Click here to visit WebBook's Home Page

WebBook's Home Page:
http://webbook.ngdc.noaa.gov/webbook/

A WebBook is a way of organizing many interconnected Web pages into an easy-to-read collection of chapters and pages, much like a paper book. But a WebBook has the advantages of being easy-to-search and can be distributed via the Web or CDROM to Macs, PCs, or Unix computers. A Kiosk Mode automatic page-turning feature provides a continuous presentation of the next page every few seconds like a slide-show.


Reading a WebBook

A Web site that has been setup as a WebBook has a control panel added to every page that looks like:

NOTE: This control panel can vary in appearance and not all features are implemented in all WebBooks

You can read through a WebBook page-by-page simply by clicking the Next Page or Previous Page arrow buttons, like turning pages in a book. The Home Page button takes you to the book's overall Table of Contents (i.e. the "home page" of a Web site).

The colored Position Bar shows how far you are through the book, and can be clicked to go directly to any particular page in the book. Try rolling your mouse over the color bar and looking down at the status line of your browser (the status line is usually at the bottom of the window) to see which page you will go to.

The WebBook Title and Chapter Title are shown in the center. The Chapter Title is optional, and may be clickable to go to a Table of Contents just for that Chapter. A small Book or Site Logo ("GLOBE" in our example above) may be used to provide a link back to an originating Web site. The WebBook Logo provides a link to a page for help and general information on WebBooks.

The Last Modified Date is displayed next to the page number and is the date of the most recent change to that page. Above that date there may be an optional "Kiosk" button for automatic page turning: a continuous presentation of the next page every few seconds like a slide-show. Another optional button can be for a special page related to the current one: usually this is an Adobe PDF Page icon, indicating a PDF version of this same page that is suitable for printing or zooming in for viewing details not visible in the plain HTML (PDF pages also allow you to see the page exactly as they were when printed on paper). Different WebBooks may use this space for other purposes or not at all.

Searching a WebBook

Some WebBooks may allow searching through all their text. If so, they will have an additional "footer" that looks like this:

Options This Chapter Entire Book

Since WebBooks can be organized by Book and Chapter, they may also be searched that way. Sometimes, especially in large books (or Web sites), a simple search returns too many pages. Hence, we have provided a way to limit searches to just one Chapter. Simply go to any page in that chapter, and type in the word you are looking for, and select the "This Chapter" button before clicking "Search".

More specific searches are available by clicking the "Options" link. This takes you to a page with many search options including:

The modified WebGlimpse search software used here is Copyright © 1996, University of Arizona.

The WebBook Concept

The Web has introduced us all to the power of "hypertext", and Web sites are often marvelous "hierarchies" of information. Still, there are times that you just wish you could go through all or many of the pages in sequence, instead of always having to click the Web browser's "BACK" button to return to a "home" page, then click again on another page link -- over and over again.

Navigating an entire Web site the "hypertext" way

A WebBook uses a Book and Chapter metaphor that we are all familiar with. It allows visitors to view the entire site page-by-page in sequence, or even jump quickly to any page, much like we can do with paper books. Sometimes, especially in educational and story-telling material, the old-fashioned sequential book model actually works better than "hypertext". And just quickly scanning a bunch of pages by "thumbing" through them in a WebBook is much easier than navigating up and down a complex hierarchy (all that extra mouse-clicking and page redrawing can be very distracting!).

Navigating an entire Web site the "WebBook" way

A WebBook doesn't lose the original hypertext structure of a Web site -- it preserves it, while adding a new, sequential way to view the site. It unties the "Gordian Knot" of a complicated hypertext structure into a straight "thread" of information!

Creating your own WebBook

You can easily build your own WebBook by just providing a list of pages anywhere on the Web. In this way you can create "tours" of favorite or related Web pages, with slide show capability and full-text searchability.

The WebBook Creator page:

http://wist.ngdc.noaa.gov/webbook/wbcreator
lets you simply paste in a list of page URLs, choose your features, and click to create a live WebBook with no knowledge of Web programming.

If you wish more flexibility, and have access to a Unix-based Web server, then you can use our webbook.pl Perl script to customize and build WebBooks with your own look-and-feel, to host on your own Web server. For more details on other ways to build WebBooks, see: http://webbook.ngdc.noaa.gov/~fozzard/documentation/wb

Frame Support

IMPORTANT NOTE: The WebBook tool does not currently support web pages using "frames". Please let us know if frame support is important to you. In the meantime, please consider if frames are really important to your presentation; there are some serious drawbacks to using them (see Jakob Nielsen's "Why Frames Suck..." at: http://www.useit.com/alertbox/9612.html)

The WebBook concept was developed by Richard Fozzard (fozzard@ngdc.noaa.gov) at the National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC), a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The work was supported by the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment Program (GLOBE), and was developed for the purposes of science education and in consultation with K-12 teachers in that Program.

There is a Technical Tutorial paper given at WebShop '97 that provides more details on WebBooks and how to create them:



The WebBook tool was used to create the GLOBE Teacher's Guide, the Grand Winner of The Best Web Page in NOAA award!

WebBook shares some features and concepts with Metalog, and future plans for WebBook might include capabilities from Metalog.

Interested readers may want to examine another exciting technology related to the WebBook, which is currently under development: Built-in Orderly Organized Knowledge device