The Dickens Web
I. BRIEF OVERVIEW OF STRUCTURE AND CONTENT:
The Dickens Web is a stand-alone hypertext environment, not to be confused with the World-Wide Web. It is "an open, richly interlinked web of Dickens' world;" it seeks to immerse the reader in the social and cultural contexts of Victorian England.
II. STARTING UP THE DICKENS WEB:
To access the program, click Start in the lower left-hand corner of the screen, select Programs from the menu tray, select Hypertexts from the Programs menu, and then click on the The Dickens Web.
III. USING THE DICKENS WEB:
What You See: The Storyspace Interface
The Dickens Web is read through a limited version of Eastgate Systems' Storyspace software, known as the Storyspace Reader. The Reader's interface may not be intuitive at first, and the Webs may load with several windows already open. One of these will be the Map View, a schematic rendering of the spatial relationships among the different sections of the document ("writing spaces" in the terminology of the software). Other open windows may consist of "text spaces" which will display the actual contents of introductory writing spaces. All windows can be minimized, closed down, or re-located just like any normal window.
Reading and Navigating the Webs
There are at least three basic ways of navigating the Webs. First, readers may follow links from text space to another. Unlike the World-Wide Web, however, Storyspace does not alter the color of "hotlinked" text, although the link may appear in boldface. Links may be selected either by intuition, or they may be viewed by holding down the CTRL key (which will highlight them).
The Webs may also be navigated directly through the Map view. Double-clicking on the title bar of any writing space will display its contents. Note that many writing spaces will contain other, internal writing spaces, thus giving the document a "vertical" dimension. Double-clicking within a writing space will move you down a document level. The up arrow button near the top of the Map view brings you back up a document level.
Finally, readers may use the Links button, located at the bottom of the text space, to display a list of links leading from that writing space.
Visualizing the Hypertext Structure
The Storyspace Reader is capable of rendering several different visualizations of the hypertext structure. To experiment with them, click on the buttons located either at the top center of the Map view, or the bottom left of an open text space. There is no right or wrong way to visualize the hypertext; different readers will find different views which suit their individual tastes.
- Use the History button to browse a list of text spaces you've already opened.
- Individual text spaces can be bookmarked using the icon just to the left of the History button.
- One of the most powerful features of Storyspace hypertexts is that readers can add to annotate them as they browse. To add a marginal note, click the notepad icon (three to the right of the History button).
Saving and Recalling an Individual "Reading"
Because users are able to "customize" the Webs as they work with them, the Storyspace Reader will save an individual reading, which can then be recalled at a later time. Simply pull down the Reading menu from the toolbar at the top of the screen, and select the appropriate option. Note that the reading will be saved with a .RDG extension, and that this will not overwrite the original software.
Note that it is also possible to export text from the Webs to a printer.
For More Information
For more detailed information on working with these Webs through the Storyspace Reader, see Chapter Four of the Getting Started with Storyspace manual.
IV. EXITING THE DICKENS WEB AND REMOVING THE CD-ROM:
Find the Storyspace: The Dickens Web window. Select Exit from the File drop-down menu. Note: When you exit the program, you will be asked whether you wish to save any changes that you may have made. If choose to do so, you will be prompted for a file name. Do not overwrite Dickens.ssp! You may choose save to a different file name if you wish to save your annotations.