unlike topic and series lists, related markers are always listed in the order specified by the correspondent who added the page. This ordering may or may not be relevant, but when it is it can be used to guide the reader through a sequence of markers in order. It is often used to create driving or walking tours of markers. Hereís an example; map it to visualize the route. There is no way to get a list of related all marker lists, you have to stumble across them as you look at marker pages.

Any of these three methods can be used to accomplish the same goal: to group markers related to each other in some way. Technically, topics are built into the database, series are free-form topics, and related markers could be considered context-specific topics. Topic selection is fast and convenient, but general. You can be more discriminating by creating or adding to a series. And to point out additional markers related to the marker the reader has in front of him or her, use the related markers method.
    — Answered July 12, 2020, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
23. Fastest Way to Add A Marker, IMHO
If your photos are well focused and with good contrast, and if the marker is not all upper case and not too complex, you can have the website scan the text off the photo. And, if the photo has location information embedded in it (cellphone cameras do this), you can use a website map to fine-tune the location and obtain road names. Hereís a quicker way to add a marker when all these things are true:
  1. Click the Add A Marker button and fill out the first step.

  2. Step 2 is the long form. Leave it blank by scrolling to the bottom and clicking Submit.

  3. Upload the close-up photo of the marker. If the marker is two-sided, use the Add-Photo link again to upload the second close-up photo.

  4. Click the Correct-This-Page link to return to the main entry form you left blank in step 2.

  5. Click on the Scan-Photo button you will find next to the space where you type in the markerís text.

  6. On the Photo-to-Text page, copy the scanned text and paste it onto that pageís mini form. Correct scanning errors, add other information if present, and click Submit.

  7. Back on the main form, fill out additional information as appropriate until you get to the Marker Location section. There you will the latitude and longitude from the photo filled in.

  8. Click the Use-Map button, zoom in, and adjust the location of the pushpin if necessary.

  9. Before leaving the map, click the Show-Location-Data-Entry-Form to show the data entry mini-form and add the location information as you refer to the map, switching to Satellite mode, zooming out and panning, and using street-view as necessary. Be sure to click Submit when you are done.

  10. Back on the main form, click on the Verify button to double-check postal information. Click Return or Submit when you are ready to return to the main form.

  11. Add any remaining information to the form and Submit it.
With that, you're done with the hard part. Now add any remaining photos, proof your work, perhaps research the subject and add a link or two, and youíre done!
    — Answered June 3, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
24. Filtering Search Results
Filtering lets you narrow your search. For example, if you are searching for historical markers in the State of Pennsylvania that have the phrase “liberty bell”, you would use the More Search Options page, type “liberty bell” in the search box and then click on the blue Show Filters link to open the optional filters. In that list of filters, type in “PA” in the State or Province box and then click Search. Only historical markers with the phrase “liberty bell” that are located in Pennsylvania will be listed.

You can also filter after the fact. Say you first search for “liberty bell” without any filters. Perhaps you assumed that the majority of Liberty Bell historical markers are going to be in Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, but when you examine the results you notice that they all over the country. Rather than going back and searching again with a filter, why not just filter the results you are looking at. Click on the blue Adjust Filters link in the upper left of the results page to open the filters list. Type in “PA” in the State or Province box and click Apply. Now the results will be limited to those in Pennsylvania.

You can repeatedly adjust the filters until you get the results you want. Continuing the previous example, click on the Adjust Filters link again and you will see “Pennsylvania” in the State or Province box because that is what you previously filtered for. Leave that there and add “Philadelphia” in the City or Town box, then click Apply. Now the results will only show historical markers with the phrase “liberty bell” in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
    — Answered September 10, 2020, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
This marker title is in all caps. image. Click for more information.
By Bill Kirchner, April 18, 2012
3. This marker title is in all caps.
25. Should I use the Legal or Postal Location When Adding a Marker?
With most online maps, when you double-click a point to get the address, the map will respond with the postal address. Thatís why weíve disabled that feature on the maps we provide on our website. We want to know where the marker is “legally” located. We also want to know postal delivery area, but weíll get that when you type in the zip code, or when we successfully figure out the zip code from the town name you typed in.

In urban areas, the legal city or town is almost always the same as the postal city or town. In suburban and rural areas, with the consolidation of post offices that has occurred in the last two decades, that is not always the case. Postal delivery areas can even cross county lines. We need to know in what actual county, and it what actual city or town the marker has been erected. The county and town associated with a zip code will not always be correct.

You canít always stop a passerby and ask him or her what town youíre in, but you can make a good guess after the fact by using the Google map we provide via the Use Marker button on the Add-A-Marker form. Zoom the map in or out one step at a time until nearby town names are shown. Then make your best guess from which town name is closest to the markerís location, or is on the same side of the river, or whatever other visual clue seems most appropriate to you.

If you have the street address nearest the marker you can double check your guess because the map knows the legal address even though you canít ask it to tell it to you. In the Location Search Box at the top of the map type in the street address with the town name you guessed, then the state, then press Enter. If youíre right, the map should re-center itself on or near your marker. If youíre wrong, it will center itself somewhere else.
    — Answered September 11, 2020, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
Paid Advertisement
Sep. 27, 2020