Places

Question Answer
What is this information in the places section of the december.com Web site? The places section of december.com provides information about specific geographic areas of the world.

The pages present organized, edited, updated, and annotated sets of links to major Web sites and information sources about specific cities or areas. The information is available in a variety of formats so that you can find the information that you need at the right level of detail. Here is a list of the places covered.

What is a blue page? In the context of the places section, a blue page is a compact, comprehensive, carefully organized page of links to essential Web sites about a particular geographic region. A blue page is just one representation of the information. There are other formats available. For example, here is the formats page for New York City. The other places have the same formats.
Why do you call the page with all the tables a blue page? Since the default color of links on Web pages is blue, the blue page presents to the reader "a wall of blue" links to follow. The first blue page I created was for New York State's Capital District (NYCD). I called it NYCD blue. I described the idea behind and genesis of the NYCD blue page in the book The World Wide Web Unleashed 1997. The idea was to demonstrate the information available on the Web about geographic regions. The blue pages were the first format for this information developed. Later I developed the "index," "all," and "mini" formats.
Doesn't the term blue mean other things in other contexts? Yes, like many words in the English language, the word blue has different meanings in other contexts. In the context of the places section, it refers to the default color of links and closely relates to the idea of "blue pages" (such as in some phone books) as being informational, reference pages. In particular, blue on my site does not refer to any particular political viewpoint or any kind of "adult" content.
Woa, link boy! Aren't there a lot of city guides already? My uncle Earl told me about Yahoo, and Microsoft has Sidewalk.com... There are definitely many guides, indexes, and directories to cities. Many are excellent, and I link to them. My niche is to create focused pages containing comprehensive, carefully organized and annotated links to an area's essential Web sites. This approach has its limitations and strengths, but it provides value to users. This approach matches my view about the nature of hypertext and my budget and time limitations.
What good is your big, flat "wall of blue"? Where's the value-added? The blue page saves you a lot of time and effort; through a single bookmark, it gives you a compact set of links to essential sites of interest to residents and visitors. A blue page is a great way for you or your visitors to get an idea of what a region offers, and then decide what to do out in it. The value-added is the selection, organization, and careful editing and maintenance.

The other formats of the information (see for example, the formats page for New York City) provide significant added value through annotations, descriptions, and varying levels of detail.

What links do you include in the places pages? I include in the places pages the best collection of links to help someone explore the area. So I link to major sites about activities, events, places, government, services, media (newspaper, online, radio, tv), education (universities and schools), notable businesses, business groups, major guides and indexes, as well as utility information such as weather, census, maps, and directories.
Great! How can I help you?
  1. Let me know your suggestions--corrections, additions, or complaints. I really appreciate all the kind suggestions and feedback I get from many people. I enjoy learning more about the cities in the places section.
  2. You can help me by telling your friends or colleagues who would be interested in the information in the places section. The continued development of these pages is driven by modest revenue streams from the advertising and affiliate revenue. More readers means more traffic and revenue.
  3. When you are ready to shop online, go to The Market link on the bottom of any of the pages and shop--your purchase supports the development of all these pages.
Why are you making places pages? Are you nuts? The places pages are publications of my company (December Communications, Inc.) and are intended to earn money through sponsored advertising and sales of books. You'll see sponsor links on the top and bottom of the page. Your patronage of these sponsors and purchases on the books page makes the publication possible. I have chosen to make the places pages because of my interest in the geographical regions they describe. I enjoy maintaining the places pages.
What places pages are now available?
What do you know about those places? I lived in the UP of Michigan for 21 years; the NYCD for 6 years; in MKE for 7 years (and counting); in the USA for 40 years (and counting); and I've spent much time in many trips to NYC, CHI, BOS, MAD, and DC. I've traveled to SF, SEA, and LA. I plan regular visits to each of these locations for soaking up local culture and taking photographs. I also keep up with the local media in each area through the links on the places pages.
Hey! You know what you have with those blue pages? You have a one page search engine!! Well, no. Search engines give you a chance to provide terms and then you get back a list of Web pages or entries in a database that match your query. My blue pages are really more like a directory or subject tree of information, where you can look at an editorially-selected and arranged fixed set of links. The other formats provide a way for users to connect with the information at different levels of detail.
Why do you have your photo on the blue pages? The photo helps signal the reader that: 1) There is a human editor behind this information; 2) The human editor is available for comments and questions; 3) The human editor is a unique and skilled individual--the image conveys a mark or the "brand" of the information.
I get tired of always clicking back to the blue page after visiting a site. How can I use the blue page so that it stays right in a browser window, with the Web sites listed appearing in a separate browser window? Use your Web browser's features to launch a new window for links on the page. For example, using Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator, you can:
  1. Place the cursor over a link on the blue page.
  2. Press and hold down the right mouse button.
  3. Choose "Open in New Window" from the list that pops up.
  4. Look at the new Web browser that opens up and enjoy.
  5. Keep in mind that the blue page remains in the original browser window.
My uncle Earl runs a Widget shop on Main Street. Could you link to his store's Web page? Not unless Earl's Widget shop is somehow notable, unique, or prominent in the region.
My son's kindergarden has a Web page, could you link to it? No. I want to link to major school districts in the area, but I can't link to each school.
I notice that you have a link that you label as "Race 4 Cure" listed under "Events" .... hmm... the actual name for this event is "The Susan B. MacGillicudy Twentieth Annual Acme Almagamated Limited Race for the Center for the Study for the Cure." Why don't you list the correct name? One of the limitations of my blue format is the necessity to abbreviate the labels that I have on the links. In the annotated version of the information, I have the full name of the resource. You'll also see a longer name on a label if you hold your mouse cursor over the link and your Web browser supports the title attribute of the anchor element. I try to come up with a descriptive, accurate label that reflects the language of the people in the city. If you have suggestions for a better label on a link, let me know. I'll make the best label I can in the space limitations.
Our major [tourist attraction, college, university, radio or tv station, sports team, festival, or city] has a Web page, could you link to it? Yes. Send me the URL.
Does it cost anything to get a link on any of your places pages? No, I do not charge to place any listing in the places pages.
I see that some places pages have other pages attached, like Transit, or Books, Album, or even Cafes. What's up with that? I've created subpages for some geographical regions to supplement the information available on the places pages. The number and kinds of these subpages differs from region to region. Typically, each places page also has attached a photo album, a bookstore, and a personals ad service.
How am I allowed to use the places pages?
  1. You have my permission to link to my pages for any reason you'd like (either commercial or non-commerical use). You can use my pages by accessing the www.december.com site in any class or training session, in for-profit or not-for profit contexts.
  2. Please do not, under any circumstances, copy my pages to your server or computer host and make it available for public use. When your Web browser downloads the page to your computer for display is OK, of course.
  3. Please provide a link to one of my places pages on your Web site, or send the URL to someone you know could benefit from the places pages.
Hey, I found a dead link on one of your pages! Send me a report of what went wrong. I appreciate your help in keeping the pages up-to-date.
Are you going to make places pages for every spot on earth? No.
Have you learned anything about sites related to geographic regions in making the places pages? Yes. I've learned a great deal about how people present information about specific geographic regions; I've insights into the strengths and weaknesses of Web sites related to places, media, institutions, and tourist information in each region. I can give a presentation about the cyberspace of the regions I've covered or the nature of the Web, hypertext, and geographically-oriented information.
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2014-02-28 · John December · Contact · Terms of Use © December Communications, Inc.