Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is it safe to download the DjVu plug-in?
A. YES! The DjVu plug-in has never been known to harm anyone's computer. Some Internet Explorer users have been worried by a message that pops up when they try to download warning them that the software they are about to download might cause harm. This rather extravagant statement of the obvious - that one should exercise reasonable caution when downloading any software - appears whenever an executable file of any sort is called by the browser unless the warning feature has been disabled. It should not cause undo alarm.
Q. Can I try out the Dictionary without downloading the DjVu plug-in?
A. Yes. We have provided a JPEG equivalent interface for all "Find Entry" page lookups and all "Full Text" searches. The results page has two links for each result, the DjVu link and a "(JPEG)" link. If you click on the JPEG link, a JPEG version of the page will be created on the fly from the original DjVu page, and a small navigation frame will be created at the bottom of the browser window allowing you to browse through The Century Dictionary in a manner similar to the way you can browse with the actual plug-in.
    The JPEG interface is limited, however. It allows only three "zooms" and the files, of course, are considerably larger than the equivalent DjVu files and take longer to download and display. Because JPEG does not support text chunks, these files are also not internally searchable the way the DjVu files are. We recommend using the JPEG equivalent only if you cannot download the plug-in for some reason. The DjVu experience is much more rewarding than any other page image experience.
    There is now also a Java applet viewer that allows you to view the pages with full DjVu functionality without the plug-in. If you have the Java runtime environment, simply click the "(Java)" link. Note: the initial download, which must fetch not only the page but the applet itself, is slower than subsequent downloads. On certain Windows machines that do not have the Sun JRE as the default runtime enviroment for Internet Explorer, IE may crash. Firefox and other Mozilla based browsers should be able to run the applet.
Q. What's the difference between "Find Entry" and "Dictionary Search"?
A. The "Find Entry" form, always visible in the menu frame on the left, searches a special index of page headings and finds the page where an entry ought to be if it is actually in the dictionary or cyclopedia. This is meant to mimic the way people have traditionally and intuitively looked up words in paper dictionaries. You can find pages in all volumes or a particular alphabetical range (e.g., the dictionary only or cyclopedia only). The Find Entry form now has a "Thesaurus View" option that allows you to begin by searching a thesaurus which generates sets of links to The Century Dictionary. For more information see the Find Entry Help Page.
    The "Dictionary Search" button leads to a page with a form allowing fast, full-text searches of the underlying ASCII text of the dictionary. You can use this form to find, for instance, all the pages where "Milton" is quoted, or pages that include a certain definition string as a means of reverse definition. The "Dictionary Search" form is generally preferable to the plug-in's internal "Find" function for searching rapidly through the full text of the dictionary. For more information see the Full Text Search Help Page.
Q. Can I adjust the size of the Century Dictionary page?
A. Yes. The default "zoom" of the page is "fit width," which may vary depending on the size of your browser window, but the DjVu plug-in allows you to enlarge or zoom pages up to 1200% and reduce them as small as 5% of their original size. If the page grows too large to fit in the browser window, you can "pan" it using the hand icon to move around quickly from section to section.
Q. How can I make the Century Dictionary text appear larger?
A. There are several ways to increase the size of the text. One is to "zoom" the page using the + icon on the plug-in toolbar or one of the keyboard shortcuts: "+" (enlarge one step), "1" (100%), "2" (200%), or "3" (300%). The default zoom is set to "fit width," which sizes the page so that it does not have horizontal scroll-bars. Another easy way to increase the size of the text is to maximize the browser window, which increases the default size. Yet another way is to minimize the side menu frame, allowing the DjVu image to take over the whole width of the browser window. You can also do this sometimes by opening a DjVu link in a new window, which will give it the full browser width and thus a greater default size. Finally, there is the plug-in "magnifying glass," which you trigger by holding down the Control Key, and which magnifies the section under the cursor.
Q. Can I enlarge just one section of the Century Dictionary text?
A. Yes. If you hold down the Control Key, a magnified section appears under the cursor. If you continue to hold down the Control Key, you can move the magnified section around on the page, giving the effect of a magnifying glass. You can adjust the size of the magnified section and the degree of magnification by pressing the right mouse button and selecting the plug-in "preferences" dialog box. (On a Macintosh you do this by pressing the mouse button while holding down the Control key.)
Q. Can I print Century Dictionary pages?
A. Yes. The DjVu plug-in has a powerful print option (selected by the printer icon on the plug-in toolbar) which allows you to print any, or even all the pages of the Century Dictionary exactly as they appeared in the original print edition. Print options vary somewhat from platform to platform, but generally include an option to "reduce to fit," whuch prints a page on 8 1/2 by 11 paper very much like the print edition pages as well as options to print at the current "zoom" level.
