The Contextual Guide and Internet Index to Western Civilization
(about links at this site)
OverView -- Periods (Historical Eras) -- CultureGrids and Grid Lists -- Essays & Profiles
How to Return -- The Navigation Palette -- Mouse Etiquette
Internal Text Links -- WWW Links -- Cultural Almanac -- ART Images (Internal Graphics)
Historical Maps -- Search -- Help
Methods of Study
Chronological Study -- Geographical & Inter-disciplinary Study
Serendipitous Browsing -- Tools for Study
Culture 4.0 is the first version of the program to be created in the HTML format which allows it to be operated by internet browsers (Netscape Navigator, Microsoft Explorer, AOL, etc.) and thus provide access to the more than 25,000+ web pages linked to by the program. While navigation through the various levels of Culture® is detailed below, the user who is unfamiliar with the program and determined to set off exploring Culture® without reading the directions below would do well in the short run to (1) use the Navigation Palette at the top of all 750+ "pages" (HTML documents) in the program, and (2) remember to use the Back and Forward navigational tools of your web browser. In the event that you deliberately or accidentally click on one of the 25,000+ internet (WWW) links and suddenly find yourself out on the web, simply click the Back button on your browser to return to the secure confines of Culture® within the program CD that is loaded in your computer.
As noted in the Features section below, Culture® 4.0 is an enormous cultural (humanities-focused) database that has many thousands of complementary pieces of textual, graphic and audio data. Two of the greatest strengths of the program are the clarity of organization of this information and the ease with which it can be accessed. The editors of Culture® 4.0 have labored to present the information on a "no frills" basis.
There are two types of information included in the program: (1) the actual content of the program, e.g., period pages, CultureGrids, grid lists, essays, and (2) a collection of various tools and overviews that can assist the user in exploring Culture® 4.0 . With regards to the Navigation Palette (the chief navigational tool for Culture® 4.0 ), the program content is accessed by the pictorial/red-letter icons on the bottom while the various tools and overviews are accessed by the grey-letter icons on the top.
The program content is hierarchically arranged into units of time that descend from an OverView of the nine historical periods of Western culture (Biblical History through the 20th Century) down to particular information (e.g., essays, profiles or grid lists) within a given generation. The nine historical periods are complemented by a Cultural Almanac which provides a wide variety of cultural data (births, events, etc.) for each day of the year.
Western history from the ancient Greeks to the present has been organized into identifiable, specific eras and generations, further delineated by country and discipline. Within these specific eras the user can see ALL of the important contemporary rulers, leaders, composers, painters, architects, writers, thinkers, et al. in each era or generation, enabling a clear sense of the collegiality and simultaneity of people and events.
This organization into units of time (rather than an encyclopedic A-to-Z approach) reinforces the contextual nature of the program. (Culture® 4.0 is contextual in that it shows the interplay of the humanities [literature, art, music, religion & philosophy], science and history. It is the sum of the interactions between these disciplines and people, places and events that define a particular era such as the Romantic era.)
The four descending levels of the database (OverView, Periods, CultureGrids and Gridlists, Essays and Profiles) are described below.
The OverView Page is your main table of contents for the program and lists and directly accesses the nine period stacks (Biblical to 20th Century) as well as an Introduction stack and the Cultural Almanac. The OverView Page can be accessed from anywhere in the program by clicking on the OV icon which is always located in the lower left hand corner of the Navigation Palette at the top of every page in Culture® 4.0 . Once you become familiar with the program, the Navigation Palette will serve as a "floating OverView" (in that it's at the top of every page) and you will rarely navigate to the OverView Page itself.
The icons for the nine periods (historical eras) are identified in the Navigation Palette section. The period pages can be directly accessed from their position on the OverView Page or elsewhere in the program from the related icons on the Navigation Palette. The perod pages provide access to the subperiods (CultureGrids®) and the various period essays (general overview of the particular period and discussions of the various disciplines, e.g., art, literature, music, religion/philosophy, and science) and historical essays (discussions on particular historical/cultural phenomena) of the particular era.
The nine historical periods are noted below and their titles are linked to the appropriate period page.
Each period or historical era (with the exceptions of Greece and Rome which each have one CultureGrid®) is divided into generations (larger units of time are used for Biblical History, Greece, Rome and the Middle Ages) of contemporaries who made their major contributions within a clearly delineated period. By use of the thirty CultureGrids® contained in the program one can quickly see ALL of the important rulers, writers, painters, sculptors, architects, composers, philosophers & theologians and scientists who were working, creating and thinking together. A mini-index to these 30 CultureGrids (5 Biblical, 1 Greece, 1 Rome, 6 Middle Ages, 5 Renaissance, 4 Baroque, 2 Classic, 4 Romantic and 2 Twentieth Century) is included just below each of them and is shown below.
