MTGenWeb Project Policies

General Introduction

The MTGenWeb Project is a member of the not-for-profit, volunteer genealogical organization called, The USGenWeb Project (http://www.usgenweb.org/). As such The MTGenWeb Project (currently located at http://www.mtgenweb.com/)  website and all associated county websites must conform to the established policy and procedures set forth by our parent organization. The guidelines that are described on the USGenWeb Volunteers Information page and the USGenWeb Project Bylaws which describe in great detail the organizational structure, election procedures, and general policies of this organization, form the foundation for each state project. All project members and interested project members should carefully review the above websites before agreeing to participate in any USGenWeb State Project.

MTGenWeb Project Policy

The following policy and procedures are specific to our state project. All MTGenWeb Project members are required to read and understand the following information prior to their participation in this project.

Project Name

The name of our organization is "The MTGenWeb Project." The name, "The MTGenWeb Project," and "The XXGenWeb Project" (where XX is the county name of one of the Montana counties) are service marks and reserved exclusively for The MTGenWeb Project and any websites representing The MTGenWeb Project. Please note that the correct name and spelling is in upper and lower case letters without any space breaks in form (correct: MTGenWeb incorrect: MT GenWeb or MTGen Web).

Our Mission

The MTGenWeb Project is an organized group of volunteers working to create an online center for genealogical research by linking sites representing every county in the state of Montana. The purpose of this organization is to gather genealogical and historical information for free online access by researchers.

This is accomplished by creating websites which are central repositories of historical and genealogical research data, donated either by the website coordinator or other contributors and kept at the local county level.

Organizational Status

The MTGenWeb Project, as a group of volunteers participating in a not-for-profit organization, is considered to be an "Unincorporated Non-Profit Association."

Project Administration

The MTGenWeb Project is administered by a team of members including a State Coordinator (SC) and Assistant State Coordinators (ASC's).

Responsibilities of Project Members

The State Coordinator (SC) is elected by the project membership and can serve an unlimited number of terms. Although the SC may serve in an unlimited capacity, he or she, must be re-elected by the project membership every two years (see election procedure below). Duties for the SC include recruiting and training new project volunteers, maintaining an internal mailing list, and creating and maintaining the state web site. The SC may appoint other members to serve in volunteer positions such as webmaster, archivist, welcome hostess, new member training coordinator, special projects coordinator, etc. These positions should be held by members in good standing and do not merit any special project authority or position other than meeting specific needs of the project.

The Assistant State Coordinator(s) (ASC) are selected by the State Coordinator based upon volunteer interest. The ASC is responsible for assisting the SC in any special projects that the project may develop. They also serve as SC in the event that the elected SC resigns, becomes ill, is on extended vacation, or is unable to meet the SC position requirements. The ASC's primary duty, other than assisting the SC with state matters, is that of Quality Control Coordinator for the county websites located in their region. Each ASC performs a bi-annual check of all county websites. These checks help ensure the smooth operation of the project, help maintain a consistent standard throughout the project, and identify any problems with links, navigation, or html coding.

The County Coordinator (CC) is responsible for creating and maintaining websites at the county level. The CC should try to include as much county reference and resource information as is available.  A County Coordinator may select one (1) individual to serve as the Assistant County Coordinator who will have equal rights to voting in any MTGenWeb or USGenWeb election. Assistant County Coordinators will be approved by the State Coordinator using the same criteria as for CC's. Each county website should strive to include the following elements:

county maps
local history
county mail list
query board (required)
family website links
county resource addresses
lookup resources

State Coordinator Election Procedures

Every two years there will be a State Coordinator election to be held in the month of October. An elections committee (EC) shall be convened and comprised of two county coordinators and the ASC(s). The EC shall set the date for the election and choose a method for casting votes (manually or electronically). All project members will be notified via email on how to cast their votes and when the voting period will begin and end. The Voting period should be scheduled to begin on or around October 1. 

Each County or Assistant County Coordinator may cast only one vote  In the event a CC hosts more than one county, that CC will only be allowed one vote.

Any interested volunteers who would like to run for this position should make their intentions known to the project no later than September 1.  Candidates must have been a CC in the state for the preceding 12 months to be eligible for the position of State Coordinator.  The month of September may be used to announce candidates and for the promoting of campaign issues.

The state coordinator will be elected by the project membership. Each County or Assistant County Coordinator may cast one vote only (no matter the number of counties hosted). The winner of the election will be the individual who receives a fraction over 50 percent of the votes cast, if no candidate receives at least a fraction over 50 percent of the vote then a run off election will be held between the two individuals with the highest vote totals. The winner of the run-off will be the individual who receives at least a fraction over 50 percent of the vote caste.

Selection of County Coordinators

The position of county coordinator is selected by the SC. All interested persons should contact the SC to see if the county of interest is available. If it is available, the SC will determine qualifications for hosting the county (qualifications include but are not limited to: knowledge of the county's history, ability to create and maintain a website, file transfer protocol (FTP), and desire to serve). The most important quality is a desire to serve as part of this project. If a person is interested and is knowledgeable in the county but is new to the internet or to website design, help is available from other project members. The county coordinator needs to be available to make updates to the website, answer researcher queries (no research is conducted), and generally provide assistance as needed. Time requirements for this position can range from 30 minutes per week to several hours. The amount of time given to each project is solely dependant on the volunteer but a minimum amount of upkeep is required to keep the website on active status within the project.   New CCs are expected to have a site up and running within two weeks of appointment, and if this does not happen the CC will be replaced.

