How to find information in the Greenstone demo collection

There are 5 ways to find information in this collection:

You can search for particular words that appear in the text from the "search" page. This is the first page that comes up when you begin, and can be reached from other pages by pressing the search button.

You can access publications by subject by pressing the subjects button. This brings up a list of subjects, represented by bookshelves.

You can access publications by title by pressing the titles a-z button. This brings up a list of books in alphabetic order.

You can access publications by organisation by pressing the organisations button. This brings up a list of organisations.

You can access publications by "how to" listing by pressing the how to button. This brings up a list of how to strings.


How to read the documents

You can tell when you have arrived at an individual book or document because its title, or a photograph of the front cover, appears at the top left of the page. In some collections this is accompanied by a table of contents, while others contain just the number of the current page 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 photograph are some buttons. Click on expand text 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 to make a new browser window for this document. (This is useful if you want to compare documents, or read two at once.) Finally, when you do a search the words you search for are highlighted. Click on no highlighting to remove highlighting.

Open this bookshelf
Open/close this book
View this section of the text
Go to the previous/next section
Display all text, or not
Expand table of contents, or not
Open this page in a new window
Highlight search terms, or not


How to search for particular words

From the search page, you make a query in these simple steps:

  1. Specify what items you want to search
  2. Say whether you want to search for all or just some of the words
  3. Type in the words you want to search for
  4. Click the Begin Search button

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 100 is imposed on the number of documents returned. You can change this number by clicking the preferences button at the top of the page.


Search terms

Whatever you type into the query box is interpreted as a list of words called "search terms." Each term contains nothing but alphabetic characters and digits. Terms are separated by white space. 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


Query type

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.


Scope of queries

In most collections you can choose 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.


Changing your preferences

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.


Collection preferences

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.

Language preferences

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 better visual results can be used by switching to a different encoding scheme. 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.

Presentation preferences

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.


Search preferences

Two pairs of buttons control the kind of text matching in the searches that you make. The first set (labeled "case differences") controls whether upper and lower case must match. The second ("word endings") controls whether to ignore word endings or not. 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.

For example, if the buttons ignore case differences and ignore word endings are selected, the query

will be treated the same as

because the uppercase letter in "African" will be transformed to lowercase, and the suffixes "n" and "ing" will be removed from "African" and "building" respectively (also, "s" would be removed from "builds").

You can switch to an "advanced" query mode which allows you to combine terms using AND (&), OR (|), and NOT (!). This allows you to specify more precise queries. You can turn 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.