View Full Version : The Avalon Project: Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy

Thursday, October 21st, 2004, 06:22 AM
Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy:


Statement of Purpose

The Avalon Project is dedicated to providing access via the World Wide Web to primary source materials in the fields of Law, History, Economics, Politics, Diplomacy and Government. We intend to add value to these primary sources by linking to other documents expressly referred to in the body of the text. We also intend to provide as many internal links within a document as are necessary to facilitate study and navigation.

The Project will no doubt contain controversial documents. Their inclusion does not indicate endorsement of their contents nor sympathy with the ideology, doctrines, or means employed by their authors. They are included for balance and because in some cases they are referred to by another document.
Document Selection

Within the fields of Law, History, Economics, Politics, Diplomacy and Government we select those materials which are of sufficient importance as primary material to be included. Documents are also included because they are referred to in a document which is already part of the Project. We also take quite seriously suggestions from our readers and many documents have been included for that reason

Sometimes it is merely a desire on the part of the people here to learn more about a particular time period or subject. The Medieval and Renaissance documents are an example of that.
Navigating the Avalon Project

The Avalon Project begins with a single top level Homepage. From there you can move to lists of documents organized by centuries, alphabetically by author/title or by subject or event. You can also move to a Search Page from the Homepage.

From any of the seven sub-pages (the five century pages, the alphabetical list or the major collections page) you can move either to the full text of a particular document or to a menu page for a subject area, historical event or historical timeframe ( Statutes of the United States, The Dayton Peace Accords or the Chronology of Amercan History for example).

From the menu pages for subject areas and historical events you can move to the full text of the documents.

All of the menu pages have navigation tools which will allow you to return to any of the five century pages, the major collections page or the Homepage. Also if the menu page where you are was reached from another menu page we try to give you a link back to that page.

The standalone fulltext documents will all have navigational tools at the bottom of the page. There will always be links back to the Homepage, the Century Page of which that document is a member and the Menu Page, if any, from which that document was reached.

The fulltext documents which are part of collections such as the British War Bluebook or Nazi-Soviet Diplomacy will have navigational tools at both the top and bottom of the text. They will allow you to return to the menu page or to move backward and forward document by document through the collection. The tools at the bottom will also have links back to the Homepage and other menu pages or century pages.

In short we try to give you as much navigation as possible to move easily about the Project.
Saving Avalon Project documents to your computer

You are free to save any Avalon Project document to your computer's hard drive for your personal use. So please do so !

You can save a Project document to your computers hard drive by clicking on "File" and then "Save As" in your browsers main menu bar. At this point a dialog box pops up and you may select the folder on your drive where you want the document to be saved and you can choose to save the document as either HTML or TXT. If you save it as HTML you will get all the markup tags in the document. If you save it as TXT then the markup tags will stripped out and you will end up with a very plain ASCII file that you can load and read in any word processor.
The Copyright Issue and the use of Avalon Project Documents

If you wish to use Avalon Documents on your website or in your classroom for any educational or non-commercial purpose we have no objection and indeed encourage you to do so. All we ask is that you please e-mail us and let us know. We get a kick out of knowing the documents are being used. Please be aware however that many of the documents are frequently updated, corrected or enhanced thus you might want to check back for updated copies.
The Internet Address for the Avalon Project

http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/avalon.htm will take you to the Project Homepage.

It is possible you may see links that read: http://elsinore.cis.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/avalon.htm This is an older form of the address which stills functions but should be avoided when constructing links to the Project.
Mailing Address for the Avalon Project
William C. Fray
The Yale Law School
The Avalon Project
127 Wall St.
New Haven CT, 06520
The Technological Details

The documents are scanned and converted to digital images using a flatbed scanner. The resultant images are then loaded into an Optical Character Recognition program and converted to text. The text is saved as a word processing document. We then spellcheck the documents using a word processor and then carefully check them again against the paper copy in a futile attempt to find and correct the many errors introduced in the OCR process. Hence the Error Report Form. We never find all the errors but with your help we will so please don't hesitate to send a report. Sometimes it takes a bit for the correction to be made but we do take each and every report seriously.

Once that is completed we prepare the documents for presentation on the Web using HTML markup language, stylesheets, javascript, add in our navigation tools and any links. Then we put them out on the Project Website and they are ready to be read.
The Test Browsers

There are way too many different web browsers of various vintages for us to be able to test them all. So in order to preserve our sanity we have chosen to test the Avalon Project Internet Explorer 5.5 (and higher). We test at the following screen resolutions 600X800 and 1024X678. The Project displays best at either 800X600 or 1024X678. It is viewable in the lower resolutions but not in the most usable manner.

Also we do use Stylesheets extensively in order to enhance the readability of our documents. The documents are readable in browsers that do not support stylesheets but the difference is quite astonishing. We also make some use of Javascript. If you see some very peculiar characters on screen it is likely that your browser does not support Javascript and also is not capable of ignoring it.

The bottom line is that the Avalon Project displays best in Netscape 4.5 and higher and Internet Explorer 5.5 and higher.

The Project's Graphics

The graphics are chosen mostly to please ourselves and have no significance beyond making the pages look pretty.
The Avalon Project's Use of Stylesheets, Javascripts and Meta Tags

We make quite extensive use of Stylesheets to display our documents in a more readable form. The page margins, paragraph indentations, the larger font size and the lack of the underline in hyperlinks is all controlled from stylesheets. The font color, size and style of the header, the document title and the footer of each page is also controlled from the stylesheet.

We use some javascript. The footer of each page that displays the document title, document location and last updated date is all generated using javascript.

We make extensive use of Meta Tags. Meta Tags are HTML markup tags that allow us to describe the document in a structured manner. The purpose of doing this is to allow internet search engines to better index and retrieve our documents. The particular Meta Tag scheme that we use is called the Dublin Core and we are using Library of Congress Subject Headings.

If you are not using Netscape 6.0 and higher or Internet Explorer 6.0 and higher or an equally advanced browser we suggest you upgrade to these (free) browsers as the Project will display very nicely making use of the all the stylesheets and javascript built into the documents.