Accessing and Navigating the Database
CollectiveAccess is a web-based system. That means that the work exists independently of individual computers. The system can be viewed and modified from any computer that is connected to the Internet and runs a modern web browser such as Firefox, Safari or Internet Explorer, so long as the user has a login and a password. It also means that multiple people can work in the database at the same time without worrying about overwriting each other or creating incompatible versions of the collections data.
The dashboard is the first thing you see after logging into the system. This is the “home page” of the database, and can be personalized to your login. You can always come back to it by clicking the logo in the top left corner of the screen. The dashboard has several useful elements:
- The Top Logo: Clicking the logo will always bring you back to the dashboard, no matter where you are in the site.
- The Global Navigation Bar: This bar is always visible throughout the site. It has four sections—New, Find, Manage and History—and is the access point for editing and viewing your records and settings.
- The QuickSearch Form: This search bar allows you to quickly search by keyword. It searches on all of the primary types of records that are enabled in the database: objects, entities, events, works, collections and loans, and any other enabled type. Focused searches and browses, operating on a single record type and providing many more options, can be found under the “find” menu in the global navigation bar.
- Edit Dashboard Button: This button opens the “edit dashboard” menu, which lets you add, edit, move or delete widgets. Widgets are small windows on the dashboard page which allow you to quickly access common or useful information and functionality.
- Main Screen: The main screen displays all of your active widgets.
- Preferences: Allows you to view and edit user preferences.
- Logout: Logs you out of the system. Note that quitting your browser will automatically log you out of the database
Fig. 1 The Dashboard
The global navigation bar is your main tool for interacting with the database. It typically contains four menu clusters—New, Find, Manage and History (though this can vary depending on enabled plug-ins and per user access)—and the quick search bar. Each of the four menu sections expands when the mouse cursor is held over it, revealing more options.
- New: The “new” menu contains options for creating new records.This is where you go to create new entity and object records, works, events, collections and more.
- Find: The options in the “find” menu allow you to interact with items already entered into your database. This is where you go to search, browse and edit items.
- Manage: “Manage” allows you to control the way in which you use the CollectiveAccess system, from user preferences to organizing how information is displayed. These options do not relate directly to your collection, but rather to the administration of your collections database.
- History: Provides a list of recently viewed and edited records.
- QuickSearch: This search bar allows you to quickly search by keyword across all records.
Fig 2. Global Navigation Bar