Typically, database information is presented in tabular format with column headers and a tiny sans serif font. Database programmers have an aversion to leaving fields blank when no data is available, preferring to clutter the page with zeroes, “n/a” and the like. We don’t. We want to make our database easy on the eyes.
In this database we strive to present information on each marker in as close to magazine article layout form as possible by reporting the data in grammatically correct sentences, by using typesetters’ punctuation and dingbats (special characters), by inserting more leading between lines of text to make it easier to read, and by using contrasting fonts for headlines and photo captions. We don’t always do it perfectly, but this is our goal.
Most of this is done automatically, but occasionally text entries may need a bit of manual assistance. If you would like to help us, read on.
This website renders its pages using the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). HTML is transmitted to your browser and your browser sets the type and composes the page. HTML uses markup tags contained in angle brackets, i.e. <tag>, interspersed in the text for formatting and composing. A very small subset of HTML tags (just eight pairs plus the line break tag) are available to you to alter the format text entered into the database. All other tags are actively disallowed to protect the integrity of the rendered page. Tags that are used will “disappear” as they do their job. Disallowed tags will remain visible in the text to give you the chance to remove them.
In the following list of allowed tags, notice that they are paired as opening and closing tags. Failure to include the closing tag may cause the rest of the page to be formatted incorrectly.
- Bold Text. <b>The bold tag pair</b> formats the text between the two tags in bold type.
- Italics. <i>The italics tag pair</i> formats the text between the two tags in italics or oblique type.
- Bold Italics. You can use both together for <i><b>italicized bold type</b></i>.
- Underlined Text. <u>The underline tag pair</u> underlines the text between the two tags. However, the editor will probably change this to italics, which is the traditional typesetting method used to show emphasized text.
- Small Text. Text between these tags will be <small>formatted smaller</small>.
- Block Quote. A block quote is long quoted text. Place the quoted text between <blockquote> and </blockquote> tags.
<blockquote>The quote will be indented and set in slightly smaller type. Use one set of tags for the entire quote, regardless of number of lines or multiple paragraphs.</blockquote>
- Centered Text. To center text, place the text to be centered between <center> and </center> tags. Use one set of tags for multiple lines of text. Centered text is harder to read and, when used on a lot of text, makes for a messy-looking page. Don’t be surprised if an editor gets rid of your centering tags.
Don’t forget the closing tag!—the one that starts with the slash. HTML is less forgiving nowadays. The rest of the page may be mis-formatted if you forget a closing tag. If that happens, go back to your entry and fix it.
And if you forget or mistype the closing angle bracket on any tag ... things disappear! If you forget the closing bracket of a <tag>, everything following on the page—texts and pictures—will disappear until the next tag further along on the page–yours or the system’s–closes it for you. If text or pictures go missing, check your tags!
Paragraphing. To create a new paragraph, press Enter twice. Certain fields—like the marker inscription text field, and the photo caption field—do not translate the Enter into a break to discourage arbritary line breaks (see sidebar) and to accommodate the pasting of text from other sources. To insert a paragraph break in these fields, insert a pair of line break tags, like this: <br><br>
(Using paragraph tags in place of the pair of line break tags is discouraged. Paragraph tags can cause spacing problems in the flow of text around some photographs.)
Hyphenation. Please do not use hyphens to break words at the end of lines of text. It may look great on your browser, but someone else’s browser may put more or fewer words on each line, and your hyphen may not end of at the end of their line of text. Also, if the marker’s text uses hyphens to break words at the end of lines, please put the words back together when you transcribe it. And if you paste in text copied from elsewhere that was hyphenated, please take the time to remove the hyphens.
Spacing. You may have noticed that HTML ignores multiple spaces between words, reducing them to one space. It also removes any leading spaces in a line. Multiple entries of the “non-breaking space” special character sequence can be used to force more than one space between words. But pay attention to the warning in the next paragraph and intersperse them with regular spaces.
Very Long Words. Browsers typically cannot properly handle very long “words” of text, such as long website addresses (URLs) placed in the text, or words glued together with non-breaking spaces. The width of the area they are in will be stretched to accommodate the oversize “word,” spoiling the structure of the page. Should this occur, you must break the oversize “word” manually by inserting standard spaces or hyphens here and there. By the way, URLs in text are frowned upon in this database. Instead, add a link to the page and refer to the link in your text.
All Capitals. Text set in all capital letters is a no-no. They are hard to read, appear to be shouting to the reader, and spoil the visual fidelity of the page. If you are using them for emphasis, try bold type instead. If the text has a lot of acronyms, enclose them in Small Text tag pairs. (The acronym HTML repeatedly used on this page has been tamed with the <small> tag.) If you are copying from a source that is in all capital letters (such as many marker inscriptions), you will have to manually transcribe the text in standard (lower) case. Sorry.
The “non-breaking space” is one of hundreds of special characters, i.e., characters that do not appear on your keyboard but nevertheless are worth using in appropriate places. Each one of these special characters can be made to appear on a web page by using an “HTML entity,” which is a name or number that is preceded by an ampersand and followed by a semicolon. For example, to show a left-pointing arrow in your text, enter ← and you’ll get this: ←
The list at the bottom of this page shows some of the more popular special characters, along with their corresponding HTML entity names. The complete list of entity names for HTML can be found at HTML 4 Entity Names, which also shows numerical alternatives for the names.
Since this database runs on a Microsoft server, you can also use Microsoft Windows special and foreign language characters in your text. If it displays correctly on your Microsoft-based computer application, it should arrive at the database correctly. If it arrives at the database correctly, then it will display correctly on anyone’s browser, regardless of operating system. So when typing directly into this database’s forms using a Windows-based browser, feel free to use the Alt-key-numeric-pad method for special characters in place of HTML entity name. And feel equally free to copy and paste from other programs and browser pages. If it looks correct on your screen as you enter it onto one of our forms, it should copy correctly into the database.
|To show this
|Windows Only: Hold down the Alt key while entering this sequence of digits on the numeric keypad||or||Type in this sequence exactly as shown|
|’||(also used for apostrophe) 0146||’|
|Θπλ||The upper- and lower-case Greek alphabet is also available. Spell out the name of the letter between the ampersand and the semicolon. Capitalize the first letter of the name for upper-case. Sample to the left: Θπλ|
Don't worry about “f” ligatures. This website instructs modern browsers to use them automatically when the selected font has the capability.