Clicking on any icon within a CultureGrid® links the user to the appropriate list of individuals, places or events for that discipline and country. These Grid Lists include links to profiles in the various period essays for major figures,events, etc. and detailed information within the Grid list itself for less important figures, events, etc. In addition to date and discipline, the CultureGrids are also organized by country. By navigating the historical grids horizontally within the REN5 CultureGrid, for instance, it is easy to find ALL the important Italian late Renaissance popes, writers, artists and composers. Or, by navigating vertically, one can find ALL the important composers, or ALL the important writers by country for this generation (1560-1600), thus facilitating a glimpse of the movers and shapers of Western culture by their geographical location.
For another example of a CultureGrid® see BAR1 (Early Baroque, 1600-1630) shown below. The icons in this CultureGrid are active; if you click on an icon and go to the related Early Baroque Grid List and then with to return to this page, just hit the return arrow on your web browser.
Each Period or Historical Era page (with the exception of Biblical History) has links to a group of general introductory essays which include an introduction to the period and overviews of the literature, art, music, religion & philosophy and science for that particular era. These discipline-oriented essays include profiles of the leading figures in each field. There are a total of 81 general period essays which include more than 1500 macro-profiles of famous historical figures, artists, writers, composers, philosophers & theologians and scientists over more than 3800 years of Western history and culture. The profile level is where the vast majority of the internal text links, WWW links and internal graphics are located. These introductory period essays are accessed directly at the bottom of the period pages.
In addition to the general period essays there are 141 specific historical period essays on famous people, events and aspects of Western Civilization, on topics ranging from the Black Death to Impressionism. A summary of these historical essays (Overview of Historical Essays) is included in the Tools for Study section of the program introduction.
Culture® 4.0 is an extensive database that contains over 750 "pages" (separate HTML documents) of information. These files range in size but have a maximum length of approximately 10 normal pages of single-spaced type. The user is able to navigate through the program (as contained on the Culture® 4.0 CD) and its related WWW content (on the 25,000+ web pages linked by the program) in four ways: (1) internal text links, (2) WWW links, (3) the Navigation Palette, and (4) utilization of the return and forward buttons in the user's web browser. BEFORE RUSHING OFF and investigating these features, however, it is vital for the user to know the most important navigational tactic: how to return to where he or she was in the first place. To return to the previous location within Culture® 4.0 after accessing (clicking on) a link, simply click once on the return button in your web browser.
The Navigation Palette (two versions shown below) is located at the top of all 800+ pages of the program. The larger of the two versions shown below is located at the top of OverView and various period pages (all accessed by the bottom row of links on the Navigation Palette) while the smaller iteration is located at the top of the rest of the program pages. Both versions are image maps, meaning that they are a collection of links to the related pages of the program. (The links in the two graphics shown below are not active on this website.) As noted above, the program content is accessed by the pictorial/red-letter icons on the bottom of the Navigational Palette whereas the various tools and overviews are accessed by the grey-letter icons on the top. A summary of the top row of links (grey text) and the bottom row of links (red text and pictorial icons) is provided below beneath the two Navigation Palette images.
The grey-letter icons on the top level of the Navigation Palette are explained below.
The particular period icons (displayed above their corresponding red three-letter symbols) on the bottom level of the Navigation Palette are explained below (with links to the individual icon's source).
Since Culture® 4.0 is in the HTML environment, the user needs only to click ONCE on any button or link. A double-click (particularly on a browser button) may take you one step further than you wish to go.
INTERNAL TEXT LINKS
There are over 25,000 hypertext links in Culture® 4.0 . They are shown as blue underlined text (as in the example below) and when accessed by the user (by clicking on the blue underlined text with the mouse) link to an appropriate text passage in another part of the program. The majority of these internal text links go to individual profiles or essays, although others link to passages that clarify or embellish the link source. Internal text links are distinguished from internet links in that a WWW icon always precedes the latter.
In order to return to the site (page) of the link source (as opposed to the link target), click on the return button in your web browser. (See Navigation for more information.)
As noted above, Culture® 4.0 includes more than 25,000 annotated links to sites on the internet. An internet link is always preceded by the WWW icon in order to distinguish it from an internal text link. Specific WWW links are posted throughout Culture® 4.0 while general WWW links are listed on the WWW Resources page where they are organized both by discipline and by historical period. The combination of internal (Culture® 4.0 content) and external internet resources provides the user with the equivalent of an extensive research library (see The Computer as a Cultural Literacy Station).
The creators of Culture® 4.0 wish to stress that, given the continual emergence of new sites, our selections are not presented as being definitive. We are constantly finding new sites and would appreciate notification of any that we have overlooked (please e-mail your suggestions to: Culture@aol.com).
