VuFind Version 5.0 Released

by Jonathan Jacobsen Monday, July 16, 2018 5:37 PM

Version 5.0 of VuFind, the popular open-source discovery interface, was released today, a year after the last major release (4.0). 

This version improves the software’s compatibility with recent language and operating system releases and adds several significant new features.

Some key additions:

  • New features to improve compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), including optional user-initiated account removal and support for encrypted session data.
  • Significant improvements to the "Channels" interface for serendipitous resource discovery, including a streamlined user interface and several new channel providers (such as "new items" and "trending items").
  • Improved support for rendering geographic data.
  • PHP 7.2 compatibility.
  • Optional user access to their own account history.
  • Upgrades to the latest Solr, SolrMarc and Zend Framework component versions.

Additionally, several bug fixes, new configuration options, performance enhancements and minor improvements have been incorporated.

Although VuFind was largely developed by and for academic libraries, we've found applications for it in other organizations, including smaller specialized libraries. Our blog has details of selected projects. In general, we recommend VuFind for organizations with purely bibliographic records and little or no need for customization, a custom graphic design, integration of other features or content, etc. For organizations with those requirements, our Andornot Discovery Interface (AnDI) is a perfect choice.

In comparison to the release schedule for VuFind Andornot’s own Andornot Discovery Interface, which shares the same Apache Solr search engine as VuFind, is continuously upgraded with each project we use it for. Earlier sites built from AnDI can be upgraded as needed, and we’ve begin doing so upon request by clients. Upgrades include any new features and bug fixes added or made to AnDI since the initial build of the site, plus upgrades to key components, such as Solr, .Net versions, Javascript libraries, and more.

Contact us to learn more about VuFind or AnDI and how either might offer your users an improved search experience for your collections and resources.

Tags: VuFind

Andornot's July 2018 Newsletter Available: News, Tips and Tricks for Libraries, Archives and Museums

by Jonathan Jacobsen Wednesday, July 04, 2018 9:08 PM

Tags: newsletters

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.

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.

Automated Sitemap Generator Added to Andornot Discovery Interface

by Jonathan Jacobsen Friday, June 08, 2018 11:36 AM

Andornot believes strongly that it’s not enough for an archive or museum to simply have a fascinating collection and excellent software for managing it and making it publicly accessible. Drawing the public to these resources is equally important, something larger museums and some archives do well of course. For smaller organizations, that means the curator or archivist has to put on a marketing hat from time to time. However, this need not be a painful experience.

For example, a couple of months ago we wrote a blog post about using Wikipedia as a means of increasing the exposure of your organizations and your collections. This can be a quick, easy and fun afternoon task.

And today we're announcing a new feature in our Andornot Discovery Interface (AnDI) to also help attract the public: an automatic site map generator.

A site map is an XML file placed within your website, listing all available pages or resources, to help search engines such as Google and Bing index as much of your content as possible. While search engines will crawl links they find, such as on your home page, to help them discover records, this site map file can be provided to guide them to the full set.

e.g.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9">
<url><loc>http://search.yoursite.org/Permalink/descriptions281616</loc><changefreq>weekly</changefreq></url>
<url><loc>http://search.yoursite.org/Permalink/descriptions281617</loc><changefreq>weekly</changefreq></url>
<url><loc>http://search.yoursite.org/Permalink/descriptions281618</loc><changefreq>weekly</changefreq></url>
<url><loc>http://search.yoursite.org/Permalink/descriptions281619</loc><changefreq>weekly</changefreq></url>
<url><loc>http://search.yoursite.org/Permalink/descriptions281620</loc><changefreq>weekly</changefreq></url>

 

Within AnDI, the sitemap lists all available records that can be found in the search engine, using the permalink URL.

This file is not seen by the public and has no impact on the site, but will be used by Google and others to index more of the records in an AnDI site. And thus, when people search by keyword in Google for records that happen to be in that collection, especially ones with unique names, places and words, these records are more likely to appear in their Google search results, drawing more traffic to the site.

This feature has been rolled out to all the clients who participate in our Managed Hosting service, and is available to our other AnDI clients (just send us an email to request it).

There are many ways to spread the word online about your collections and resources, some requiring very little effort. Stay tuned to our blog and newsletter for more!

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