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Doonesbury Navigator

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Using The "Find A Strip" Function

Applying Constraints

Click the Find A Strip link on the menu to the right to reveal sub-items for the various constraints (such as Date Constraints) that may be placed on strip content and properties.

Click any of these sub-items to reveal a form you can modify and submit to add or change those constraints. When any constraints are active, the matching strips will then appear in this space, each with its own summary (when available), lists of associated characters and locations, and the day of the week on which it was published. Any forms associated with the active constraints will default to open in the menu.

Constraint Persistence & Multiple Constraints

Since each set of active constraints is saved to the database along with any relevant settings, they persist indefinitely and may be bookmarked for later use or shared with other individuals. Even if they are not immediately visible, the constraints as most recently submitted can always be accessed by expanding the Find A Strip category on the menu... provided you have not closed your browser or otherwise ended your session in the interim.

Thus, you may have multiple constraints active at one time simply by submitting each in turn.

Selecting Mike Doonesbury as a character constraint, submitting the form, then selecting B.D. Dowling as a character constraint and submitting the form again will confine the search to strips in which both characters appear... and/or are mentioned or referenced, as governed by the Return form field.

Selecting Mark Slackmeyer as a character constraint, submitting the form, then selecting Washington, D.C. as a location constraint and submitting that form will confine the search to strips associated with the character (as in the previous example) that are also associated with that location.

Each Apply These Constraints button submits data only from its own form. Clicking the button associated with the character constraints form, for example, will not apply any changes made to date or location constraints since the page was loaded.

Removing and Resetting Constraints

If the active constraints match no strips, click your browser's "back" button to return to the previous constraints (if applicable), or try loosening them by removing character, location, and day-of-the-week requirements or increasing the date range.

To immediately remove all constraints and start over, simply submit the form located in the Remove All Constraints sub-item.

Example

One of the most controversial early Doonesbury strips was a Sunday strip in which Zonker Harris is tasked with telling a story to one of the children at the Day Care Center in Walden, where Joanie Caucus worked after she left her husband Clinton and joined Walden Commune, but before she left the commune to study law at UC Berkeley. Zonker proceeds to tell the boy a meandering parable in which the protagonist is eventually rewarded with a substantial quantity of a specific illegal substance. Joanie, who had been listening to the previously innocuous tale, protests when she hears the drug named.

Given only the information revealed above, this utility can pinpoint the date this strip was published:

When I wrote this example, the navigator comprised data for strips published between Oct 26, 1970 and Nov 16, 1980. If the dataset has since expanded, identical results can still be achieved by first setting the Published Between constraint to those values using the Date Constraints form.

The unwinnowed dataset comprises 3,619 unique strips.

Specifying as a Date Constraint that only strips published on a Sunday are needed will return a result set of 497 strips.

Adding the fictional character Zonker Harris as a Character Constraint, with the Return field set to Appearances & Speaking Roles, signifying that the search must ignore any strips in which Zonker does not appear and/or speak, will narrow the result set to 102 strips.

Adding the fictional character Joanie Caucus as a second Character Constraint, with the Return field set as above, will narrow the result set to only 7 strips.

Setting the Day Care Center as the Location Constraint (whether by searching for it by name, navigating one step from the common location Walden, or navigating through Earth from the top of the location hierarchy), with the Return field set to Uses as Setting, will narrow the result set to only one strip, published Nov 12, 1972, which is of course the one we seek.

Find A Strip Settings

Some of the behavior explained above relies on project settings the user may elect to change.

Choose Dates By Storyline
By default, the Find A Strip function facilitates selection of a date range in the Date Constraints form using exact dates. Some users, however, may retain some impression of the general flow of the strip's storyline (that Duke's governorship of American Samoa preceded his diplomatic posting to China, for example), but little of exactly when these events happened. This setting lets the user browse for or search storyline names as an alternative to selecting exact dates.

Use Setting Inheritance
By default, the assignment of a location as the setting of a strip (rather than as a mention or reference) is inherited by the full hierarchy of the location. A strip set in Madison Square Garden, for example, is also considered to be set in the borough of Manhattan, the city of New York, the state of New York, the United States, and, of course, Earth. Setting this to No removes these inherited assignments, so that a search for strips set on Earth will return only those for which no more exact setting is specified.

Include Subsequent Publications
By default, republications of strips that have already been published are excluded from search results. Setting this to Yes will include these duplicate strips in the search results.


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