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WHAT THIS DEMO CAN DO

This Demo will enable you to move quickly from the Base Text through links (either in the text or in the reference bars above it) to three printed editions of the Kitāb (plus the parts edited by de Sacy and by Girgas and Rosen) and to the corresponding place in the French and German translations (and one partial translation in French), and to three manuscripts (see Contents of the Demo for a detailed list of the works available).

The unit of display is the whole Chapter (because of limitations on file sizes Chs. 2 and 7 have been subdivided to accommodate MS C). Each chapter can be accessed from its neighbour and from other editions.

The reference bars offer connections at about every 15 lines of the text or to significant sections such as chapters and paragraphs, mostly following the divisions in Hūrūn's edition or Troupeau's translation.

An unformatted text of the two groups of seven chapters is provided as a means to search the whole corpus using the "Find on this page" option, with links to the Base Text at a nearby point. Remember to select "Arabic" in the Search dialogue box.
All the texts (except the manuscripts and de Sacy's Arabic text, which are graphics) are machine readable and can be searched and cut-and-pasted into a word processor.

A few "annotations" have been linked to the Base Text, but at this stage they are only symbolic of the possibilities of a hypertext edition.

After the great Spring Cleaning (see New Developments) navigation will be a little more reliable. Except in very short chapters or at the end of a chapter, a return link will bring you back with the cursor now at the top of the screen so that you know where to expect it. Where there are no return links the dead ends are (probably!) intentional, as the page is visited from too many locations to provide return links or is only connected with one other page, but the Back Button will always get you out of it. The Back Button is also useful if you want to return to the previous screen with the cursor exactly where you left it, and with the History Button you can go back to even earlier pages.


The Golden Book button should get you back to the Base Text at about the same place from anywhere (though it was not used in the earliest documents, Sacy and Troupeau notes).


MULTIPLE WINDOWS?

For a time Katiesoft offered a free utility which made it possible to view up to four screens at once, an absolutely vital facility for our kind of text. It worked fine with IE 5.**, and once installed, Katiesoft became available from the Toolbar of IE. The original site at www.katiesoft.com does not seem to provide this utility any more, so for the time being the comments below are redundant. However, it is obvious that a replacement for Katiesoft is necessary, and it may be worth trying Daisy2000, which is still available at the time of writing (May 2007, but it is now 2009 and I have not yet tried it to see if the site is still active).

Advantages of Katiesoft/Daisy

You can now make direct comparisons between texts, translations and manuscripts or view annotations alongside the basic text

The same back and forward buttons mean that one window can store several layers of documents

The same cut and paste options are available for moving blocks of text into a word processor

Disadvantages

The "Find" option is not available for searching the text (in any language). However, you can always run an independent Explorer window in addition to Katiesoft to perform text searches there

Since the format of the printed editions is preserved, the hard line breaks will cause an untidy display if the pane is not wide enough to accommodate the whole line. Future versions may not feel it necessary to mimic the exact page layout, but for the time being the only solution is to widen the screen as far as necessary for each document.


WHAT THIS DEMO CANNOT DO

We are still battling with software and hardware problems. The fourth commonest lie in the world is probably "Windows is User Friendly", and it will be some time before we have a platform which is simple, reliable and universal. For some reason the combination of Arabic and English texts with parentheses always creates problems, and quite often we have to give up the attempt to display the text as desired.

Manuscripts can still only be displayed as graphics: a long term aim is to achieve a screen display which is visually close to the original manuscript but which is also machine readable and searchable, with hot links embedded in the screen display.

More sophisticated browsing devices will also allow textual operations such as comparing versions or mapping the variants, but this is a long way off.

If you have comments we shall be glad to receive them. For the time being send them to michael.carter "at" usyd.edu.au


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