Perhaps the easiest way to understand what is here is to think of it as a collection of newspaper clippings, stories, and scrap book items. Each item is called an “article”. Some articles contain all the information within their body, while others will provide a description and links to complete information elsewhere. Each article bears on some aspect of MWSD but they come from all over the place. They may contain thoughts, opinions, ideas, anecdotes, histories, references, insights, resources, and much more. They all represent something somebody somewhere thought was valuable enough to write down, record, present, or otherwise share.
They are not tested for quality or judged for value. That assessment is up to you, the reader. While CALLERLAB is providing the place to collect this material, inclusion in this knowledgebase does not imply endorsement or promotion by CALLERLAB of the thoughts presented. We are reporting on things that are happening, not promoting specific ideas.
The section below titled “How To Use This KnowledgeBase” contains details on how to navigate the material and find articles on specific topics.
The easiest way to gain insight into how this information is organized is to look at the menu of headings that appears under the main masthead on every page. No matter where you are you can click on one of those headings to go to the associated articles. You can also look for a tag from the tag cloud or do a full-text search.
The information behind these headings is described below:
- Promoting Square Dancing This section contains information relevant to promoting the square dance activity in general. It includes topics such as marketing and advertising, creating videos, social media tips, and other items relevant to conveying a positive image of the square dance activity.
- Developing Dancers This section contains information about finding, recruiting, training, and retaining dancers. It also contains information on operating clubs, lesson systems, community and party dances, and other topics.
- Developing Callers This section contains information for and about callers. It includes material that callers may use for their own education, as well as materials to help those who are mentoring a potential caller.
- CALLERLAB Conventions This section collects recordings of presentations at CALLERLAB conventions. There are now hundreds of these available, both audio and, in later years, video.
- Winning Ways This section collects “Winning Ways” stories that have been provided over the years. These are stories sent in by people who have taken the time to share their experience, either positive or negative, with some method or approach to achieving a goal. The Winning Ways section contains the complete stories so you can understand the complete context of the experience. Some of the individual ideas, however, have also been extracted and entered as separate items so you can see them without having to read through the entire story.
- Articles By Type The other sections all contain subsets of the database that are relevant to particular subject areas. This section contains all the articles organized in a different way. Every article has a “type” which describes the manner in which the information is presented, as opposed to the subject matter. There are five “types”:
- Document: the information is contained in a document. It may range from a one or two page paper up to a complete book.
- Idea: the nub or essence of an idea. It may be a standalone thought, or it may come from something larger such as a document, presentation, or winning ways story – in which case the original source is referenced.
- Presentation: the information is in the form of a presentation. The article may include pointers to handouts, audio, or video recordings of the presentation.
- Resource: the information describes some larger resource, such as a website, database, or reference book, that contains a great deal of information.
- Summary: an article that describes a general subject area or brings together a number of different items of a similar kind. For example, there are summary articles on sources of music and experimental lesson systems that provide brief descriptions and pointers to further information. This type is also used to provide indexes to large numbers of external documents such as newspaper articles about square dancing or CALLERLAB convention recordings.
Searching and Navigating
You can look for information in several different ways.
- Browse a major category. There is a header bar at the top of each page or article in the knowledgebase. That header contains links to major divisions of information (e.g. Developing Callers, Winning Ways, etc.) Clicking on one of those links will take you to a homepage for that type of information. The home page will show you all the subcategories in that division, a list of all the article titles in the category, and finally summaries of all the articles in the category (which may run to many pages).
- Search A search bar appears in the sidebar at the top right of every page. Enter a search term and hit enter. Entering multiple words constitutes a logical “or” – if any one of the search words appears in the article it will be selected. You can force all selected articles to contain a term by preceding it with a “+” (e.g. if you entered the search terms “+education +martinez” then all results would have both those words in them.) If you want to exclude articles that contain a word, precede it with a “-” (e.g. “+education -martinez” would select articles that contain “education” but do not contain “martinez”). Some articles are quite long and finding the search term within their text might be difficult. You can find the location of the search terms on the target page by using your browser’s search facility to scan the text of the page. Searching on a browser page can usually be invoked by pressing Ctrl-F (ctrl key and F pressed simultaneously).
- Articles By Type Click on Articles By Type in the header to go to a page that allows you to browse articles grouped by type. Type refers to the way the information described by the article is presented (e.g. document, presentation, idea, resource, summary, etc.
- Follow A Tag In the sidebar area down the right side of each page is a “tag cloud”. Each article is tagged with keywords that describe the sort of information it contains – for example, “music” or “recruiting”. By clicking on a tag in the tag cloud you will see the articles bearing that tag. The relative size of the word in the tag cloud is an indication of how many articles have that tag. If you hover your mouse over a tag for a second or so a little box will appear showing the actual number of articles with the tag. Please note the difference between tags and search: search will deliver all articles containing the word in their text, regardless of whether that word is relevant to the subject matter; a tag is a keyword appended to the article by the author and is intended to indicate the article is actually relevant to the subject indicated by the tag. For example, if you search on “music” you will see any article with that word, even if it is not really about music, whereas clicking on the tag “music” displays only articles about music. You can find more information about tags under the tab marked “Tags” to the right.
