VERY Ltd. ® n-Cyclop™

The most natural representation form of information in reference books is hyper-text, i.e. a text with the built-in system of cross-references. As the most important quality criterion of the program implementing hyper-text should be recognized the convenience of the navigation - the complex of access methods to certain parts of text from contents, from index, by bookmark, by link, by search, etc.

We know dozens of programs for computer dictionaries and encyclopedias for Windows. Usually they are distributed together with their precompiled texts; however, some of them (for example, Lingvo or Babylon) even include means for creating custom users dictionaries.
The main disadvantage of all these programs is their non-universality apparent in such limitations as:

  • unjustified severe requirements to the language of localized version of operating system,
  • limitations of the character set permitted,
  • no entries order control,
  • limitation of the stored/embedded data formats (e.g. graphics),
  • absence of external references as means of text extension,
  • impossibility of use as a Help,
  • impossibility of adding custom dictionaries,
  • no possibility to see an entry among the surrounding ones (characteristic especially for "on-line" editions)
  • etc.

    Our company has developed n-Cyclop - a program for automated generation of hyper-text encyclopedias, dictionaries and other reference books in CHM format (Compiled HTML, built using the Microsoft HTML Help system). "HTML Help files are displayed in a browser-like window, not in the full version of Internet Explorer with all its toolbars, favorites lists, and icons visible to the end user, but in a three-paned help window. The top pane contains the toolbar, the left pane contains the navigation methods, and the right pane displays the topic—with all the functionality of the browser intact. Anything you can display in Internet Explorer can also be displayed in HTML Help." (Microsoft Corporation Documentation).

    This approach to the reference books generation has a number of the undoubted merits:

  • such edition is based on direct use of Windows virtual machine and so its operating speed increases of its own accord as operating system improves;
  • it is independent of localized Windows language (since HTML has the means to specify the character set and language to be used);
  • it can include multimedia elements of different formats;
  • hyper-text links of all known types is easily implemented in such edition;
  • it has fully developed system of search and navigation;
  • finally, such edition is prepared to be used as a Help (for example, "Physical Encyclopaedic Dictionary" can serve as Help while reading scientific texts on physics; of course, the program were you are reading the text, must have the capability of connection to external Help files).
  • From the information theory point of view, one of the most important indicators of hyper-text implementation quality is the number of independent navigation systems available. In a hyper-text edition generated by the n-Cyclop, they are the following:

  • Table of Contents
  • The table of contents is an expandable list of everything that is available in the book body.
  • Keyword Index
  • A list of index entries. Similar to the index in a printed book, topics are often indexed under more than one entry.
  • Search
  • You can narrow your search by limiting it to a part of a collection or by defining subsets of topics that you specify.
  • Search Previous Result
  •  - search inside the previously found items;
  • Match Similar Words
  •  - locate every occurrence of a word or phrase similar to specified;
  • Search titles only
  •  - search inside the titles of items included in Contents.
  • Favorites
  • You can easily mark favorite topics and return to them.
  • Back/Forward
  • To return to the last page you viewed, click the Back button. To view a page you viewed before clicking the Back button, click the Forward button.
  • Next/Previous
  • You can use these buttons to jump to subsequent or preceding entry or chapter, depending on current hierarchy level.
  • Find
  • You can locate word, phrase or part of word on the current page.
  • Find Down/Up
  • Using these buttons you can also search a word on the current page without the dialog box; the search of the selected text will be performed after one of these buttons was pressed.
  • Locate in body
  • When viewing a single entry, you can switch to context mode, i.e. see it with preceding and subsequent entries, exactly as you do it in a paper book.
  • Search similar words in index
  • Using this button you can easily check if currently selected word (or similar to the selected one) exists in the Index of your reference book.

    The n-Cyclop allows to compile a reference book in two different modifications:

  • for Windows 2000/XP or localized versions of Windows 9x/ME, i.e. when the book language encoding is equal to encoding of the OS default language (e.g., Yiddish-English Dictionary for Windows'98 Hebrew Enabled or Ukrainian-Bulgarian Dictionary for Windows'98 Russian);
  • for non-localized versions of Windows 9x/ME. This case has less ramified structure of the Contents.
  • Yan can refer to the standard user guide included into each reference generated by the n-Cyclop.

    System Requirements

    To use a reference book prepared by n-Cyclop, end user's computer must meet or exceed the same system requirements as Internet Explorer 5.5 requires, that is to say:

  • A 486 with a 66 MHz processor (Pentium processor recommended)
  • For Windows 95/98: 16 MB of RAM minimum
  • For Windows NT 4.0: 32 MB of RAM minimum, and user must be running Service Pack 3 or later
  • For Windows 2000: 64 MB of RAM minimum
  • For Windows Me: 32 MB of RAM minimum
  • In addition the Internet Explorer ver. 5.5 or higher has to be installed on user's computer.

    Samples of References