To get a feel for Bodies and Structures, we suggest that new readers explore the site in the following ways. Be sure to check out the screencasts, which provide click-by-click guides to navigation and using the site's main tools. Click on any image to enlarge it and see its details.
If you are using the site on a mobile device, please read the Special Note for Mobile Users.
You can return to this Guide at any time via the Menu Bar in the upper-left hand corner.
Read through one or two modules
- Watch “How to Navigate a Module.”
- Select a module from the Modules page.
Explore using the Complete Grid Visualization
Use the Complete Grid Visualization to see how one or more of the pages you’ve just visited connect to other modules and pages within the site. Often, this will be via shared tag relationships. The pages are ordered alphabetically by title.
Or, pick another page or pages on the grid and explore the connections they reveal. Select a page and follow the red lines to see its tag or tags. You can also start by clicking on a tag page (a red block) to identify the various pages to which that tag relates. You might find some surprisingly generative juxtapositions.
When clicking pages on the grid, use the Inspector to reveal details and metadata about each page.
You can click on as many pages as you want to explore different relationships or pathways through the site. (Remember, in Scalar, every object is a page.) Clicking “Visit” underneath the title will open the page in a new tab and preserve your selections on the grid.
Explore the Tag Map
Like the Complete Grid Visualization, the Tag Map allows you to see how spatial concepts take on different historical meanings in different historical contexts. In contrast to the Grid Visualization, the Tag Map allows you to start with a concept and work your way down to specific pages, rather than starting with a page and working your way up to its conceptual tags. The “tag (top) down” approach is particularly useful when you know the concept you are interested in, and want to read across places to see how it appears throughout Bodies and Structures modules.
- Watch “How to Use the Tag Map”
Click to expand two or more tags to reveal the various pages they contain. Look at how the visualization shows connections or suggests combinations of tags to think with. (Note: You can also see the tags in list form on the Static Tag Index page.)
Explore the Geotagged Map
Many of the pages in Bodies and Structures contain geolocational metadata that can be rendered as pins on a Google map. Click on any pin to reveal the module it represents. (Visit the Geotagged Map.)
The Lenses tool allows you to produce more complex visualizations using the Google map widget. For a detailed guide, see below.
Use the Context button to situate yourself and make visualizations on the fly
Each page features a “context” button in the upper-right hand corner. Click on this button to reveal the page's relationships. You can also visualize this page and its relationships, right from the Context button, by clicking “Visualize.”
Use the Lenses tool to create your own visualizations
“Lenses” is a new tool for Bodies and Structures, which we developed in collaboration with Erik C. Loyer and Craig Dietrich at Scalar and with significant funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Anyone can browse Lenses. To make your own Lenses, you must be signed in to your account at NCSU Scalar. Register by following these simple instructions.
What are Lenses? The Lenses tool plays a special role in Bodies and Structures. Lenses brings our readers—you!—into our multivocal spatial history. Use Lenses to search and visualize the content of the book in new ways. Set search parameters to develop more complex and focused approaches to the site’s materials. Generate novel visualizations and analyses by combining the site’s materials.
You can access Lenses at any time by selecting “Browse Lenses” from the Compass menu in the upper-left hand corner. If you are signed in to your NCSU Scalar account, you can select “Manage Lenses” from the Compass menu.
To see an example of how to use Lenses, follow along with the screencasts below:
- “Lenses Screencast 1: Sourcebook.” How to create a list of all the pages that contain English-language or translated primary source materials.
- “Lenses Screencast 2: Word Cloud.” How to create a word cloud from pages tagged by a particular Tag Map tag.
- “Lenses Screencast 3: Metadata and Inspector.” How to use the Inspector tool to find metadata; how to use metadata to create a Lens.
- “Lenses Screencast 4: Text to Grid.” How to create a Lens that visualizes pages that contain a particular text string.
- “Lenses Screencast 5: Intersection and Combination.” How to use the Intersection/Combination options to create more complex Lenses.
- “Lenses Screencast 6: Breadcrumbs.” How to use the Lenses tool to retrace your steps through Bodies and Structures 2.0
If you think that other readers would benefit from seeing the site through your Lens, please select “Make Public” from the dropdown menu in the Lens Content Selector. This will submit your Lens to David and Kate for review.
For more suggestions about how to use Bodies and Structures for research or in the classroom, continue on this path. For more on our theoretical framework and findings, proceed to “Reorienting Our Scholarship.” Or if you want to jump right into the site, proceed to the Main Menu.