How to use record skeletons in Inmagic Genie to save time when cataloguing

by Jonathan Jacobsen Wednesday, August 09, 2017 8:15 AM

Inmagic DB/TextWorks has long had a popular feature called 'record skeletons.' They're a great way to save and add consistency and accuracy to data entry. 

Here's how they work: Suppose you're cataloguing a group of materials that all share some data in common. This could be as simple as books, written in English and published in 2017. Or it could be a series all with the same title, author, publisher, date, subjects, etc. and only the subtitle or volume number changes.

In both of these cases, when filling in a data entry form, you'd be filling in some fields with the same values over and over again.

Why repeat work when there are tools to save time?

The Duplicate Record feature in DB/TextWorks is handy when you have the first record finished and want to duplicate it. But this copies all the fields, and you then need to change or remove fields that are different in the next item you're cataloguing.

This is where 'record skeletons' are useful. A record skeleton is a set of values to populate in select fields in a new record, such as:

Material Type = Book

Language = English

Publication Date = 2017

Long-time DB/Text users are well versed in these features, but what if you manage your library with the Inmagic Genie system?

While record skeletons are not a feature of Genie itself, there's a reasonably easy way to add them, using browser extensions know as 'form fillers'. These tools work just like a record skeleton, storing default values for fields, but within your browser, rather than in Genie itself. So, you might have one profile (a set of fields) for books, another for journals, another for internal corporate reports, etc.

When cataloguing an item in Genie, you pretty much just just click on your form filler extension and choose a profile and the appropriate fields will be filled in. 2 clicks and you're done!

To set up a profile, you can populate the fields you want in the skeleton, then save the profile. You can also, in some cases, access an editor, such as shown below, for fine-grained control.

A form filler could be used in any module in Genie. Orders would be another good place, for example.

Of course, it's most useful if you have many similar items to catalogue. For more unique items, there's no time savings over just cataloguing as per usual, one record and one field at a time.

Depending on the form filler you choose, you may want or need to consolidate all your Catalogue fields into a single tab (the default is 4 tabs: Biblio 1, Biblio 2, Physical and Serials) so that the form filler can populate them all at once. This is easily done by editing the MyEditScreens.config XML file in Genie. 

Since the different profiles you set up are stored in your browser, if you have colleagues who also catalogue, you'd want to export the profile from the form filler and import it into their browser. You might store a master exported profile on your network somewhere so that anyone who needs it can get it. Many of the form filler extensions have export and import ability.

One form filler extension we recommend is Autofill for Chrome (shown above).

Andornot would be happy to help you select, install and configure a form filler extension for your browser and your Genie instance. Just mailto:#mce_temp_url# and we'll tell you more.

How to browse linked fields with the new Link Field Box in DB/TextWorks version 16

by Jonathan Jacobsen Friday, August 04, 2017 10:33 AM

Inmagic DB/TextWorks version 16, released in July 2017, provides you with several great new features for data management. This blog post is one of a series providing details of how to take advantage of these new features.

This blog post is about the new ability to browse Link fields in different ways.

A Link field in a textbase is one which links to another field in another textbase. An example would be a database used to track orders, with a Supplier field. Rather than using a validation list of supplier names to choose from with this field, you might instead link it to a separate Suppliers database, where you can track the supplier's name, address, phone number, email address, website, your account rep and their contact info, your account number, etc. All databases should have a unique number / ID field (e.g. in case you have multiple suppliers with the same or similar names) so you may have a RecordID field in your Suppliers database, as an Automatic Number field, containing unique, sequential numbers.

Previously, when you wanted to put data in a Link field you could only browse the field to which it was linked. In the above example, you would most likely link to the RecordID field in the Suppliers database. So in your Orders database, in the Supplier field, you'd have just the Supplier RecordID (e.g. 12345). This is great for ensuring Order records are linked to the correct Supplier, but hard to use to select the right supplier.

With this new feature in DB/TextWorks version 16, you can keep this link to the Supplier's RecordID field, but browse the Supplier Name field (or any other) to select the right supplier for an order record. This is the best of both worlds: it helps preserve data integrity and follows best practices for relational database design, but allows data entry staff to more easily select the correct records.

