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The Computer History Wiki has a fairly elaborate set of 'categories', each of which collects together all the articles on a given topic. They are all linked together (one particular category may be a member of any other category - or categories), to further the main goal: to help people find things.

The resulting structure bears some resemblance to a tree (although it has multiple 'roots'); but it is in fact a graph, because there is more than one path from a root to many leaf categories. In other words, a particular category (or sub-category) may be included in several different 'super-categories'. (This is also true of articles: a particular article may be included in several different categories.) This is all a direct result of the main goal: making it easy to find things.

E.g. Category:IBM PCs is in both Category:IBM Computers and Category:Personal Computers). Having alternate 'paths' to things makes them easier to find. (So for someone interested in IBM gear, they might get to Category:IBM PCs via Category:IBM Computers; but someone who is interested in PCs, they might get to it via Category:Personal Computers.)

Overall structure

The 'top' (i.e. the place where many users 'enter' it) of the CHWiki's category graph looks roughly (it is a dynamic structure, and this 'map' is not produced automagically, so it may be slightly out of date) like this. (You are not expected to remember any of this detail; just glance at it, so you get a very rough idea of how it is arranged, and then keep reading, below):

The way you are supposed to use this admittedly large structure is that the small number of 'top-level' categories (Basics, Hardware, Systems, Peripherals, Software, Networking, Standards, Organizations, History, Documentation, Tutorials) are supposed to be disjoint and clear, so that if you are looking for something, it should usually be fairly obvious which one it will be in (but see below). So, you go to that category . . . and repeat that process at the next level down.

Notice also that some categories appear in more than one super-category (e.g. Category:Components appears in both Category:Basics and Category:Hardware); that is because that category could logically be in either super-category - so we put it in both, to make it easy for find. Remember: the number one goal of the CHWiki category structure is to make it easy to find things.

If you can't quickly and easily find something you are looking for, then we have not done a very good job in setting up the categories; please let us know! (You can use the talk page here to leave us a message.)

See also