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Ways to access the content

The Founding Era Collection is divided into publications corresponding to the letterpress editions they derive from. Within each publication there are several “views” that allow the user to navigate through documents based on their order in the print editions (Contents), point in time (Chronology), references from the subject indexes (Index), or position in matches for a search query (Search Results).

Clicking the Entry menu item causes a navigation bar to be displayed. From left to right, the navigation bar includes:

  • a publication selector
  • a view selector
  • a navigation compass (optional)
  • a navigation trail.

The publication selector is used to set the context for navigation and searches. If the Founders item is selected, then navigation and searches relate to all publications combined. If an individual publication (like Adams) is selected, then navigation and searching is restricted to that publication.

The view selector sets the way that navigation happens. Each view is hierarchical, ranging from broad categories at the top to narrow ones at the base. In the Contents view, publications are arranged by series, volume, chapter, and section. The Chronology view arranges items by date, placing each according to its decade, year, month, and day. (Documents that are not precisely dated span a range of dates.) The top of the Index view categorizes the index by the first letter of entries. If a search has been conducted, then the Search Results view arranges matching documents according to relevance or date.

At the beginning of a session, the environment sets up locations for each combination of publication and view, every one pointing to the top of the relevant hierarchy. During the session, the environment keeps track of the last place visited for each combination of publication and view. When you switch to another publication, the program retrieves the last location visited in that publication. When you switch to a different view and the current item is a document, you are taken to the same document in the new view if possible. The program only attempts this when the view is switched from contents to chronology, chronology to contents, search to contents, or search to chronology.


The navigation compass can be used to move between different places in the current view. The up and down arrows are used to move up and down within the hierarchy. For example, starting at the top of the contents view and repeatedly clicking the down arrow takes you from the publication to a series to a volume and so on down to individual documents. For the chronology view, doing the same thing takes you from decade to year to month to day to documents within that day. The left and right arrows are used to navigate between adjacent items at the same hierarchical level. Thus, if you are in the level corresponding to volumes of a publication, then clicking the left or right arrow takes you to the preceding or following volume, respectively. Again, if you are at the months level of the chronological hierarchy, then clicking the left or right arrows takes you to the preceding or following month. Left and right arrows at the bottom of the page provide another way to move between adjacent items. If there is no item above, below, before, or after the current item, then the corresponding compass point is inactive.

The final item in the navigation bar is a trail which shows the sequence of steps taken to reach the current point in a navigation hierarchy. Every step except the last is an active link which takes you directly to the corresponding location.