In our work with DB/TextWorks, such as in our Andornot Library Kit, we've written javascript and added it to Edit forms to facilitate the above: browsing or searching one field in a linked database, but storing a value from a different field. Now, with this new feature, this is built-in to DB/TextWorks without needing additional scripts.

To use this new feature, follow these simple steps:

1. Bring up an Edit form in the Form Designer in your DB/TextWorks database. Select Add > Form Box > Link Field Box (this is a new entry under Add > Form Box).

2. In the Link Field dialogue, select the field to link to and the field to browse. Be sure to click the Select buttons to record each selection. The image below shows the steps to take in order from 1 to 4.

3. To test the result, create a new record and, with the cursor in the new box on the form, press F3 to browse. In our example, you will be browsing the Supplier Name field, but when you select a supplier, their Record ID will be stored in the Supplier field in the Orders database.

If you need any help with a change like this, please get in touch! We'd be happy to look at this and other changes to your databases that could help you work more efficiently.

How to sort empty values last in DB/TextWorks and WebPublisher PRO search results, with version 16

by Jonathan Jacobsen Thursday, August 03, 2017 7:51 AM

Inmagic DB/TextWorks version 16, released in July 2017, provides you with several great new features for managing data and databases. This blog post is one of a series providing details of how to take advantage of these new features.

This blog post is about the new ability to sort empty fields last in search results.

Suppose you search a bibliographic database and sort the results by publication date, in reverse order, so the most recently published materials appear first. This works very well when every record in the search results has a publication date. However, if a record has no date, as sometimes happens, those "empty" records will appear first in the search results. This tends to be disconcerting to users as it's not often clear why they are first.

This new feature in DB/TextWorks version 16 allows you to sort those records last. This feature can be used in DB/TextWorks and in WebPublisher PRO searches, including in web forms built from our Andornot Starter Kit.

Here's how to apply this sort option to any Report Form in DB/TextWork (a Report Form is typically used to display many records at once, usually in a brief format):

  1. Open your database in DB/TextWorks version 16.
  2. Open a form that has an existing sort order, or one you want to add it to, in the Form Designer with Display > Design Form.
  3. Select Report Options > Compulsory Sort.
  4. Note the new tick box for sorting empty fields last. Select the field you wish to apply this to, add it to the Sort Fields list on the right, and tick the Sort Empties Last option.

If you have a web interface built by Andornot using our Andornot Starter Kit, you can follow the same steps above to apply this to a Web Form. It's most suitable for something like a WebBriefDate form, where results are sorted by Date.

You can also use this new Sort Empties Last feature with reports that have no sort order applied yet, on-the-fly, by searching, then selecting Display > Sort Report and choosing this sort option (step 4 above).

Contact Andornot for help applying this new feature to your databases, or for a free assessment of your databases and suggestions to use them more efficiently or in new ways. We’d be happy to chat with you!

How to sort fields and hide deleted ones when editing a DB/TextWorks version 16 textbase

by Jonathan Jacobsen Wednesday, August 02, 2017 12:05 PM

DBTextWorks version 16, released in July 2017, provides you with several great new features. This blog post is one of a series providing details of how to take advantage of these new features.

This blog post is about the changes to the textbase structure editor.

The Edit Textbase Structure > Edit Fields dialogue has two new features:

  • Sort Field List by – This feature permits you to sort the Field List by Field Name, or by Field Type.
  • Hide <Deleted> Fields – This option permits you to hide the <Deleted> items so they do not clutter up the display.

These small changes are super helpful for textbase designers. They appear in the Edit Textbase Structure > Edit fields dialogue as shown below.

Edit Fields

We usually start our databases with fields in a logical order, either alphabetic or in the case of a library catalogue, following the traditional ISBD / MARC order. But over time, fields may be added, renamed and deleted, making it hard to find one you want to work on. Previously, fields appeared in the order in which they were added in this editor, interspersed with the word Deleted for fields that have been deleted (although the field and its data is gone, an entry such as this remains in the list of fields).