A County Coordinator may only solely host 5 county websites.  A County Coordinator may serve as an Assistant County Coordinator in as many counties as they have time to help with.

All County Coordinators will be subscribed and will remain subscribed to the Official MTGenWeb mailing list. 

Active Status

It is imperative that all websites remain active once they are networked as part of this project. A website is considered active when regular updates and additions are made to the website. The Project Administrative team understands that not all volunteers have access to materials and are not able to transcribe volumes of information for use online. However, it is expected that every CC will maintain their sites to the best of their ability. Date stamps are required on all county websites and must be current within 6 months.

Regular website checks will be performed by the ASC(s). Website checks will include all required elements and links, query board usage (or email page updated regularly), as well as general appearance and functionality of the site (link checks, etc.). Obvious errors in coding will be brought to the cc's attention but choice of layout, design, colors, etc., are not part of the check process.  However, if any background choice makes type elements practically illegible, this will be brought to the CC's attention for modification. 

Website checks will be conducted twice per year and email notification will be sent to each CC with a copy sent to the SC. Any websites that do not meet the project standards will be noted and the CC will have approximately two weeks to make corrections. If the CC doesn't make corrections within the two week period (exceptions include vacations, illness, etc.) the website will be placed on an "inactive status" and the link may be removed from the county index. If after 30 days the website corrections have not been made and the CC is unresponsive to email requests the website will be removed from the project and a new host will be recruited to fill the county coordinator position.

A County Coordinator who unsubscribes from the Official MTGenWeb mailing list and remains unsubscribed for more than two (2) weeks will be considered as to have dropped out of the project and their county(ies) will be placed for adoption.

Resignation of a Coordinator

In the event that a coordinator no longer wishes to volunteer with this project, notice must be given to the SC as soon as possible. The SC will announce to the mail list that the coordinator is stepping down and will offer the county up for adoption to the membership first.

If no existing County Coordinator  is interested in adopting the orphaned county, a notice will be placed on the county index and a new host will be recruited to fill the vacancy. The outgoing coordinator may choose to remain with the project until a new coordinator is found or may choose to step down immediately. In the event a CC chooses to leave, they will agree to give the existing website back to the MTGenWeb Project for future reassignment. All contributed material will remain the copyright of the contributor.

If a state coordinator resigns, the ASC's will serve out the remaining term. A new election will be held the following October to elect a permanent SC.

Removal of a Coordinator

Every coordinator is guaranteed due process in the MTGenWeb Project and is given 30 days to rectify any problems or issues within the project. However, certain behavior will not be tolerated and may be grounds for immediate removal of either a SC, ASC or CC. A coordinator that cannot be contacted for a period of 30 days either by e-mail, phone or letter will be replaced.  The following are types of behavior that are considered inappropriate for this project:

  1. use of foul, derogatory, abusive language on the state mail list
  2. derogatory, inflammatory, or abusive comments made towards any member of the project
  3. failure to correct flagrant copyright violation within a period of 30 days notification of said violation
  4. any CC profiting from third party advertisements placed on any pages of the county site

Arbitration, Grievance Procedures

All problems within the project will be resolved according to the following procedure. Issues between coordinators should be handled privately and with discretion. If a resolution is not forthcoming the two parties should contact the state coordinator for assistance. The SC may include the ASC's in any problem resolution issues and ask for guidance and suggestions. If a resolution cannot be reached that is satisfactory to the two parties, a neutral committee of two county coordinators (one from each region, eastern and western) shall be asked by the SC to arbitrate the grievance. Upon further discussion of the issues, the committee shall present its findings and a resolution to the SC. With the SC approval of the committee's resolution, the parties shall be contacted and the outcome shall be considered final.

Website Guidelines

The following guidelines are to be in effect for all members of this project until further notice.

1. The MTGenWeb logo and return link must be placed on every county website. The USGenWeb Project requires every project to display the USGW logo and include a return link to http://www.usgenweb.org/.

2. Every county must maintain a query page. The coordinator may choose any method for maintaining queries so long as the page is current. Automated type systems are easiest and hosts are encouraged to use this method -- as it seems to work best for everyone. However, the choice is up to the host.

3. Every county must include a copyright notice on the main page of the county website. The following copyright notice is an example only of common copyright statements used on the internet (you may choose your own wording).  

Current Year. XXXXX County MTGebWeb Project. All Rights Reserved.

4. All website contents remain the property of the county website for future CC's to use unless the contributor requests its removal. Any material that is copyrighted and published without permission from the author must be removed immediately.

5. Each county coordinator may choose to host the county's website anywhere on the internet.

6. Date stamps must be on the main page of each county website and must be current within 6 months.

In Conclusion

All coordinators are required to keep fresh in their minds the mission of this project. Our goal is to help visiting researchers find useful resource and reference information online and assist them in tracing their family history. Our job is to be friendly, responsive, helpful, cordial, and most of all available. The Project Administration team has worked hard to try and cover every possible scenario that may occur given the nature of internet genealogical projects. However, we cannot guarantee that your experience as part of our project will be perfect or stress free. We have created a working policy that will serve this project well so long as all members agree to participate fully and without any measure of distrust or dishonesty.

These policies were adopted on July 16, 2014.

 

 

 

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