A dynamic table of contents for an electronic book can provide the reader with additional opportunities for action (affordances) that are not provided by print. We have therefore been re-conceptualizing the table of contents as a new kind of tool for online use, in association with XMLencoded literary material.
We call this new tool the “table of contexts.” In our prototypes for the dynamic table of contexts, the reader is provided with a digital table of contents that shows the chapters and section headings that would appear in a printed form. However, we combine this prospect view with a set of tools that allow the reader to add or subtract what are essentially index items in and out of the table of contents. Every line in this dynamic form of table serves as a link into the document. The additional items are derived from the XML encoding, and consist of the tag name (like for the genre of a text being discussed within Orlando or for a speech within a play), combined with the initial words of paragraphs that contain material marked with that tag.
- excerpt from Ruecker, Stan, Susan Brown, Milena Radzikowska, Stéfan Sinclair, Thomas M. Nelson, Patricia Clements, Isobel Grundy, Sharon Balasz, and Jeff Antoniuk. “The Table of Contexts: A Dynamic Browsing Tool for Digitally Encoded Texts.” In The Charm of a List: From the Sumerians to Computerised Data Processing. Ed. Lucie Dolezalova. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009. pp. 177-187.