5 second GIF Navigate the Climate Web


NOTE: This page applies to the Climate Web itself, and not to derivative Climate Sites. But Climate Sites often include links that may land you in the Climate Web itself. That’s where these navigation tips and tricks come into play.

First-Time Climate Web Users

If you're new to the Climate Web, you may find the interface unfamiliar. We know that the amount of information being organized and presented can be intimidating. The Climate Web is built with TheBrain software, a powerful and easy-to-use “mind-mapping” and knowledge management software. Through the bullets below, and the HELP thought always pinned to the top of your screen, you can come up the Climate Web’s learning curve quickly. You may even want to experiment with using TheBrain software for your own knowledge management needs. Knowledge management may be the single most important skill never taught to students at any level. Even the FREE version of TheBrain software is a great way to start.

Web-Based Access (Open Access)


The biggest issue for first-time users of the **Climate Web** to be aware of is that the TheBrain's web-based interface is substantially slower and less powerful than the laptop and mobile versions of the software. Some of the software's features just don't work in the web-based interface. These and other limitations can be overcome by downloading the **Climate Web** to your own computer, something you can do via Premium Access.

Nevertheless, you can use the web-based interface of the Climate Web to take Open Access advantage of many thousands of hours of climate change knowledge curation by the Climatographers. To that end here are some basic navigational pointers:

  • The "HOME" thought is always available at the top of your screen to bring you to the "front door" of the Climate Web.

  • CLICK on thoughts to activate them. The active thought at any given time will be centered in the Plex covering the left half of your screen, and on the right you’ll see the Notes Field for the active thought. Thoughts can be linked to “parent,” “child,” or “jump” thoughts extending above, below, or to the left of an active thought.

  • HOVERING over a thought will show any information contained in its “Label,” while HOVERING over any Thumbnail Image (at the far left of a thought) will EXPAND the image to full size (can take 2-5 seconds on-line). (NOTE: We're gradually transitioning thumbnail images into Notes fields for easier viewing)

  • Thought "GATES," are the small circles just below, above, and to the left of thoughts. Empty circles signal that there are no additional thoughts linked to that Gate. Solid green Gates indicate that there are linked thoughts that you aren’t currently seeing on your screen. Activating a thought with filled-in gates will make those thoughts visible.  

  • A thought’s Notes Field can contain explanatory text as well as PDFs, URLs, or videos. The small triangles at the bottom of the dividing line between the Notes Field and the blue "Plex" can open or close the Notes field (we do use the Notes field extensively, so would recommend you keep it open). You can drag the bar between the Notes Field and Plex to resize them.

  • If you are accessing the Climate Web on-line, you can only retrace one step via your Browser's Backspace key. But there is also a breadcrumb trail at the bottom of the Plex showing recently activated thoughts. You can click on breadcrumb thoughts to activate them.

  • We use visual icons to tell you something about thoughts you are seeing on your screen. Different kinds of thoughts have different icons and often different colors as you can see in the Legend just below.

Climate Web Legend revised

  • The easiest way to navigate the Climate Web on-line is through its Index. Index Entries are organized vertically, so clicking on any thought above or below a particular Index Entry will keep you in the Index. With the Index, you can literally click your way through the entire topic of climate change from A to Z. All Index Entries are preceded by an "I:" and lack spaces in the body of the entry. This makes it a lot easier to use the Search function. The topic of carbon pricing, for example, has an Index Entry of I:CarbonPricing. Searching for that Index Entry will quickly get you to the right part of the Index where you can refine your exploration of the topic. Searching for "carbon pricing," on the other hand, will generate hundreds of hits with no obvious pattern or hierarchy.

  • You can SEARCH the Climate Web on-line using the Search field at the bottom left of your screen. Searching doesn’t require an exact text match. Typing in “trans,” for example, should turn up “transport,” but it will also turn up a long list of thoughts. A couple of additional Search pointers:

    • Searching for "S - Carbon Pricing" will list Sources Headings first because of the "S". The same logic applies when searching for other kinds of Headings.

    • To find a person, type in their "Last name, First name." That will tell you if there is a thought specific to that person. Simply typing in a last name will turn up all individuals with that last name as well as sources for which someone with that last name is the lead author (we don’t list all the authors if there are multiple authors for books, reports, and journal articles).

    • To find a specific document, you can try searching for the Year of publication and the last name of the Author, or try searching for the first several words of the Title. Documents use the following format: "Year Author_Title." For example: 2019 Oppenheimer_How high will the seas rise?  Only the first listed author of a document or paper is used to identify books, reports, and journal articles in the Climate Web.

    • News and opinion pieces use the following format: "Year/Month_Title. We don't include the author's name for news stories and opinion pieces.

That's really all you need to know to navigate the Climate Web online. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can come up the software’s learning curve. And remember that the HELP thought always pinned to the top of your screen when you’re in the Climate Web has more information.

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