Frequently asked questions

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This page lists frequently asked questions, including questions we have received during our bi-monthly wiki chats. Please add your own questions to this page or our chat page and we will answer and post them here!

Five most common questions

Find the answers to the 5 questions here (PDF).

  1. How accurate is the information within the SEG Wiki? Are the articles peer reviewed?
    1. This question will also address:
      1. risks associated with housing inaccurate or incomplete content,
      2. the quality of content contained within Wikipedia, and
      3. difference between the SEG Wiki and Wikipedia.
  2. How can the wiki benefit me?
  3. Why should I contribute to the wiki?
    1. This question will also address:
      1. the ideal wiki contributor/contribution,
      2. easiest way to start contributing, and
      3. editing Oz Yilmaz’s Seismic Data Analysis and Robert Sheriff’s Encyclopedic Dictionary.
  4. What are the best pages to look at to get an idea of the content in the wiki?
  5. Is there any content that I cannot add to the wiki?

General questions

What is the SEG Wiki?
The SEG Wiki, like Wikipedia, is a publicly accessible and community-editable website. Viewing the wiki is open to anyone in the general public. Contributions are limited to users registered with SEG (registration is free). The contents of the wiki are dedicated to applied geophysics and the people and technology that support it. The wiki is maintained by the SEG Wiki Committee, volunteers, and readers from all over the world.
What is the primary purpose or goal of the SEG Wiki?
The SEG Wiki exists to connect, inspire, and propel the people and science of applied geophysics. The wiki was launched in 2011 to be a key piece in educating and engaging geophysicists around the world. That includes engaging leaders in the industry and geoscience students, the future leaders of the science.
How do I search for content in the wiki?
On every page that you navigate, a search bar appears in the top right corner. By default, the search looks in the Dictionary and all other content pages on the wiki. If you click on “Encyclopedic Dictionary” on the left side toolbar, you will have the option of only searching for content in the dictionary.
How can we use the wiki to connect future generations of geoscientists with the wealth of knowledge and experience of current and past SEG members?
This question identifies the overall challenge that brings me back to work everyday. I think there's so much out there competing for our attention, time, and energy. The SEG Wiki has to be relevant to geoscientists. It has to be easy to use, and seen as a hub for the knowledge and experience all members need throughout their career - as new professionals and experienced industry leaders. Admittedly, building that infrastructure is no easy task. I believe we have a good start in providing important resources to our members - we have seeded the wiki with arguably two of SEG's most important and respected works. The SEG staff will be converting even more rich content in the coming months and years. But, we also need our members to see the value in the wiki and take up the challenge to transform what we have seeded into something bigger, broader, and deeper. It's my hope that many of our members will accept the challenge to invest in their wiki - a shared asset for the entire geoscience community.
Are you a geophysicist? What is your background and the backgrounds of others on your team?
(Andrew Geary) I am not a geophysicist. I have an economics degree in addition to a masters in public affairs with a concentration in nonprofit management. I have experience managing volunteer programs and community building and applying those skills to grow the SEG Wiki contributor community. I have some technical skills, including HTML and CSS. But since I work on the wiki full-time, I am constantly reading articles on geophysics and slowly building my knowledge of the subject.
