Snazzy up your DB/TextWorks databases!

by Kathy Bryce Wednesday, July 04, 2018 10:58 AM

DB/TextWorks has been around since the late 1990’s and we sometimes come across clients with databases that were developed almost that long ago!  Two recent projects we are working on involve rationalizing older databases to modern standards.   It’s amazing how old, ugly, inefficient interfaces can be spruced up through the use of one of our kits for libraries, archives and museums.  We use these as a starting point, and after updating field names to be as descriptive as possible, we import our query screens, report and edit forms and adjust these to show the clients fields.  If you have report designs you like, you can do this too!  Under Maintain > Manage Textbase Elements you can import and export forms from one database to another.  We like to color code our databases and it’s possible to open the exported forms in Notepad or other text editor and carefully edit to replace background colors. Archives_Accessions

Inevitably requirements change over the years, so we help clients review how fields are being used, and suggest adding or deleting fields to better handle their needs.  We also make sure to add automatic number and date fields, appropriate validation and substitution lists and work with clients to clean up their data by batch modifying or updating values through the validation lists. After so many years working with DB/TextWorks we have a lot of tricks up our sleeves, and often export data, adjust it in other software and re-import to split or combine fields.

If you need assistance with your databases, please check out some of our past blog posts that provide various suggestions for improvements.  Note that some of these reference older versions of DB/TextWorks so the location of functions may not be identical.

Spring Cleanup series:

Give your databases a new lease on life and contact us for a quote to help you love them again!

New ThinkWood Research Library Launches

by Jonathan Jacobsen Sunday, July 01, 2018 8:42 AM

The ThinkWood Research Library is a central resource for research on designing and building with wood. An enhanced search engine for this collection has just been launched at https://research.thinkwood.com

The library links to research publications from around the world about structural systems composed of mass timber, heavy timber, and light-frame construction (for buildings five stories and up). Research topics include design and systems, connections, mechanical properties, acoustics and vibration, energy performance, fire, seismic, moisture, wind, serviceability, environmental impact, cost and market adoption.

The library is managed by Forestry Innovation Investment Ltd, a provincial crown corporation, who approached Andornot for assistance with improving management and searching of this library.

Andornot recommended and then implemented a system using Inmagic DB/TextWorks as the back-end database and our Andornot Discovery Interface as the public search system. Data was converted and de-duplicated from two sources: MS Access and a WordPress site.

The result works well for both FII staff who catalog new resources and architects and engineers who have an easier means to search for them.

In the back-end DB/TextWorks database, a few features have proven to be particularly useful in this project, including:

  • Validation lists to ensure consistent application of names, keywords, topics, product types, etc.;
  • dead URL Link Checking to find and edit links to resources that move; and
  • batch modification to clean up older data.

While in AnDI, features such as spelling corrections, relevancy-ranked results, and facets to help narrow a search all combine to make for a simple and enjoyable search process. In particular for this project, made use of AnDI's synonyms feature to equate terms with their acronyms and variations, such as:

  • GLT, glulam, glued laminated timber, glue laminated timber
  • CLT, cross laminated timber, xlam, x-lam, cross-lam 

Whenever any term in a comma-separated set of terms is searched, all the others in the set are also searched for, resulting in broader discovery of resources, especially where different terms have been used.

To improve the visual appeal of the site, we took a small screenshot of each resource (PDFs and web pages) and included it as a thumbnail in the search results.

Andornot was delighted at the positive feedback we received, such as:

"Thank you very much for all the hard work and for all of your expertise. The whole team is very happy with the aesthetics and functionalities of the database and website.

-- Antje Wahl, Manager, Industry Innovation, Forestry Innovation Investment Ltd.

"This is very exciting! Overall, this was one of FII's smoothest web refits/redesigns! Well done to all that were involved :-)

  -- Lindsay Bridgman, Manager, IT, Forestry Innovation Investment Ltd.

Contact us to discuss projects to better manage your resources and library collections.

2018 CHLA Conference Rewarding for Andornot Grant Recipient Gayle Graham

by Gayle Graham Wednesday, June 27, 2018 11:31 AM

This year, I was the lucky recipient of Andornot's Professional Development Grant. The Canadian Health Libraries Association (CHLA) conference was being held in St. John's, Newfoundland, which is located in the region where I live. I have never attended their conference before, so I was determined to get there. As a relatively new health sciences librarian, I expected that the experience would instill in me a sense of what's happening in the broader landscape of health sciences libraries beyond my organization and across the country. It did not disappoint.

The opening keynote speech was a fascinating account of Newfoundland history, and how the genetic disorders brought over by the first European settlers still impact the health of the people who live there today. It demonstrated the importance of ongoing medical research and the difference it makes in the lives of so many people. It is so rewarding to know that the work I do supports initiatives like these. I took in many informative sessions on searching and collaborating which were relevant to me. As there were a very limited number of sessions about health sciences library collections and metadata, I see a great opportunity for future conferences to focus on those themes. I am confident that I will apply to present at future conferences on at least one of these topics.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to network with colleagues based in the Maritimes and across Canada, as well as throughout the United States and even Sweden. By chatting with my fellow delegates between sessions and during receptions, I was able to get a much broader view of the current climate of health sciences libraries than I had initially expected. I even reconnected with a friend I met at the Canadian Libraries Association conference in Winnipeg a few years ago when we were both MLIS students. I was not aware that she had also pursued health sciences libraries, so it was quite a surprise to run into her across the country at a completely different conference! 