This shows the full hierarchy of categories. Click on the category name to see all articles in that category. The number of articles in the category is shown in parentheses after the category name.
Full Category Structure
Articles in the knowledgebase are “tagged” with keywords indicating their subject matter. The index display below shows in alphabetical order all the tags in current use. Each tag entry shows the name of the tag and a brief description of the nature of the content it describes. You can click on the tag name to see a list of all the articles that are coded with the tag. The number beside the tag name indicates how many articles have the tag. The tag cloud displayed on the right side of the page lists all the same tags and is available on every page in the KnowledgeBase.
- Advertising (65)Ideas for advertising lessons, a club, a special dance, square dancing in general, etc.
- Book (10)Published books that are relevant to square dancing.
- Caller Education (26)Information on calling techniques, caller schools, books, etc.
- CALLERLAB Convention (14)Materials from a CALLERLAB convention or about conventions.
- Choreography (21)Items about the creation and design of square dance choreography.
- Club Organization (22)Items with information about the structure, governance, or organization of a square dance club.
- Community Dance (10)Items relevant to the Community Dance Program (CDP) or party nights in general.
- Computer Aids (14)Computer programs helpful to callers and dance organizers.
- Definitions (6)Articles including or pointing to reference material containing call definitions.
- Documentation (60)This tag identifies articles that consist of or describe documentation of some sort. The documentation may be in a variety of forms, such as newsletter article, book, webpage(s), etc.
- Equipment (10)Material on calling equipment such as speakers, microphones, amplifiers, etc. (Note that computer programs are covered under the Computer Aids tag)
- Event Planning (2)Items dealing with the logistics, planning, advertising, and other tasks associated with running an event.
- Health Benefits (15)Items containing information about the health benefits of square dancing as a hobby.
- Hearing Assist (3)Information about hearing assist systems, where to find them, how to use them.
- History (11)Material about the history of Modern Western Square Dancing.
- Idea (20)The essence of an idea, often abstracted from a Winning Ways story or other document but without the context provided by the full writeup.
- Leadership (2)Material dealing with exerting leadership in club activities or square dancing in general.
- Lesson Systems (38)Information about systems designed to teach MWSD to new new dancers over a series of lessons.
- Media Articles (5)Articles in non-square-dance media such as magazines, newspapers, newsletters, podcasts, social media, or broadcast media.
- Mentoring (3)Materials to help a caller mentor a new caller.
- Miscellaneous (1)Catch-all for random stuff that doesn't fit anywhere else.
- Modules (2)Items about using modules as a method of choreographic management.
- Multi-Cycle (9)Material on teaching programs designed to permit multiple rounds of student intakes each year.
- Music (13)Material on finding music, using it effectively, licensing, etc.
- Party Nights (4)Material to help with calling party nights or one-time events for non-dancers.
- Presentation (14)Material delivered with or associated a presentation; video/audio, handouts, notes, etc.
- Publicity (36)Material to help publicize lessons, an event, a club, or square dancing in general.
- Recordings (13)Recorded materials, in particular those aimed at teaching or dancing in the absence of a live caller.
- Recruiting Callers (4)Deals with recruiting new callers
- Recruiting Dancers (73)Deals with recruiting new dancers
- Resource (48)An item which contains a great deal of varied information and pointers to other repositories; for example, a website or book.
- Sight Calling (6)Items dealing with using sight calling as a method of choreographic management.
- Social (13)This tag is applied to articles that deal with the social aspects of square dancing. Fostering a social bond among club members.
- Social Media (1)This tag is attached to articles with information on social media such as Facebook and Twitter.
- Summary (13)Items which summarize a number of available options for some specific area: for example a list of lesson systems, or places to buy music.
- Teaching / Dancing Recordings (4)This tag is attached to articles describing recordings that can assist a caller or a group leader in teaching dancers. It also includes party night recordings.
- Teaching Dancers (40)Items to do with teaching people to dance - specifically in the context of MWSD where they participate on a regular (e.g. weekly) basis and join clubs.
- Teaching Teachers (4)Material aimed at helping non-square-dance-callers teach rudimentary square dancing.
- Tools (11)Items dealing with tools people can use in the performance of tasks related to square dancing. For example, music players that callers can use, rotation programs that assign dancers to squares, or the Taminations website that shows animated displays of calls.
- TV (5)Material about TV shows or items regarding square dancing, how to prepare for an interview, etc.
- Video (8)Promotional videos or interviews.
- Youth (4)Material aimed at recruiting youth dancers or about youth dancers.