ARLIS Launches Susitna Doc Finder VuFind Catalog

by Jonathan Jacobsen Monday, October 10, 2016 1:09 PM

Over the past couple of years, Andornot has helped the Alaska Resources Library & Information Services (ARLIS) launch, then upgrade, a VuFind-powered catalog of Alaska North Slope natural gas pipeline work from the past 40 years. 

A second VuFind catalog has recently been added to the ARLIS site: the Susitna Doc Finder

The Susitna Doc Finder is a comprehensive catalog of documents that have resulted from every phase of the historic 1980s Susitna Hydroelectric Project (SuHydro Project), as well as those documents continually being produced since 2010 under the current Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Project (SuWa Project).

Records for this catalog are managed in both a MARC cataloguing ILS, as well as a local Inmagic DB/TextWorks database. Exports from both are indexed nightly by VuFind, using heavily customized import mappings and additional fields and browse indexes. 

Almost all records link to PDF reports from the project. Text is extracted from these and indexed, to complement the excellent initial metadata. 

Cover images of these PDF reports are generated during indexing and appear in search results, in several sizes, both for visual interest, and to give a glimpse of a report before clicking to download it.

The web interface uses a VuFind theme built from the ever-popular Twitter Bootstrap responsive web framework. Almost all of Andornot's web projects use this or a similar responsive framework to provide the same level of access on devices of all sizes and shapes, from full-size desktop browsers down to tablets and phones.

Results from this VuFind system are also available through Google, as Google has crawled and indexed the VuFind system.

Further information:

Contact us to discuss options for a discovery interface style of search for your catalogue or other collection, using VuFind or the Andornot Discovery Interface.

The Many Uses of Shortening

by Jonathan Jacobsen Tuesday, September 20, 2016 9:42 AM

Shortening is a wonderful thing: in baking it makes pies and cakes light and fluffy, and on the web, it makes long, unwieldy URLs short and manageable. This blog post is all about the second usage, but we can think about the first as we read it.

You might wonder why you should care about short URLs. After all, isn't a long one like 

http://www.cjhn.ca/en/experience/image-galleries/gallery.aspx?q=dolls&name=&topic=&setName=&year_tis=&numbers=MA+15&onlineMediaType_facet=Image

a perfectly good URL?

Sure, your web browser will have no trouble with that and will access the web site and cause it to run the search specified by all those parameters.

But what if you want to share this URL via email or on Twitter, or post it to a blog or Facebook. That URL is 144 characters, so it's not going to fit in a tweet.

Long URLs are often wrapped to two or more lines in an email and sometimes this breaks the URL itself, resulting in a bad link.

And, as the Canadian Jewish Heritage Network discovered recently, posting long URLs with many parameters to Facebook is problematic. When posting the URL above, Facebook stripped out all the equals signs, leaving a non-functioning URL. Who knows why Facebook would do this, but happily, there’s an easy workaround for this, one that lends itself well to emailing and tweeting long URLs too: URL shortening services.

As Wikipedia tells us, "URL shortening is a technique on the World Wide Web in which a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) may be made substantially shorter and still direct to the required page. This is achieved by using a redirect, often on a domain name that is even shorter than the original one, which links to the web page that has a long URL."

In practice, this means that a long URL such as

http://www.cjhn.ca/en/experience/image-galleries/gallery.aspx?q=dolls&name=&topic=&setName=&year_tis=&numbers=MA+15&onlineMediaType_facet=Image

can be shortened to something like

These fit handily in Tweets, blog posts, emails and are not edited by Facebook when posting there.

You might now ask, is this the same as a permalink? Well, it is a link, and a short one, so it’s close, but there's no guarantee of permanence, as you're reliant on a third-party service to keep the redirect in place indefinitely. Although that may happen, it's probably better to think of these as short but disposable URLs, like a post-it note you stick on a desk or document pointing at something.

Some of the most common URL shortening services are: 

So when you next need to send or post a long URL, especially one with lots of parameters and query strings, give one of these a try.