Q. Can I see my search term highlighted on the Century Dictionary page?
A. We now have an option to highlight full-text search terms on the DjVu page. To view a page with highlighted search terms, choose the "(DjVu Highlighted)" link on the results page. The search terms will appear highlighted in green. A "page-turner" similar the one used in the JPEG interface allows you to navigate from these specially-filtered pages throughout the dictionary. Of course, you can also use the DjVu plug-in "Find" feature to pick out and highlight the search term on any given page, or indeed throughout the dictionary, though we recommend using the faster external index to find different pages containing a search term. Simply click the "field glass" icon on the plug-in toolbar or press the keyboad shortcut "f" and it will pop up a search form much like the internal search forms on most browsers. You have a choice of finding your term as a "word" or a "string," and of restricting your search to the current page or the whole document (remember that each Century volume is about 880 pages, so to search the "whole document" could mean downloading 880 pages...). Some people find it more efficient to run their find on text that has been zoomed to a larger size. The plug-in will automatically pan to the appropriate section of the page.
Q. How come the plug-in Find does not find a word that I see on the page?
A. The full ASCII text is based on the OCR output from the page images, and, while it is very good OCR, it is not perfect. A word may have a damaged letter which has thrown off the optical character recognition. This affects the Dictionary Search as well, though not the Find Entry. You can still try searching for such a word using so-called "regular expressions" or "wildcard" characters, which may allow it to be found in spite of erroneous text. We plan to perfect the underlying text as part of phase II of the project.
Q. Can I save a Century Dictionary page image to a local file?
A. Yes. Simply press the right mouse button over the image and you will be presented with a pull-down menu including options to save the page as DjVu or "export" it as a pbm file. These files can be accessed later off-line, printed, or mailed to friends. (On a Macintosh you do this by pressing the mouse button while holding down the Control key.)
Q. Is it possible to browse page by page through the dictionary?
A. Yes. All the pages in each volume are linked and can be navigated using the DjVu plug-in. The plug-in toolbar has a set of navigation buttons with the following symbols: "|<<" (go back to the first page of the volume), "<<" (go back ten pages), "<" (go back one page), ">" (go ahead one page), ">>" (go ahead ten pages), and ">>|" (go ahead to the last page of the volume). Keyboard shortcuts for navigation include "Home" (first page of the volume), "End" (last page of the volume), "Space" or "Enter" (the next page), and "Backspace" (the previous page). "Page Up" and "Page Down" can be used to navigate within and between pages. There is also a pull-down menu showing the page numbers and allowing you to jump directly to a given page. The "Dictionary A - Z" button in the side menu leads to a thumb index page with direct links to significant pages in each volume of the dictionary.
Q. How do I access and use the World Atlas?
A. You can access the World Atlas by clicking the "Dictionary A - Z" button in the side menu and then selecting the "Volume X" pull-down menu of the Thumb Index. The World Atlas appears as the last item of this menu. The first page of the World Atlas is a Table of Contents listing the various maps. The different maps are hyperlinked in DjVu. If you move the mouse pointer over one of these hyperlinks, a box outlining the hyperlink will appear. Clicking inside the box takes you directly to the page with that map. Note: the maps are complex color documents and thus larger in size than typical pages of the dictionary. They may take longer than usual to download, but will begin to display "progressively" with the black and white foreground first.
Q. How can I obtain a CD version of the dictionary for offline use?
A. We are planning a CD version as soon as possible after the initial phase of the project. At that time, information about obtaining the CD-ROM will be available on the Century Dictionary Online website.
Q. How can I get additional help about the DjVu plug-in?
A. Pressing the right mouse button gives you a pull-down menu that includes a link to a full set of help pages about the plug-in and it's functionality, only a small part of which we are able to cover here. We believe that it is well worth the click. (On a Macintosh you do this by pressing the mouse button while holding down the Control key.) For more information on downloading, installing, and using the DjVu Plug-in, see the Plug-in Help Page.
Q. When I click on a Century Page link, the browser tries to download the file or pick an application rather than displaying the page. Why?
A. You have not installed the DjVu plug-in on your browser. Click on the "get the plug-in" link found near the bottom of the Century Dictionary Online home page. This will take you directly to the LizardTech plug-in download page. Downloading the plug-in takes only a few minutes and it is very easy to install. If you use Windows, the plug-in may be installed automatically for you. For more information on downloading, installing, and using the DjVu Plug-in, see the Plug-in Help Page.
Q. How can I tell if the DjVu plug-in has been installed properly on my browser?
A. Netscape users can see which plug-ins are installed by selecting "About Plug-ins" from the pull-down menu labeled "Help" in the upper right corner of the browser window. You should see the DjVu plug-in listed with the following Mime Types "Enabled": image/djvu, image/x-iw44, image/x.djvu, and image/x-djvu. Occasionally, users with both Netscape and Internet Explorer have had problems getting the plug-in to work with both browsers after autoinstallation. The solution is to choose the manual install, download and run the easy installation wizard, and let it detect and update both browsers. For more information on downloading, installing, and using the DjVu Plug-in, see the Plug-in Help Page.