Link back from suttas to details and parent?

When viewing a sutta, e.g. here: it would be useful to be able to use the menu to go to:

  1. The Details page:
  2. The SN46 page: (preferably with 46.55 in the middle of that page, but that’s at the “icing” level).
    Currently the menu allows you to go to the previous or next sutta. This navigation would probably fit in well in that area.

You can already go to the Details Page from the sidebar: Click on “Textual Details”!

As for going up to /sn46, this is what we call the “subdivison” view, and it would also apply to the “division” view (eg /mn). This is something we are working on a little bit in the background, as part of a larger enhancement.

Basically in SC we start with the Sutta and build up from there, whereas in most Tipitaka sites you start from the Collection and drill down to the sutta. Our approach stems from the fact that we begin with parallels, which are detailed at the sutta level. This becomes, incidentally, the more historically archaic approach, since the sutta existed before the collection.

So to navigate to suttas we built a way of organizing texts, but this was built with an emphasis on ease of navigation, rather than literally replicating the structure of the canons. This is why, for example, to get to the list of MN sutta, you go “Sutta-Pitaka > MN > sutta” , and you don’t have to navigate Tipitaka > Sutta-Pitaka > MN > Pannasa > Vagga > sutta. It’s also why we don’t represent the path to a sutta in our URLs, thus keeping them very clean and simple.

The weakness, though, is that we don’t full represent the traditional means of referencing texts. Typically in the Pali commentaries and Theravada tradition generally, they reference, say, a Majjhima Sutta by pannasa, vagga, and sutta. That makes sense if you’re using a printed edition. You pick the appropriate pannasa off the shelf (usually one pannasa=one volume), then open to the right chapter (vagga), and leaf through until you find the sutta. Similarly in the Chinese tradition, they often reference texts by juan (folio), although more recently it’s vol/page number of the Taisho edition.

On the web we can just go straight to the sutta, so we don’t need all that. It is, however, useful for certain purposes, especially when searching for references. So we should represent those structures better than we do currently.

Our plan is to create a master hierarchy for all the texts, using JSON. When that is ready, it will be a simple matter to use it to create hierarchical navigation for all texts, to complement the current system.

We’re not sure how to implement that; maybe by having an optional breadcrumb system, something like that. But it is something we will get around to one day in the not too distant future!

Hmm, of course you’re absolutely correct.

I’m pleased to see the thought being put into navigation. It is, indeed, a tricky problem. I guess part of the problem is solved by good search tools.

There is also a matter of familiarity. I often go over to Access to Insight to look for a sutta because I know the layout and I can more easily recognise the English titles than the Pali. With more familiarity it will be easier to find things.
Actually, I have the same Pali/English problem with the electronic versions of the Wisdom books. The MN, for example, displays the contents only in Pali and I have to click though to the body to find the English.

Hmm, now I’m rambling, but I figure that impressions about these things are useful to know about (not necessarily to act on).

We’re also looking at titles and navigation in translation. It’s not a small problem since we have 30 something languages. But in time it will appear.

OK, that will be very cool…