The conversion of the Minnesota Stormwater Manual into a web-based application will create a new learning curve for users of the Manual. In addition to the web-based format, versus the traditional hardcopy and pdf formats, the contents of the manual have been re-arranged. This guidance provides Manual users information on why we went to a web-based format, why the content was re-arranged, what the formatting style is, and most importantly, how to navigate the website.
Why a web-based format?
We live in an electronic world. There are now more mobile devices than people in the United States, and more than half of these devices have Internet access. People not only want electronic access, they want to find a topic quickly. This requires powerful search capability and advanced use of links. Although many users may wish to print out portions of the Manual, printing options are excellent and can satisfy most user's needs.
Why a wiki format?
A wiki was specifically chosen for the following reasons:
- It can easily be updated. This is critical for stormwater, since new information is being generated on a daily basis. We anticipate being able to provide updates consistently on a weekly to monthly basis.
- Topics or new information can be added easily. The wiki is dynamic in that a new sub-section, section or even chapter can be added at any time.
- A wiki allows for excellent internal linking between and within articles.
- Mediawiki, the platform on which this website is built, is well established and addresses most of the issues that need to be addressed in building, maintaining, and using the website. Examples include an existing Manual of Style and several extensions that allow for writing formulas, citing the Manual, printing and exporting, and creating a book.
- The wiki is easily maintained and supported by technical staff.
Why and how was the arrangement of the content changed?
It was determined that the content of the Manual could be better organized. There were three areas where improvements could be made.
- The 2008 updates to the Manual were never incorporated directly into the Manual, but instead were added as appendices. It was considered important to bring all information on a particular topic together and avoid the potential for conflicting information as updates were made.
- Information in some chapters could be combined. For example, chapter 10, which addresses uniform sizing criteria, could be combined with Chapter 12, which provides BMP information. Chapter 11, which addresses stormwater credits, could be combined with Chapter 8 and Appendix B, both of which address modeling.
- The chapters could be organized to flow better. To address this, the following model was selected;
- provide general information about stormwater
- discuss the stormwater treatment train
- discuss the BMPs that can be used in the treatment train approach
- discuss pollutant and volume reductions, or credits, that can achieved with BMPs
- provide a regulatory context
- provide other information such as Minnesota-specific information, definitions, lists of acronyms, and so on.
Stormwater Manual Style Guide
The Wikipedia Manual of Style guide was adapted for this website. It provides information on formatting guidelines.
Accessibility Manual of Style
The Wikipedia Accessibility Manual of Style guide was adapted for this website. It provides information on formatting guidelines for ADA (American Disabilities Act) compliance.
I knew where it was in the old manual, but where is it now?
Most of the material in the 2008 Manual was migrated to the wiki. We have developed a Guide for finding old manual content to help you determine where the old material now resides.
The home page
Finding a topic
Each webpage within the website is essentially an article. The Manual is therefore a collection of articles, each with its own webpage. Articles usually contain multiple sub-sections. We attempted to keep articles at a reasonable length, dividing a topic into multiple articles when the length for a single article became too long.
Using the Table of Contents
You can access the Stormwater Manual Table of Contents from the home page. There is a link at the top of the home page. The Table of Contents is divided into the following chapters:
- General information
- Stormwater treatment
- Best Management Practices
- Stormwater modeling, models and calculators, and calculating credits
- Minnesota specific applications
- Case studies
- Fact sheets
- CADD drawings
- Construction Stormwater Manual (Blue Book)
- Industrial stormwater
- Acronyms and definitions
Each of these chapters has two or more sub-sections.
Clicking on a topic link from the Table of Contents may take you directly to an article or to another table of contents. For example, most of the BMPs discussed in the chapter Best Management Practices have multiple articles. We have attempted to minimze the number of clicks needed to get to an article while not making the articles excessive in length.
Using the search function
Structure of each article
Understanding internal links
Understanding external links
Citing the Manual
Exporting to a pdf or Word document
Creating a book
Pictures, tables, and other images