One of the highlights of my conference experience was meeting Jonathan Jacobsen. For the past 3.5 years, I have been working closely with him to develop, launch, and maintain our library catalogue. After countless e-mail exchanges with him which resulted in the successful completion of a major project, it was particularly satisfying to finally shake his hand and put a face to a name. Similarly, I was pleasantly surprised to find that most of the vendor representatives in attendance were familiar to me. During my short time in the health sciences so far, I have become much more connected within the field than I had realized.

I would like to thank Andornot, for choosing me as the 2018 recipient of their Professional Development Grant. In addition, I extend my thanks to them for their commitment to supporting the professional development of library professionals which is so vital. I would also like to thank Nova Scotia Health Authority for their contribution to my attendance.

Gayle and Jonathan at the CHLA Conference.

Tags: events

Addition of digitized newspapers to the Arnprior Archives’ search interface

by Kathy Bryce Friday, June 22, 2018 8:54 AM

Andornot has recently completed work for the Arnprior & McNab/Braeside Archives to add the newly digitized versions of their newspapers up to 1937 to their searchable collections. The majority of issues are from the Arnprior Chronicle starting in 1885.  We also created a Finding Aid allowing researchers to see what issues are available for each of the 16 newspapers with the ability to browse each individually. 

Funding for this project was provided by the Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society, and will be a wonderful new option for genealogical research as well as providing a window into the coverage of historical events. Individual names can be searched, and search words or parts of words are highlighted on the newspaper pages, as in the screenshot below:

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A search on a general term such as “sawmill” pulls results from several data sources and allows users to easily narrow down their results.

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As well as providing new search capabilities for this important set of documents, this initiative removes the need to consult the now very fragile originals.

The digitization itself was handled by a local vendor and Andornot scripted the OCR’ing to create a searchable layer in the PDF’s.  When funding permits, the aim is to enhance the search option further by matching up the newspaper issues with an index to births, marriages and deaths created by the Archives. 

If you are considering a similar digitization project, or have databases or other material that you would like to make searchable, contact us for a chat to discuss options!

Arctic Health Upgrades Search Engine for Easier Access by Researchers

by Jonathan Jacobsen Monday, June 11, 2018 7:46 AM

Arctic Health, intended for students, researchers, and anyone with an interest in health aspects of the Arctic, is a central source for information on diverse aspects of the Arctic environment and the health of northern peoples. The Arctic Health website provides access to a database of over 280,000 evaluated publications and resources on these topics. To improve access to this collection, a new search engine has just been launched at https://arctichealth.org

Search results in Arctic Health include published and unpublished articles, reports, data, and links to organizations pertinent to Arctic health, as well as out-of-print publications and information from special collections at the University of Alaska. Resources come from hundreds of local, state, national, and international agencies, as well as from professional societies, tribal groups, and universities.

Arctic Health is managed by the Alaska Medical Library at the University of Alaska Anchorage, by Prof. Kathy Murray and a team of staff. Andornot has worked with this group since 2005 and designed several previous search interfaces using Inmagic WebPublisher PRO and dtSearch.

Prof. Murray approached Andornot last year with several updates in mind, such as to ensure the search results are accessible on mobile devices, not just desktops. Rather than simply adjust the existing site, this precipitated a complete review of the current system, including data entry workflow and the actual content to be included, as well as discussions on a more modern search engine.  

As we do with many projects, Andornot began this challenge by separating out the user groups and functions. Library staff need a system to manage and upload records, with features for adding, editing, converting and validating data. Researchers and health care practitioners, on the other hand, need an easy to use, robust system for searching the vast archive of resources. With such a large number of records, a sophisticated search engine is needed to float the most relevant results to the top of any search.

For the back-end, Andornot developed a web application that uses Inmagic DB/TextWorks for data storage, and Inmagic WebPublisher PRO as a middle layer. We were able to update and re-use an XSLT we'd previously developed that UAA uses to import records in XML format from PubMed. This hybrid approach of using existing commercial software and a custom-developed web application provided the features needed by library staff at a more economical cost than a completely custom written system. 

For the public search interface, we used our Andornot Discovery Interface (AnDI). AnDI is a modern search engine based on the popular Apache Solr system, with features such as:

  • Excellent keyword search engine and relevancy-ranked search results.
  • Automatic spelling corrections and “did you mean?” search suggestions.
  • Full text indexing of linked documents.
  • Facets, such as subjects, authors, places, dates, and material types, to allow users to quickly and simply refine their search.
  • A selection list allows users to mark items of interest as they search, then view, print or email the list.

AnDI helps users quickly find relevant materials from the large collection at Arctic Health and is a significant improvement over the previous search options.

Both systems in this solution are hosted by Andornot as part of our Managed Hosting Service.

Check out the new iteration of the Arctic Health resource database at https://arctichealth.org, and contact Andornot for help with your project.

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