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===Understanding internal links===
===Understanding internal links===
===Understanding external links===
===Understanding external links===
The conversion of the Minnesota Stormwater Manual into a web-based application will create a new learning curve for users of the Manual. In addition to the web-based format versus the traditional hardcopy and pdf formats, the contents of the manual have been re-arranged. This guidance provides Manual users information on why we went to a web-based format, why the content was re-arranged, what the formatting style is, and most importantly, how to navigate the website.
We live in an electronic world. There are now more mobile devices than people in the United States, and more than half of these devices have Internet access. People not only want electronic access, they want to find a topic quickly. This requires powerful search capability and advanced use of links. Although many users may wish to print out portions of the Manual, printing options are excellent and can satisfy most user's needs.
Much of the material produced for this website was delivered in traditional formats such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and PDF. In most cases, we include links to the original documents. Users should note these original documents contain the material included within the website but have undrgone modification for incorporation into the website. For example, we may receive a Word document containing information that is split and placed into different parts of the website. The attachments and content within the website therefore do not precisely match.
A wiki was specifically chosen for the following reasons:
It was determined that the content of the Manual should be reorganized. There were three primary areas of reorganization.
This flow of information was followed in building the Stormwater Manual Table of Contents.
The Wikipedia Manual of Style guide was adapted for this website. It provides information on formatting guidelines.
The Wikipedia Accessibility Manual of Style guide was adapted for this website. It provides information on formatting guidelines for ADA (American Disabilities Act) compliance.
Most of the material in the 2008 Manual was migrated to the wiki. We have developed a Guide for finding old manual content to help you determine where the old material now resides.
This section provides basic information to allow the user to navigate the website.
In reading this guidance, it may be important to understand certain terminology. This is summarized below.
There are certain features common to all webpages within this website. These features are identified below and discussed in greater detail in other parts of this guidance. Links are provided to take you to specific discussions and examples for some of the features. The following featuress are found on every page in the website.
The Main page is the equivalent of the Stormwater Manual home page. In addition to the information and functions found on every page it contains the following:
The left sidebar contains much of the functionality for the user. It includes links, help, printing and exporting functions, citing functions, and more. These are explained in greater detail below.
The left sidebar on the website provides many potentially useful functions for the user. Each of the items in the sidebar are explained below.
This link takes you to the Main Page. This is the "Home page" for the Stormwater Manual. From here you can link to the Table of Contents or find some general information about the website, including access to guidance on using the website, Acknowledgements, a summary of recent important updates, and feedback.
This link takes you to the Table of Contents for the Manual. From here you can cursor down to the section of the Manual you want to view or use the Page Contents in the upper right part of the screen to display the contents of the page, from where you select the section you want to view.
The wiki allows different subjects to be placed into different categories. This allows a user to view just the topics within a particular category. For example, Fact sheets could be a category that includes all the fact sheets contained within the website. A user could click on category and open the page with all categories. The user would then select the category called Fact sheets to display links to the different fact sheets within the website. The number of categories will continue to grow as the website becomes populated and organized.
The link takes you to a short list of events. NOTE THE MPCA DOES NOT ENDORSE SPECIFIC EVENTS. Only events in which the MPCA participates are listed.
The wiki stores all previous versions of the website. Any change results in the previous version being stored. Users can therefore view any previous version of the website. This page does not specify changes that were made. However, the user can choose specific dates when previous versions existed.
The Help page contains two basic groups of information. First is a link to this guidance document, which provides help on a variety of topics. The second category of information is for editors of the wiki. Examples include links to math and formatting instructions.
The Toolbox contains links to pages that primarily used by the editors of the website. These are not explained in this guidance. However, What links here may have utility for some users. This page provides a summary of and links to other pages that have links within the page that you are on.
Links are provided to the MPCA homepage, MPCA's stormwater main page, and a webpage containing MPCA policies and disclaimers.
This section of the sidebar allows the user to print, export, and build their own documents.
Users can combine webpages (e.g. articles) using this utility. For example, if a user wanted to combine all the sections that provide information on credits for individual BMPs, this can be done by creating a book containing these webpages. The pages can be ordered in any manner. The user can save the book or create a PDF document containing the selected webpages.
Users can export the page they are currently on as a PDF document.
Clicking on this link takes the user to a version of the webpage that does not contain the headers, footers and toolbars found on any given page in the website. The view observed on the screen will be what the user obtains when they print from this page.
Each webpage within the website is essentially an article. The Manual is therefore a collection of articles, each with its own webpage. Articles usually contain multiple sub-sections. We attempted to keep articles at a reasonable length, dividing a topic into multiple articles when the length for a single article became too long.
You can access the Stormwater Manual Table of Contents from the home page. There is a link at the top of the home page. The Table of Contents is divided into the following chapters:
Each of these chapters has two or more sub-sections.
Clicking on a topic link from the Table of Contents may take you directly to an article or to another table of contents. For example, most of the BMPs discussed in the chapter Best Management Practices have multiple articles. We have attempted to minimze the number of clicks needed to get to an article while not making the articles excessive in length.
A search box and magnifying glass is found in the upper right portion of each page. This may be used to search within the website. Single or multiple word searches can be conducted. Typing a particular word or phrases produces a number of links to the item of interest. These are ordered first by webpages that are related to the search item and then by content within webpages that is related to the item of interest. For example, typing permeable pavement design criteria results in the screen shot shown to the right. The first link takes you directly to a webpage (article) addressing design criteria for permeable pavement. The remaining links take you to places within the website where one or more of the terms used in the search are found. TRhe search engine used to power these searches is similar to search engines used on modern browsers.
An internal link is a hyperlink that is a reference or navigation element in an article to another section of the same article or to another article that may be on or part of the Minnesota stormwater Manuel. In articles like this one, the words highlighted in blue are examples of internal links.
Links are considered either "external" or "internal" depending on perspective. Generally, a link to a page outside the Minnesota Stormwater Manual is considered external, whereas one to a location in the Minnesota Stormwater Manual is considered internal. Although this can be a matter of semantics for some sites that are internal to the MPCA websites but external to the Stormwater Manual itself.