Getting Started With ContextUS
What is ContextUS?
ContextUS is a free, living library of American texts. The texts in our library are fully searchable, categorized by topic, and related sections of text are interlinked, making it easy for users to move from one source to another.
ContextUS’s Sheet Builder allows registered users to create content that includes texts from the ContextUS library, outside texts, comments, and media. Sheet authors have the opportunity to share their work with the ContextUS community by making them public – adding the Sheet to the library.
This Sheet and others in the Help Group will help you get the most out of the features ContextUS has to offer. If you have additional questions, please feel free to write to us anytime at [email protected].
What is a ContextUS account and why do I want one?
A free ContextUS account allows you full access to everything that ContextUS has to offer.
While you don't need an account to access ContextUS's library, logging into ContextUS allows you to personalize your learning experience. When you are logged in, you can save texts, and view your reading history. You can also take notes alongside the text, create Sheets, and curate collections for sharing content.
How do I sign up for a ContextUS account?
Signing up for a free ContextUS account is quick and easy.
1. Click "Sign Up" on the homepage.
2. Enter an e-mail address and create a password. Check the box if you wish to receive the educator newsletter.
How do I Navigate through ContextUS from the header toolbar?
Each of the items on the header will be explained below.
Texts - 1
Clicking on "Texts" in the header will lead you to the ContextUS library.
  • Read descriptions of each text.
  • Navigate to any text in the library
Go to Finding Texts for complete instructions for navigating the ContextUS library.
  • Follow a learning schedule (formerly "Calendars").
Topics - 2
Explore the ContextUS library by topic. Choose from thousands of topics and begin a journey of discovery. Click on "All Topics A-Z" for a complete listing of ContextUS topics. See what others are studying by clicking on a topic in "Trending Topics".
Go to Topics Tutorial for a complete discussion of Topics on ContextUS.
Community - 3
Connect with the ContextUS community on the "Community" page. See what's new at ContextUS, create your own sheet, and browse collections.
A - Today on ContextUS
B - Recently Published - A list of newly published sheets. The list is constantly updating.
C - Join the Conversation - Click on "Make a Sheet" to start a new ContextUS sheet. (Need help? Learn how to make and format sheets.)
D - Who to Follow - A suggested list of ContextUS learners who have created sheets that you might enjoy. Click on their name and select "Follow". You will be notified whenever they publish a new sheet.
E - Collections - Explore curated sheets created by an organization or individual on a variety of topics.
Donate - 4
ContextUS is a 501(c)(3) organization that relies on user donations to maintain and grow the library.
Click on "Donate" for all of the information that you need to support ContextUS's mission.
Search - 5
Type the name of a text, author, or topic into the search bar.
Bookmark - 6
Save your place by clicking on the bookmark icon. Please note that you must be logged into your ContextUS account to use the bookmark feature. (Don’t have a ContextUS account? Create an account now!)
Clicking on the bookmark with the resource panel closed will save the text at the chapter level.
Clicking on the bookmark with the resource panel open will save the text at the segment level.
Click on the bookmark icon in the header to see all of your saved texts.
Notifications - 7
Keep up with updates to the ContextUS library by clicking on the notification icon.
New texts and newly published sheets by authors that you follow appear in the notification list.
Profile - 8
Open your profile page, start a new sheet, choose your account settings, open the Help Center, and log out of your account via the profile dropdown menu.
The Help Center is a collection of sheets which explain ContextUS's many features.
What information can I find at the bottom of the page?
From the footer, you can navigate to many important places on the site. Want to learn about the ContextUS team? Interested in teaching with ContextUS? Need information about the ContextUS API? It's all there, and more, in the footer.