(Isaac Farley) I, too, am not a geophysicist. Like Andrew, I have an MPA with a concentration in nonprofit management and sustainable development. I also have a BS in Biology and Environmental Science. Prior to joining SEG, I worked in community building roles for an urban conservation nonprofit in Chicago and an education nonprofit in Tulsa. While the connection may seem subtle, I believe my experience in community building roles is a nice fit for growing the SEG wiki, a project I see as largely a community building exercise.
What do you like about the SEG Wiki?
I like the geophysical tutorials recently started by member and geophysicist Matt Hall, published in tandem with TLE. By writing interesting and helpful articles that also publish all of the corresponding data to check yourself, this is really tapping into what the wiki can begin to do. Outside of content, I like how any contributor can make a difference. John Stockwell has single-handedly taken on adding the history of SEG’s past presidents and award winners. Karl Schleicher works on open data. If you have a passion about an area of geophysics, the wiki can find and support your efforts.
The founding philosophy of Wikipedia, and by extension the SEG Wiki, is what attracted me to the job and keeps me coming back. I like that any one of our tens of thousands of members can grow the science of applied geophysics. I find that basic grassroots tenet that all of us have knowledge to contribute really resonates with me. I also find the wiki and its entries satisfying on a separate level - users can always update the content. If there is a breakthrough in the science or popular opinion changes, we have the ability to reflect that change in real-time, while keeping a record of the past. The wiki is ever-evolving, transparent, and driven by individual members. That, I like.
How is the SEG Wiki different from AAPG and SPE's wikis?
Let me start with the similarities. The AAPG Wiki and The Society of Petroleum Engineers' Petrowiki, like the SEG Wiki, were all created for the purpose of building shared community assets that benefit students, researchers, professionals, and ultimately the science. Also, like SEG, AAPG and SPE chose to seed their wikis with significant works in their fields. The differences begin with the content that lives in our wikis - SEG focuses on applied geophysics. It continues with copyright licensing - SEG and AAPG have adopted the CC-BY-SA open license while the PetroWiki has adopted a different model. Finally, contributions are handled slightly differently between the wikis – both SEG and AAPG allow registered users to contribute to the wiki. All users are able to view the content freely. SPE has more limitations on how their content can be viewed and edited.
How can we make this wiki the go to source for all things applied geophysics?
We are well on our way. We seeded the wiki with SEG’s number one selling book, Robert E. Sheriff’s Encyclopedic Dictionary of Applied Geophysics and just completed adding SEG’s number two selling book, Oz Yilmaz’s Seismic Data Analysis. But there is still a lot of work to do. There are specific areas where we need contributors to support our efforts in fulfilling the SEG Wiki’s goal of expanding the knowledge of applied geophysics - growing the number and depth of our entries related to the basics of geophysics, exploring new trends in industry, and in discovery of content both in the wiki and outside the wiki. For example, are there open data sets we have not currently captured in the SEG Wiki entry for open data?
With the addition of Seismic Data Analysis, there’s now nearly 4,400 entries in the wiki. Our plans to add keywords from other SEG books will hopefully continue to show the geoscience community the value of the resource and feel compelled to add and edit the content so that it reflects technology trends and the latest science.