These two new features, along with the larger size of this dialogue from the previous version of DB/TextWorks, makes textbase structure work that much easier. Sorting by name helps you find a known field, while sorting by type helps you work on a group of similar fields at once. Hiding Deleted fields declutters the interface so you can focus on only active fields.

Note that selecting a sort option or hiding deleted fields is a choice you need to make each time you open the field editor. It’s not saved between sessions.

If you decide you want to eliminate the Deleted fields altogether, rather than just hide them, you can recreate your database from scratch and re-import data, forms, etc. It’s not as daunting as it sounds, and Andornot would be happy to help you. This leaves a super clean database in great shape, for you, your current staff, and especially new staff who come on board.

See also our popular series of blog posts on “spring cleaning” for your textbases for more clean-up tips. And contact Andornot for a free assessment of your databases and suggestions to use them more efficiently or in new ways. We’d be happy to chat with you!

Inmagic Releases Version 16 of DB/TextWorks, WebPublisher PRO and DB/Text for SQL

by Jonathan Jacobsen Monday, July 31, 2017 8:39 AM

Inmagic has released version 16 of the very popular and long-standing DB/TextWorks database management system, and the companion WebPublisher PRO web search interface. Several new features, as well as issues fixed from previous releases, continue to make this software great value for our clients.

New features include:

  • Sorting – When specifying sort fields, you now have the option to sort empties last. Before, records where the sort field was empty could only be listed first or omitted. Since this option does not change the perceived number of records in the report, it is also available for the textbase Default Sort Order and for WebPublisher reports.
  • Form Designer – WebPublisher reports can now easily link from a small image on a web page (a thumbnail) to the full size image. The new option is on the HTML tab of the Picture Box Properties dialog box.
  • Adding/Editing Records – When editing a Link field, a new type of box permits you to browse the values in a field other than the Link field, making it easier to select the record you want to link to. For example, you can display the list of Borrower Names, and clicking a name will paste that user’s employee ID into the Link field box.
  • Select All (Ctrl+A) – This keyboard shortcut now behaves as it does in nearly every other product. You can use it to select all the text in a box, all the boxes on a form or screen, all the text in the Command Query window, or all the annotations on an image. In previous releases, Ctrl+A was used for Redo. Redo now uses Ctrl+Y. 
  • Edit Textbase Structure – The Edit Fields dialog box has two new features:
    • Sort Field List by – This feature permits you to sort the Field List by Field Name, or by Field Type.
    • Hide <Deleted> Fields – This option permits you to hide the <Deleted> items so they do not clutter up the display.
    • Note: Both are display-only features to make it easier to find and work with the fields you want to modify. Neither affects the actual field order specified in the structure.

Other issues addressed include:

  • Print Images – If a textbase has multiple Image fields, and you print only the images from a specific field, blank pages are no longer printed for any images specified in the other fields.
  • Report window – Addressed an issue with the records sometimes not being visible past the first page when you held down the mouse scroll wheel then dragged the mouse.
  • Send Report as Mail – Improved the handling of multiple email addresses when using the "Mail to addresses specified in records" feature.
  • Textbase Information – Addressed an issue where longer short date formats caused the year to be truncated in the "Current date" specified at the top of this display.
  • Toolbar icons – The icons for Vertical Tile and Horizontal Tile were backwards in previous releases. This issue has been corrected, and the options have been renamed to "Show Windows Side by Side" and "Show Windows Stacked" to make their behavior clearer.
  • Form Designer – Addressed an issue with the Box Properties dialog box crashing when a box included an extremely large Fixed Text or Added Text string (usually HTML).
  • Textbase Information – Removed Windows Group Memberships from Textbase Information and "About this Computer System".
  • WebPublisher Browse Choices – The buttons have been optimized; for example, we've added an "Add & Close" button so that users no longer need to click "Add" then "Close".

If you upgrade from a version prior to 15 directly to 16, be sure to read the instructions about the necessary upgrade to your textbases as well as the software. If you're already using version 15 or 15.5, you’ll have done this already.

Clients with a current Inmagic maintenance subscription will receive emails from advantage@inmagic.com with instructions for downloading this release. As always, contact Andornot with any questions about this new release, to check the status of your maintenance subscription, or for help upgrading.

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