The Almanac is a collection of cultural information for each day of the year and also includes internal text links and WWW links for access to supplementary information. Famous births, deaths and events are noted chronologically and links are also provided to several almanac sites on the web for each day of the year. The Almanac can be accessed directly from the Navigation Palette by clicking on the ALMNC icon which leads to an index providing a link for each day of the year. Twelve additional pages include daily information for each month.
The program contains 30 CultureGrids® where disciplines (history, literature, art, music, religion & philosophy, science and miscellaneous) are displayed by country for each sub-period (for more information, see CultureGrids in the Product Structure section of this Introduction).
ESSAYS AND PROFILES
Culture® 4.0 includes two collections of essays: (1) general introductory essays for each era (a period introduction and overviews of literature, art, music, religion & philosophy and science), and (2) specific historical period essays on famous people, events and aspects of Western Civilization. (See Essays and Profiles above for a more detailed discussion.)
ART IMAGES (INTERNAL GRAPHICS )
Culture® 4.0 contains more than 1,500 graphic images of maps, famous people, places, events and works of art. (See Image Sources for more information about these various images.) These images are located throughout the program and are always preceded by an ART icon in order to distinguish them from links to internet images (which are always preceded by a WWW icon). Historical maps are preceded by a MAP icon.
Examples of internal graphics (in this case, two paintings by Raphael) are shown below. (The Corel link is for information of the source of the images.) Most of these images are found at the end of profiles in the various period art essays of the program.
(NOTE: Make sure your monitor is set for "thousands" of colors or higher; in the "256" mode the colors will be distorted.)
The program contains a total of 159 maps covering various developments in Western culture over the past four millennia. The Historical Maps Overview (accessed within the program by clicking on the MAPS icon within the Navigation Palette) provides both a detailed listing of these internal maps as well as links to several hundred historical maps at various sites on the internet. An example of an (internal) historical map is shown below.
See Navigation Palette discussion in the Navigation section above.
The Search feature is accessed by clicking on the SEARCH icon within the Navigation Palette on the top of each page of the program. This link will take you to a page where two search capabilities are discussed in detail: (1) the Culture® 4.0 Search Engine which can find any text string in the program, and (2) links to various internet search engines for those seeking more information out on the web.
The Help Feature icon is accessed by the ? icon in the Navigation Palette located on the top of each page of the program. To access the Help Feature just click the mouse on the Help icon and you will be linked to the list of topics shown below. These links will take you to the appropriate explanatory section of the Program Introduction.
HELP LIST -- click on the appropriate topic for more information
There are many different ways the user can explore Culture® 4.0. The methods of study noted below should prove valuable to the dedicated student of the program.
Each major era is divided into generations of contemporaries who made their major contributions within a clearly delineated period. By use of the CultureGrids® (which represent subperiods of specific eras) one can quickly see ALL of the important rulers, writers, painters, sculptors, architects, composers, philosophers & theologians and scientists who were working, creating and thinking together.
A good way to begin a study of a period is to read the Introductory Essay and capture the flavor of the age. Reading the Literature, Art, Music, Religion & Philosophy, and Science Essays will paint a fairly thorough picture of the cultural climate. Hundreds of names are linked to the historical outlines and the 141 period essays which provide a deeper understanding of the periods. (Note: Since the Middle Ages stack covers 1000 years, there are introductory essays for each of the six subperiods. The other historical periods contain only one set of introductory essays.)
GEOGRAPHICAL & INTER-DISCIPLINARY STUDY
In addition to date and discipline, each major era is also organized by country. By navigating the historical grids horizontally it is easy to find, for instance, ALL the important Italian late Renaissance popes, writers, artists and composers. Or, by navigating vertically, one can find ALL the important composers, or ALL the important writers by country, thus facilitating a glimpse of the movers and shapers of Western culture by their geographical location.
Many users enjoy browsing serendipitously through Culture® 4.0 by navigating via the thousands of internal text links and WWW links. Following these internal and external links as they arouse your curiosity is perhaps the best way to discover both the depth of the program and the innumerable resouces available on the internet. Your steps can easily be retraced by accessing the Return button in your web browser.
TOOLS FOR STUDY
A collection of various Tools for Study (shown below) have been provided to help the user creatively explore the program (see Tools for Study or click on the individual links below for more information).
GENERAL NOTE: HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS
1) PROGRAM CRASHES OR LOCKS UP
2) THE COLORS OF THE ART GRAPHICS SEEM DISTORTED.
3) THE SEARCH ENGINE WILL NOT WORK AT ALL
4) THE SEARCH ENGINE SAYS PLEASE GIVE JAVA THE PRIVILEGES IT NEEDS
5) I AM USING NETSCAPE ON THE MAC, AND THE SEARCH ENGINE WON'T WORK
FOR OTHER TROUBLESHOOTING NEEDS, CONTACT CULTURAL RESOURCES, INC.
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