Adding content

What is the process for adding content to the wiki?
The first step is to search for the content you are looking to add (top right corner). If a page or similar topic comes up in the search results, click on the page and explore where your content best fits. And then click the Edit button and add your knowledge to the wiki. If you do not see a page, you will see a red link that will allow you to create a new page. Once you click on this link, you will be taken to the edit window where you can begin to add your information. Even a few sentences to get the topic started is a big help in growing the wiki.
How do I add mathematical equations?
MediaWiki, the software that powers the SEG Wiki, uses a subset of AMS-LaTeX markup, a superset of LaTeX markup which is in turn a superset of TeX markup, for mathematical formulae. It generates Portable Network Graphics PNG images by default. For more assistance in creating mathematical formuale, please visit CodeCogs, an open source scientific library, or Wikipedia's formula help page.
How do I upload a file to the wiki? Is it ok to upload pictures? Images? Are these helpful?
Yes, we encourage the addition of images in the SEG Wiki. It's an area where we are excited to grow. When uploading images, it is important to remember that content, including photos and images should align with the CC-BY-SA license referenced in the next question.
To add an image to the SEG Wiki, ensure you are logged in and select upload file link in the Toolbox window (on the left-hand side of the homepage above the Apache logo). Select choose file, enter a new file name and a summary and click upload file. Once the image is uploaded, you’ll then need to link to that image from the necessary page. Navigate to the page you’d like to add the photo to and enter the following text:[[File: Farley Wiki UserPhoto.JPG|right|150px]] Replace “Farley Wiki UserPhoto.JPG” with the name of your file. Using “right” here right aligns the image and the “150px” defines its size. I like both as a default.
If you are looking to do something a little more with the image, I suggest visiting Wikipedia’s picture tutorial.
Is there any content that I cannot add to the wiki?
The wiki has a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA) license. This means the content can be copied, modified, and redistributed, including for commercial use, as long as the new version grants the same freedoms to and imposes the same restrictions on others and acknowledges the authors of SEG Wiki entries (a link to the entry satisfies author-credit requirements). This means that any text added to the wiki will take on this CC license and must grant the same license to others that use the content. Images may or may not permit reuse and modification; the conditions for reproduction of each image should be individually checked. If you do not have permission of the author to republish his or her book, journal article, blog post, etc., and the material in question has a copyright or a different CC license than the SEG Wiki (must be CC-BY-SA), the material cannot be added and would be in violation of copyright law. Read SEG Terms of Use for full details. If you have any specific questions regarding this issue, please reach out to us at wiki‐at‐ or on Facebook or Twitter.
What are the best pages to look at to get an idea of the content in the wiki?
The geophysical tutorials are a great place to start. Open data is our most popular page, Dix conversion our second. Some bios to check out as well: president-elect Christopher L. Liner and Maurice Ewing.
What is the easiest way to start contributing to the wiki?
Search for a term, concept, or idea. If it is already in the wiki, click on the relevant page and see where you can add your own knowledge and experience on the topic. If it is not yet added, click on the red link at the top of the search term results and start adding to geophysics knowledge toolbox for all to benefit. The wiki is not a journal. We encourage everyone to jump in there and start making changes. You can always come back and improve what you started, but even starting with a stub (a short article with a few sentences) is better than doing nothing at all.
What does a stub article mean?
If you do not have the time to write a full article, consider writing a "stub". Stubs are very short articles—generally just a few sentences-which is too short to provide encyclopedic coverage of a subject. Place a stub template (list of stub templates) at the very end of the article, after the "External links" section, any navigation templates, and the category tags.

Editing the wiki

I am occasionally being signed out of the wiki when I work on articles for a long period of time. Can I develop articles offline before adding them to the wiki?
Yes. You can use any text-processing software to work on content, e.g., Microsoft Word or Google Docs. If you are also working on math equations or have a preference, you can also use editors like Kile or Texmaker. In addition, sometimes hitting the back button on your browser will retrieve your work on the wiki. I also recommend hitting the "Show preview" button from time to time while you work to reset the timer.
Who or what is the ideal wiki contributor/contribution?
The ideal wiki contributor is you! Wiki contributors come in many shapes and sizes. And, SEG needs all of you to be successful - people who like copy editing and making grammatical improvements. We need more people who are generating geophysics-related content. Perhaps there are others who excel at reviewing and formatting mathematical equations – we have a whole page in need of these repairs. We need more images, so if you have many geophysics-related photos, you’d also be a great fit for the SEG Wiki. Honestly, the ideal wiki contributor is passionate about the science and is ready to teach and learn. The wiki’s all about exchanging ideas and growing this space. For many of us, we consider it a lot of fun, too.
Do I need to know HTML or other coding to contribute to the wiki?
No! This cheatsheet provides a rundown for most of the wikitext you will ever need to know. And, we are available if you have a particular formatting question; we will get your question answered for you.
Where do I go for help in editing the wiki?
We have a dedicated help page on the wiki for this very question. The Wikipedia Adventure is a great place to start to learn the basics of editing the wiki and this section has several ideas to start adding your layer to the wiki. In addition, email wiki‐at‐ anytime for personalized help. You can also message us on Twitter or Facebook.


