I’ve just introduced two new features that should improve navigability and access to the Via Negativa archives: an Advanced Search function (see sidebar, under “Search Via Negativa”) and a Table of Contents (see top of page). I can’t take credit for either of these innovations: both employ free, open-source software plugins, and as usual I needed my cousin Matt’s assistance to get them up and running.
Advanced Search allows boolean operations, searching by category, searching of comments, and other nifty features (see the plugin page). Let me know if you have any problems with it.
The Table of Contents page is exactly what it sounds like: a complete, clickable list of blog post titles arranged in reverse chronological order. It uses software developer and photographer Justin Blanton’s Smart Archives plugin. I did this as much for my own convenience as for anyone else’s — I can barely remember what I wrote last week, let alone last year. I’m beginning to think more seriously about pulling some material together for a book, and this new navigation tool should help me find it. But I hope it will also encourage visitors to settle in and browse. I want Via Negativa to become a total time-sink experience for everyone who stops by.
To make room for the TOC link at the top of the page, I’ve moved the blogroll link into the sidebar, under “Other Places.” The credits are linked in the footer as well as at the bottom of the sidebar (as Acknowledgements). I’ll probably make more changes in the days or weeks ahead (I really like Blanton’s idea of a website tour, for example). The challenge, as always, is to engage new visitors while also serving long-time readers. Please let me know if you have any ideas or suggestions. And thanks for reading.