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The Climate Web is a large and growing collection of resources and insight for exploring and tackling climate change, curated and shared using a dynamic and interactive interface called TheBrain, which you can get a quick overview of in this slide deck.

The Climate Web is best viewed on a large screen with the display fully maximized. That said, TheBrain’s new Vulcan on-line interface is mobile-friendly. 

Starting with the Toolbar at the Top of Your (Laptop) Screen

  • Pins take you to selected places in the Climate Web, and are a great way to start your initial exploration.
  • Types define Climate Web content. Users can generally ignore the pulldown list of Types.
  • Tags are used to deliver more advanced knowledge curation, including in the form of Dashboards. The pulldown list in the toolbar, however, is not user-friendly. 
  • The search box, in addition to delivering search results, displays a list of recently accessed thoughts.
  • The "eye" icon at top right lets you hide the “plex” entirely, while "settings" provides different display options

Plex, Thoughts and Labels

The adjacent navigation screen (if visible) is called the "plex", and each node within it is called a thought. Each thought can also have a label , which you can view by hovering your mouse over a thought. 

The "active" thought at any given time is located at the center of the plex, and the Notes Field for that thought (e.g. where this text is located) is what you’ll see beside or below the plex. Any other thoughts you see in the plex are either directly or indirectly related to the active thought

The position of the “plex” is set to automatically adjust to your browser's current orientation:

  • If your browser display is horizontal (landscape, as on a desktop or laptop), the plex will display to the left of this notes panel.
  • If your browser display is vertical (portrait, as on a mobile phone), the plex will display above the notes.

Note: If this automatic setting change does not switch soon enough on your device, you can manually adjust the position of the plex by using the "location" setting controls in the upper right of the top toolbar.

Experiment with the options to decide what you’re most comfortable with.  Some people find the “plex” confusing, and being able to hide it (using the “eye” icon) will be a big help. You may also find that even if you keep the “plex,” you prefer it on “top of the Notes Field” rather than beside it.  That gives both the “plex” and the “Notes Field” more room, which can be useful in the Climate Web.

Dynamic Wallpapers

With the Climate Web we’re able to assign “wallpapers” to an individual thought or selection of thoughts.  Wallpapers show up as the background to a particular thought or set of thoughts.  

Wallpapers are fun, but they can be a bit distracting.  So while we’ve assigned wallpapers to a number of the front-end thoughts in the Climate Web, it’s a very small number in the context of the Climate Web as a whole.  

Related to “wallpapers” are “hero thoughts.”   Hero thoughts show up as headers in Notes Fields for thoughts where we’ve attached a hero thought.  Here’s an example for the Header that shows up in Deep Dive Index Entries:

Dynamic Navigation

Each of the thoughts in the plex is a clickable link within the Climate Web. If you’re navigating the Climate Web with the plex toggled OFF, then each of the thoughts you see to the left or below the notes area is a clickable link.

When you click on any thought in the navigation screen, it will  immediately become the "active thought" and move to the center of the plex, at which point:

  • Any content associated with it will display in this Notes Field
  • A new set of related thoughts will display in the plex, and
  • a new URL will display in the browser (every thought has a URL which can easily be copied and shared

Your Navigation History

One of the most powerful features of TheBrain software and the Climate Web is the ability to instantly jump your way through numerous climate-related topics. 

In fact, the Climate Web makes it so easy for you to start clicking on interesting links, you might suddenly find yourself a bit lost. Never fear, it’s easy to retrace your steps. 

  • You can click on the left or right navigation buttons in your browser, which is the same as using the Alt-Left Arrow and Alt-Right Arrow keyboard shortcuts, to retrace your steps (backward or forward from where you are right now)
  • If you right-click on the backward navigation button in your browser, you’ll see a history of most recent actions, complete with the names of the thoughts int he Climate Web.
  • Click once inside the search box on the top toolbar to also access a list of your "Recent Thoughts".

New Tabs and Sharing

By right clicking on any thought in the plex, or in the Notes area if the plex is toggled OFF, you can either open the thought in a new tab or in a new window, giving you multiple views into the Climate Web.

This same right-click context menu also allows you to copy the thought link ("Copy Web Thought URL") and share it it with others.

Browser Improvements

TheBrain team recently announced the Vulcan upgrade to public-facing (browser-based) "web client" platform. The timeline for the official release of Vulcan is not yet available, but we have already customized the Climate Web for the new display.

Additional aesthetic updates will be coming soon, but in all regards this new interface is dramatically enhanced and improved! For example:

  • Navigation is much easier and better (less buggy) in the new interface.
  • In addition, the Searching at the top of the page will allow you to view a list of all the library pages you've recently accessed.

Prior to release of the Vulcan browser upgrade, TheBrain’s dynamic display of networked “thoughts” was unusual enough to be confusing for some users. With the recent upgrade of TheBrain’s on-line software, however, this confusion is relatively easy to resolve. Simply click the "Visual Map" (eye) icon in the upper right corner of the top toolbar. This will instantly convert the Climate Web into a more conventional “website.” All the links that were in the plex will still be available to you in the “Notes Field only” display option, and the Pins in the toolbar dropdown menu will still work. 

For a pretty comprehensive list of thoughts that help you explore and navigate the Climate Web, see: Help Thoughts


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