Volume 15, Number 1, March-June 1999
By Natalia Papitashvili
NSSDC has recently created a new main space physics Web page with a three-panel structure. This structure was chosen in recognition of the three quite different ways persons may want to start their interactions with NSSDC's space physics data and services. Each panel corresponds to one of these three ways, namely, looking for data from or information about a specific spacecraft (Panel A), entering one of NSSDC's several multispacecraft data or information systems (Panel B), or searching for NSSDC's other services like geophysical models and spacecraft trajectory information.
If one starts a session by selecting a spacecraft in Panel A, then the data systems shown in Panel B become limited to those providing access to the data from the chosen spacecraft and Panel C becomes a spacecraft-specific panel providing information and further choices relevant to the chosen spacecraft. On the other hand, if the session is started by choosing a data access system (e.g., OMNIWeb, CDAWeb), then Panel C shows the top page for that system while Panel A continues to show the spacecraft name list. Finally, an initial choice from Panel C brings up in Panel C the chosen service while leaving Panels A and B unchanged.
Multipanel Web pages are more often designed because they seem an advanced approach rather than because the content and intent of the overall page demands it. In this case, however, the triple nature of the independent pathways through which users approach the array of NSSDC's space physics data and services means this multipanel approach greatly benefits the users. The new page can be found at http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/space/, which is the same URL as the predecessor space physics page. Initial reaction to the page has been enthusiastic. NSSDC hopes readers will try the page and provide some feedback.