The Librarian's Introduction to Programming Languages: A LITA Guide

by Jonathan Jacobsen Wednesday, September 07, 2016 9:09 AM

We are excited to announce that the newly published "Librarian's Introduction to Programming Languages: A LITA Guide" includes a chapter written by our Peter Tyrrell on programming in C#. 

Peter was approached last year by the editor, Beth Thomsett-Scott, who has gathered together chapters by experts on nine different programming languages that librarians might need to know more about.

"There are many books on programming languages but no recent items directly written for librarians that span a variety of programs. Many practicing librarians see programming as something for IT people or beyond their capabilities. This book will help these librarians to feel comfortable discussing programming with others by providing an understanding of when the language might be useful, what is needed to make it work, and relevant tools to extend its application. Additionally, the inclusion of practical examples lets readers try a small "app" for the language. This also will assist readers who want to learn a language but are unsure of which language would be the best fit for them in terms of learning curve and application.

This book is designed to provide a basic working knowledge of each language presented, case studies which show the programming language used in real ways and resources for exploring each language in more detail."

Peter is of course both a librarian and a programmer himself, so was delighted to contribute a chapter to the book.

New Catalogue Search for Vancouver Island Health Authority Library

by Jonathan Jacobsen Tuesday, July 05, 2016 4:44 PM

The Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) has used Inmagic DB/TextWorks for many years to manage their library collections. This year, VIHA joined other health authority libraries around British Columbia in upgrading their web-based library catalogue search interface to a modern, feature-rich system: the Andornot Discovery Interface (AnDI).

The new catalogue is available at http://viha.andornot.com 

The updated system is comparable to the search interfaces found in most university and public libraries, with a quick search box and then the ability to drill down through the results. Features include:

  • A sophisticated search engine and relevancy-ranked search results put the most useful items in front of users quickly.
  • Automatic spelling corrections and "did you mean?" search suggestions improve the search experience, especially when dealing with medical terminology.
  • Facets such as library location, material type, subject, author and date and allow users to quickly and simply refine their search.
  • An eResources facet allows users to bring up materials that are available online as e-Books or links to websites.
  • A selection list helps users to mark items of interest as they search, then view, print or email the list, as well as complete a form to request those items form the library.
  • The new interface is fully usable on tablets and smartphones for on-the-go access.

The site includes canned search links for special topics and collections and a more prominent listing of new titles, also available as an RSS feed. Book covers from Open Library are included automatically if available, based on ISBNs in the record.

The site is hosted and maintained by Andornot with automated updates from DB/TextWorks, which remains the back-end data management tool.

Contact Andornot to discuss similar upgrades to your search interfaces.

Automating Municipal Records Transfers to an Archives

by Jonathan Jacobsen Monday, May 16, 2016 8:23 PM

Andornot recently helped a municipal archives save hours of manual work when civic records are transferred to them, by automating part of the data transfer process. 

This municipal archives uses Inmagic DB/TextWorks to manage their collections. The many departments in the municipality complete a form when they are transferring records to the archives. The form is a fillable PDF form, but when the archives receives it with the records, they still need to re-key, or copy and paste, data into their DB/TextWorks system.

This fillable PDF form was altered so that a Submit button placed prominently on the form generates an XML file in Adobe's .xfdf format. Andornot developed an XSLT that can be used by DB/TextWorks' data import feature to transform data from this XML file into DB/TextWorks records. The XSLT selects appropriate data from the XML, and adds some default values like the material type, some notes, etc. 

Dozens of records can now be imported in seconds or minutes, ready for the archives to review and edit further.

Further automation is also possible using the Inmagic Importer, which can monitor a folder and import files when they appear. This would allow the archives to drop multiple XML files from the transfer forms into a folder at once and then a few minutes later, access those records in the DB/TextWorks database.

Approaches like this are great for all sorts of institutions. Another common example is libraries sourcing catalogue records from other catalogues, such as by using BookWhere software, and importing those records into their catalogue, through DB/TextWorks or Genie.

Contact Andornot for assistance improving your workflow  and automating repetitive tasks like this example.

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