You can tell when you have arrived at an individual book or document because its title, or an image of the front cover, appears at the top left of the page. In some collections, a table of contents appears, while in others (eg. when the paged image option is used) just the page number is shown, along with a box that allows you to select a new page and go forward and backward. In the table of contents, the current section heading is in bold face, and the table is expandable -- click on the folders to open or close them; click on the open book at the top to close it.
Underneath is the text of the current section. When you have read through it, there are arrows at the bottom to take you on to the next section or back to the previous one.
Below the title or front-cover image are some buttons. Click on EXPAND DOCUMENT to expand out the whole text of the current section, or book. If the document is large, this could take a long time and use a lot of memory! Click on EXPAND CONTENTS to expand out the whole table of contents so that you can see the titles of all chapters and subsections. Click on DETACH PAGE to make a new browser window for this document. (This is useful if you want to compare documents, or read two at once.)
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From the search page, you make a query in these simple steps:
When you make a query, the titles of twenty matching documents will be shown. There is a button at the end to take you on to the next twenty documents. From there you will find buttons to take you on to the third twenty or back to the first twenty, and so on. Click the title of any document, or the little button beside it, to see it.
A maximum of 50 is imposed on the number of documents returned. You can change this number by clicking the PREFERENCES button at the top of the page.
Whatever you type into the query box is interpreted as a list of words or phrases called "search terms." A term is a single word containing only letters and digits, or a phrase consisting of a sequence of words enclosed in double quotes ("..."). Terms are separated by white spaces. If any other characters such as punctuation appear, they serve to separate terms just as though they were spaces. And then they are ignored. You can't search for words that include punctuation.
For example, the query
will be treated the same as
There are two different kinds of query.
Use as many search terms as you like--a whole sentence, or even a whole paragraph. If you specify only one term, documents will be ordered by its frequency of occurrence.
In most collections you are given a choice of different indexes to search. For example, there might be author or title indexes. Or there might be chapter or paragraph indexes. Generally, the full matching document is returned regardless of which index you search.
If documents are books, they will be opened at the appropriate place.
When you click the PREFERENCES button at the top of the page you will be able to change some features of the interface to suit your own requirements.
Some collections comprise several subcollections, which can be searched independently or together, as one unit. If so, you can select which subcollections to include in your searches on the Preferences page.
Each collection has a default presentation language, but you can switch to a different language if you like. You can also alter the encoding scheme used by Greenstone for output to the browser -- the software chooses sensible defaults, but with some browsers it may be necessary to switch to a different encoding scheme to ensure correct character display. All collections allow you to switch from the standard graphical interface format to a textual one. This is particularly useful for visually impaired users who use large screen fonts or speech synthesizers for output.
Depending on the particular collection, there may be several options you can set that control the presentation.
Collections of Web pages allow you to suppress the Greenstone navigation bar at the top of each document page, so that once you have done a search you land at the exact Web page that matches without any Greenstone header. To do another search you will have to use your browser's "back" button. These collections also allow you to suppress Greenstone's warning message when you click a link that takes you out of the digital library collection and on to the Web itself. And in some Web collections you can control whether the links on the search results page take you straight to the actual URL in question, rather than to the digital library's copy of the page.
You can switch to an "advanced" query mode which allows you to combine terms using & (for "and"), | (for "or"), and ! (for "not"), using parentheses for grouping if desired. This allows you to specify more precise queries.
It is possible to get a large query box, so that you can easily do paragraph-sized searching. It is surprisingly quick to search for large amounts of text.
A pair of buttons controls whether upper and lower case must match when searching. For example, if "ignore case differences" is selected, snail farming will be treated the same as Snail Farming and SNAIL FARMING.
You can turn on the search history feature, which shows you your last few queries. This makes it easy to repeat slightly modified versions of previous queries.
Finally, you can control the number of hits returned, and the number presented on each screenful.