How to Use the WWO Interface


The WWO interface consists of three major parts, each of which is described in more detail below:

  • the Search pane, in which readers can create searches and use filters to select specific parts of the collection
  • the Results pane, in which readers can see the aggregated results of those choices (for instance, as a list of texts, or as a timeline), and can select individual texts for closer view
  • the Text pane, in which readers can read an individual text in detail

Navigation and Getting Started

When you first open a window showing the WWO interface, you will see the Search pane on the left of the screen, and a full Table of Contents for the collection in the center Results pane. The Full text pane on the right will remain empty until you select a text to read.

Because almost all activities—reading, searching, browsing—happen in the same space, WWO involves minimal navigation. A few key features are listed below.

To choose your active pane, click in the pane.

To scroll within the Results or Reading Pane, you can:

  • click and drag the scrollbar on the right side of the pane
  • use the scroll wheel on your mouse, if you have one
  • make the pane active by clicking anywhere inside of it, then use the Page Down/Page Up, Home/End, Space, or Arrow keys to move as desired within the pane

To learn the function of any button or icon on the page, simply mouse over it and a pop-up gloss will appear.


If no search or selection is made in the Search pane, the Results pane will display a full table of contents for the WWO collection. This list can be sorted by author, date, or title by clicking on the double-arrow icon in the upper right corner of the pane.

Accompanying the Results pane is a vertical timeline showing the chronological distribution of texts within the collection, or the selected subset. If no selection or search is made, the timeline will display the entire collection. Following a search, the timeline will display the texts contained in the found set. Additionally, the timeline can be used to select a chronological subset, by dragging the mouse over the desired segment of the timeline or by clicking an individual year. To undo the selection, click on the “reverse” arrow at the top of the timeline.

Searching, Filters, and Preferences

The Search pane offers a way of identifying a set of texts that are particularly interesting or relevant: either because they meet certain criteria (date, author, genre) or because they contain specific words or phrases of interest. The Search pane offers both a basic and a more advanced search:

  • For a basic search, simply type your search term into the search field and press Return or click OK. Your search results will be displayed in the Results pane, grouped by the text in which they appear. If you click on a specific search term within a result, you will be taken to that location in the relevant text in the Text pane.
  • For a more advanced set of search options, including full text or metadata searches, click “Advanced” and then fill in whatever fields you like. The “proximity” option allows you to specify that your search terms must appear within a certain number of words of one another.

The options you choose (word selections and exclusions) will be displayed in the search pane along side your results. Each search term can be undone individually by clicking on the accompanying check mark.

Additional filters permit you to fine-tune a search by selecting specific facets of the found set, including date and genre, each of which has a number of subsets to narrow your search if desired. To select a facet, simply click on it. Selected filters are also displayed alongside your results and can be removed in the same manner as search terms.

In the Preferences pane you can select whether you would like to view either original or regularized typography. For example, in the regularized format “ouer” would be “over” (“u” in the source material is regularized to “v” in the interface) and “againſt” would be “against.” We have implemented this option for most of the texts in Women Writers Online and expect to have full implementation by summer 2018.

Reading and the Text Pane

The Text pane is the space where individual texts are displayed for reading. To select a text for reading, click on its title in the Results pane. Texts in the Full Text pane are formatted so as to provide a fairly consistent and legible reading interface, while conveying the overall meaning of the original formatting and layout. (Read more about the display of the text.) Certain aspects of the original document are preserved, such as italics, capitalization, and indentation in poetry. Other aspects are regularized, such as paragraph indentation, formatting of section headings, prose lineation, treatment of vertical space, and presentation of footnotes and marginal notes. Some features, such as printed page numbers and most forme work, are suppressed altogether in the current view, although we will eventually add display options that make these visible if desired. In addition, some kinds of information (such as indications of gaps in the transcription, or of handwritten annotations) are displayed as inline annotations within curled braces.

To view only the full text pane, at the width of your browser window, click on the “reader mode“ icon in the upper right of the pane. This will remove the search and results panes and display only the selected text. To return to the three-pane view, click the icon once again.

WWO Help Pages

To return to the main WWO help page, see here; for the full set of help pages for all of the WWP’s resources, see here.