I've often heard that Wikipedia and wikis are not a trusted or respected source of information. How true is that?
We certainly understand this question. Thankfully, two major studies have taken place over the last 10 years looking into this very question. The first study was published by the journal Nature and the second study was taken on by an e-learning consultancy in partnership with Oxford University. Both studies compared a selection of Wikipedia articles with the Encyclopedia Britannica. In short, the first study found the same number of “serious” errors (4) and found similar numbers for factual errors, omissions or misleading statements (Wikipedia, 3.86 mistakes per article, Britannica, 2.92 mistakes per article). The second study concluded that Wikipedia articles were generally seen as being more up-to-date and better referenced than other articles.
Furthermore, they appeared to be at least as strong as other sources in terms of comprehensiveness, lack of bias and readability (a criticism of Wikipedia from the 2005 study). While there will still be stories every now and then of errors in Wikipedia, it has proven again and again it can be trusted on par with other published encyclopedias (it's important to remember that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. it is intended to be a starting point for researchers). Read the reliability of Wikipedia page for links to these studies and additional information.
What are the risks associated with the SEG Wiki housing inaccurate or incomplete content?
This is an important question to address. As with any tool that is open to the public, risk can never be truly eliminated. The SEG Wiki can only be modified by SEG members, so we believe this greatly limits content errors in the wiki. The great thing about wikis: if you do not agree with the accuracy of an entry or an article cited within an entry, you can change it in real time, thus correcting the error. This is a key difference between a scholarly published book or peer reviewed journal - the process of SEG Wiki content being curated is open and transparent for all users, but it is also ever-evolving. Furthermore, the SEG Wiki Committee monitors new entries to protect against vandalism (Note: vandalism within Wikipedia is almost exclusively the product of anonymous users, which are not permitted within the SEG Wiki).
With any publication, inaccurate and incomplete content tarnishes the credibility of the resource. The SEG Wiki Committee is keenly aware of this fact and is committed to launching and refining content to meet the high-quality standards of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists.
What is the difference between the SEG Wiki and Wikipedia? Is there one?
The SEG Wiki is focused on all things applied geophysics. Wikipedia can include all content that match their guidelines (including geophysics). Both wikis run off the same software (MediaWiki) and share some similarities around how content gets added. Within the SEG Wiki only members can contribute. Conversely, anyone, including anonymous users, can edit Wikipedia. SEG also has more freedom in adding content that on Wikipedia would prove difficult, i.e., biographies in the SEG Wiki may not all be accepted on Wikipedia (yes, Wikipedia does reject/delete many articles).
How accurate is the information within the SEG Wiki? Are the articles peer reviewed?
Most of the information in the wiki has come from SEG publications. This includes books and articles published in TLE. While some of this information was published over ten years ago, the information in the wiki can be trusted. Only members can edit the wiki, which separates it from Wikipedia where even anonymous users can edit. And, starting on October 23, 2014, all registered SEG users are able to contribute to the wiki. Plus, SEG staff and the Wiki Committee monitor contributions to the site daily. Using “Recent changes” (on the left toolbar), all changes made to the wiki can be reviewed. In addition, new findings and journal articles do not fit with the wiki’s goals. Publications like TLE, Interpretation, and Geophysics are appropriate outlets for peer reviewed articles. We do strive for accurate and factual content, but cutting edge research belongs in other SEG publications.
Who decides if we should take content down? What is the process/time frame for that?
We have not run into this issue yet, but the SEG Wiki Committee will make that decision. If something needs a longer discussion, the SEG Wiki Committee may temporarily take down the disputed content until reaching a collective decision with subject matter experts.


How can the wiki benefit me as a student?
The first thing that comes to mind are our open data pages. This page documents geophysical data that is readily available for download from the internet, via mail, or through special request. We also have a page dedicated to all of the Best Papers in Geophysics that would be a great place to check out some of the most important papers in applied geophysics dating back to 1947. This could be a great place to start generating ideas on research papers! And, as a reminder, student membership in SEG is sponsored by StatOil (making it free to you), so that’s a great opportunity for students to take advantage of making contributions to the SEG Wiki. Thank you, Statoil!
Why should I contribute to the wiki?
Because it feels good, and you have an opportunity to contribute to the world's knowledge of geophysics. Because you want to display your expertise. There are many reasons to contribute to the wiki. Our goal is to expand the world's knowledge of geophysics, create a stronger science, and interest those emerging professionals in the field. If these goals line up with some of your interests and aspirations, we hope to see you on the wiki! Plus, the wiki will hand out annual awards for the Wiki Champion, Student Chapter Champion, and Student Wiki Champion. Keep up with the latest awards information on the wiki.