Introduction to the Math Images Project
Welcome all those who enjoy interesting images, to the Math Images Project!
Our goal is to give people a new and enjoyable perspective on mathematics through beautiful and intriguing images available on the web. On our site, math is never presented simply as a mass of equations. Instead, images, animations, and plain-English explanations help clarify ideas, while applications, related puzzles, historical contexts, and other connections make it possible for you to learn something interesting even if you haven't enjoyed math in the past. Even our detailed mathematical explanations often take unique approaches to problems and questions, so they can provide advanced readers with an opportunity to research and learn.
Most of the content on our site is organized into two types of pages: image pages and helper pages. Image pages are really what this site is about; they are focused around one central topic, and provide a combination of explanations, applications, images, interactive applets, and historical information about the topic. Helper pages are used to supplement the content of image pages by providing additional information about a related topic. Links to helper pages can be found in many image pages. Some readers might choose to use a helper page as a reference in order to better understand an image page, while others use them just to learn more about an interesting topic.
This tour will show new users how to find information by searching for specific topics or simply perusing image pages, like the Fibonacci Numbers page. Additionally, we'll show users who wish to interact with the site how they can make a suggestion, ask a question, or contribute their own knowledge. The Math Images Project is a collaborative learning environment for all, so we hope that you explore our site to the fullest in whatever way you choose!
Image pages are created using a template that facilitates easy browsing and learning. Every page has a a main image in the top right corner, along with a caption describing the origin of the image and the field of mathematics under which the image. On the left side of the image, there is usually a small paragraph explaining the basic ideas underlying the image.
Next comes the main body of the page with a content box to facilitate easy navigation. Pages can have different formats. Some pages might miss some sections while some pages might have sections that are not present in other pages. However, in general, the default format for a page is divided into 8 parts :
1. Basic Description,2. A More Mathematical Explanation, 3. Why It's Interesting, 4. Teaching Materials, 5. About the Creator of this Image, 6. Related Links, 7. Notes and 8. References.
Anybody can contribute to the Math Images Project by giving some feedback, editing parts of a page, or making a new image page.
Giving comments & feedback
You can give both general comments about the Math Images website and specific comments on individual pages. If you want to provide some general feedback, find the support section on the navigation bar that is on the left hand side of every page on the Math Images site. Click Leave Feedback. Click on the + tab on the upper right corner of the page, as shown by the red box in the picture below. This will allow you to leave comments about our website.
If you want to leave some comments on a specific image page, click on the discussion tab near the upper left corner of a page. You can add a comment by clicking on the + tab near the upper right corner of the page, or you can edit an already-existing comment by clicking on the edit tab next to the + tab. The locations of these tabs are shown in the picture below.
Editing a page
You can edit a page by clicking on the edit with form' tab or the edit tab near the upper right corner of the page, as shown by the red boxes in the picture below.
Useful Links Provides links to pages that help the writer create a page. It has an overview of a good image pages, addresses issues that writers should be aware of, and lists some of the technical tricks that have been very useful in Math Images project.
Creating a page
Creating an image page
To create an image page, you must log in to the Math Images website. You can log in or create an Math Images account by clicking on the log in/ create account link in the top right corner of any page on the site.
Next, in the navigation bar on the left-hand side of the page, click Create an Image Page under interaction. Enter the name of the Image Page you would like to create, such as Prime numbers, and then click add or edit. You will be directed to a new page that helps you to create an Image Page. A warning banner near the top of this new page will let you know if there is already an existing image page by that name. If you see this banner, do NOT use this form to edit the page. Instead, go to the page, see what is already there, and then edit it if you would like using the instructions above.
Here are some guidelines to filling in the form in create an image page:
- Image Title: This should be the title of the image. This title also appears as the title in the Thumbnail Gallery, so the image title does not necessarily have to be the same as the page title. The title can be made interesting to grab the attention of readers.
- File: Here, click the Upload a Math Image link. A pop-up form will appear, prompting you to upload your math image to the site.
- Short Description: This is a short description (1 or 2 sentences) of the main image
- Basic Explanation: This is a description of the image and the mathematical content of the page that does not involve rigorous mathematics. Anybody should be able to read this section without difficulty.
- More Detailed Explanation: This will appear as A More Mathematical Explanation in the actual page. This is an explanation of the image and math behind the picture that may use equations, symbols, or terminology that not all readers may be comfortable with.
- Image's Field of Mathematics: This allows you to select the fields of mathematics to which the uploaded image belongs (the first one should be the primary one, i.e. the field under which the image will appear in the thumbnail gallery and slideshow).
- Why interesting: This section is should be able to answer the so what? question of the page. It should not involve much heavy mathematics, so that anybody can understand much of the this section even if they skip the More Mathematical Explanation section.
- References: Please list any references you used in creating the page
- Things This Page Needs in the Future: Leave a note to future users who are willing to edit the page. You can leave suggestions for future directions or any other ideas you have about the page that you think might be useful.
- Is This Page a Work in Progress: Although we feel all pages are technically works in progress indefinitely, please check this box when the page still requires significant contributions.
The picture below shows where on the page some of these sections might appear.
Creating a helper page
Creating a Helper Page, unlike creating an Image Page, does not require a form. You can create a helper page while you are working on an Image Page. You can simply include, in the text of your image page:
[[Title of the helper page]]
Once the page is saved, your Image Page will have a link, Title of the helper page, wherever you entered this text. If the link is blue or purple, this Helper Page already exists, and clicking on the link will take you to the page. If the link is red, this Helper Page doesn't yet exist, and clicking on the link will you direct you to a page that lets you create it. No template is assigned for helper pages. Once you save your new Helper Page, it now exists, and all links to the page will be updated to function blue or purple links.
Useful Links provides a link to some basic wiki formatting pages. It also has various other links to help writers come up with ideas for, and create, good pages, but the list of links is in bad need of updating, and some of them aren't very useful.
Here are some actually useful links for writing a good page
The Checklist for Writing Good Pages provides a reasonably comprehensive list of features of good pages, and it can be helpful to consult during the writing process as well as just before finishing a page.
What Makes a Good Math Images Page gives more detailed information about the items in the Checklist for Writing Good Pages.
Here are some things that writers from summer of 2010 found especially important to pay attention to.
- Write the page so that it is satisfying to users with different levels of mathematics. Start out with a very simple overview, likely hiding much of the more advanced material to avoid overwhelming readers, like this :
- In general use short paragraphs of just a couple sentences, and use simple sentences.
- To create an Image Page, use the form described in the section above. For simple Helper Pages, the form isn't necessary.
- Before creating a page, search what pages already exist! There might already be some pages which can help you with your own page. If the page you wanted to work on already exists, perhaps you could merge your planned page and the already existing one.
- You can put other images in your page besides just the main one. In fact, doing so is highly encouraged as long as the images are relevant
- To provide definitions of terms that many users may already know, use a mouse-over balloons. For more information on mouse-overs, go to Wiki Tricks page.
- If you don't understand some of the more sophisticated math for a page you are creating, you can leave a section blank and ask in the discussion and community portal for someone who does understand it to help you write it.
- Be sure to reference any resources you found especially useful in creating your page! Including at least two references is a good thing.
The basics of using this wiki have been covered on this page. Before posting any questions you may have, though, please check the Advanced User Guide to make sure your question is not answered there. If you have questions not answered here or on those pages, you can post them Here. Or you can go to FAQ.