Tutorial: Anatomy of a Clip
A clip is just a bit of information, followed by citation data, then some navigation items. We keep them in our database at www.defenseassistance.org/clips.
That bit of information can be a few dozen—sometimes up to a few hundred—words of text about a specific topic. Or it can be a public-domain image: clicking on it will open a new tab with the highest resolution we have. Or it can be a brief audio file: click it to play it.
- Near the top of the Clips page, see the box labeled “Data Type,” with three checkboxes under it? Un-click the “Text” and “Image” checkboxes, and the only Clips you now see are audio files, with transcripts. Just like regular Clips, you can narrow them down using the search blank, or the browse box at the left.
- Just to the left is a box labeled “Language,” which can give you only English or Spanish results.
- You may find that some Clips have a light blue background and some have a gray background. Light blue means it came from an official U.S. or foreign government document. It is first-hand information, or a “primary source.” Gray means that a government official is being cited somewhere else, usually in a press article: a “secondary source.” The “Source Type” box at the top lets you choose only one or the other.
- You may find that some Clips have a faint yellow outline. That indicates we found those to be “important” to our work; so far, we’ve judged less than 20 percent of all Clips to meet that standard. In the “Importance” box at the upper right, check the box to see only these yellow-lined Clips. (This, of course, leaves you stuck with our view of what’s “important.”)
- Want to copy-and-paste the page of Clips that you’ve searched for? Look for the sentence “View, or download, this page as plain text” at the top. Click on “view,” and all the Clips appear unformatted, in a plain-text font. Click the “Select Everything” button, copy the selection, and paste it into your word processor, the body of an e-mail, or whatever. Click “View this page in normal format” to return the Clips to their original state.
- Under the body of each clip is the footnote-ready citation data for the source document. If it’s a primary source, you can click on the title and download, usually in PDF format, our copy of the document itself. In this area are handy buttons to select the Clip text and the citation text, should you wish to paste them elsewhere.
- Below the citation are the “browse” categories we’ve assigned to that clip. These are clickable: choosing a category here has the same effect as clicking it in the browse box on the left of the page. If you see the line “Countries: Mexico,” click on “Mexico” and you’ve just selected all Clips involving Mexico (plus whatever other criteria you’ve already chosen), and a rectangle labeled “Mexico” appears on the left side of the page.
- If we got the clip from a government report (as opposed to just a press release or something), the last line of the clip gives you a link to that report in our Reports Library section. Click it to view that report in a new tab.