What is a namespace?

A namespace defines an area in a wiki. You can recognize a namespace by the namespace prefix in the page title:

<namespace>:Page title

In a wiki, you will find predefined namespaces. In addition, wiki administrators can create custom namespaces as needed.

There are certain aspects of namespaces that are important to consider before creating a namespace. It is therefore important to understand the characteristics of namespaces and the reasons for using a custom namespace.

Characteristics of a namespace

  • Rights management
     : Each namespace can contain its own user rights/roles assignments. However, we recommend flat user hierarchies for wikis.

  • Search function
     : Search can be limited to individual namespaces.

  • Design
     : Namespaces can be styled differently.

  • Flat structure
     :Namespaces cannot contain other namespaces

  • One namespace per page
     : The same page name in a different namespace creates a new page.
  • Special namespaces:
    • Main (Pages) - No namespace prefix in page titles
    • Special pages (Special)
    • Images (File)
    • Documents (Media)
    • Discussions (Talk)

Reasons for using namespaces

  • Rights management: To assign different user permissions to separate content. For example, a company's HR department can use its own namespace to grant only Human Resources personnel access to the pages in that namespace. Here, rights management is the main reason for creating namespaces. However, flat hierarchies are recommended for wikis.
  • Search function: To exclude pages and files from the search.
  • Design: To format pages in different wiki areas differently.

We often use the example of cupboards to make clear the principle of namespaces. There are shelves and everyone can look at them and work on something. There are glass cupboards with a lock that you can look into, but only some people have the key to change the contents. Then there are closed wooden cabinets with locks and only selected people can look inside and work in them. And each of these cupboards can look differently.

Note: While users cannot view the pages or files in a namespace for which they have no access rights, they will still see the pages and files listed on the wiki's special pages. They will also see the page names in the search results if the namespace has not been excluded from the search.

BlueSpice standard namespaces

BlueSpice uses, among others, the 15 standard and the two so-called pseudo namespaces from MediaWiki:

ID Namespace Function
Media Pseudo-namespace for uploaded images and files. Will be replaced by path of the files.
special Pseudo-namespace for special pages.
0 (pages) These are given without a prefix.
1 Talk talk page. Is created in addition to each article (also in the following namespaces) to speak about its contents. Additional tab (+).
2 User User page. Will be created for every logged in user.
3 User talk Cf. talk
4 [Wiki-Name] Information about the wiki or the current project. Here: BlueSpice.
5 [Wiki-Name]_Talk Cf. talk
6 Image Description of a picture and other files. Is automatically supplemented with version information and information about the occurrence of the file
7 File_Talk Cf. talk
8 MediaWiki system messages. A complete list can be found under Special: AllMessages. Can only be changed by registered users.
9 MediaWiki_Talk Cf. talk
10 Template Templates can be integrated into other pages.
11 Template_talk Cf. talk
12 Help Help pages describe how to perform actions in the wiki. No clear separation from the [wiki name] namespace.
13 Help_talk Cf. talk
14 Category Pages can be assigned to categories, which are then accessible in this namespace.
15 Category_talk Cf. talk

Standard namespace: A page is assigned to the "Main" namespace, as long as no other namespace is specified.

Pseudo namespaces: The two pseudo namespaces (Media, Special) are used like normal namespaces, but you cannot edit them or add pages to them.

Most pages in the namespaces are created automatically:

  • Special pages are generated by the system during installation.
  • Media and image pages are created during file uplad.
  • User pages are created whenever a user acts on the wiki.
  • Discussion pages are also created with the corresponding pages.

This leaves only the default namespaces (Main), [wiki name], Template, Help and Category namespaces where pages can be freely created.

Note: In the default MediaWiki, the names of these areas are "hard-coded". This means that they have been set in the source code of the MediaWiki and cannot be changed by users.

Accessing pages in a namespace

To access or create a page in a specific namespace, its name is simply placed in front of the page title and separated by a colon:


In the example, the pipe symbol (straight line) was also added. It has the effect that the namespace won't be displayed for the link label.

If you provide a namespace that is not known to the wiki, the page is created in the standard namespace Main. The portion of the reference specified as the namespace is then added to the title of the item instead and is not recognized as a namespace label.

Creating a new namespace

You can create additional namespaces by using the Namespace manager under Global actions > Management > Namespace manager. The menu item "Category manager" loads the page Special:NamespaceManager.

Organizing content without namespaces

If you simply want to group pages in your wiki without the need for controlling access rights, you can use the syntax of the namespaces to simulate a namespace in the namespace Main. Simply prefix the pages that belong to a group with a name and a colon. If no namespace with this name exists, the prefix simply becomes part of the page name.

That way, it is possible to use pages with the same name in the main namespace and thus let different groups work on content "sets". Since these own "namespace" prefixes are part of the page name, you can now display all pages in a simulated namespace by searching for the prefix in the search field.

Since you can also organize pages with categories and subpages, you should start by planning how you would like to organize the content in your wiki.

After installing your wiki, you can visualize this with the BlueSpice Plugin directly in your wiki and discuss it with your team.

Viewing all pages of a namespace

You can view all pages in a namespace:

  1. Go to the Special page "All Pages"
  2. Leave the input field empty
  3. Select a namespace from the Namespace drop-down menu
  4. Click "Go"

Related info