Grey literature for the Third Sector

by Denise Bonin Wednesday, October 13, 2010 10:52 AM

Grey literature, fugitive publications, the hidden web; it sounds all very mysterious doesn’t it? threeSOURCE-logoWhere are these resources? How can they be found? Well for the folks in Alberta – and because it is on the Internet, for the rest of the world – this previously concealed material in the non-profit and social services “third” sector now has a home at threeSOURCE: http://www.threesource.ca. See the press release here.

Database

The database that forms the basis of the site contains a vast quantity of grey literature from groups such as the Alberta Federation of Labour, Alberta Status of Women Action Committee, Family Service Association of Edmonton, Calgary Status of Women Action Committee, and Families First Edmonton. It also contains the ESPC catalogue collection, which during the course of the project was converted from another system, L4U, using the MARC Transformer, into Inmagic DB/TextWorks.

Jennifer Hoyer from the Edmonton Social Planning Councilspearheaded this new website with funding assistance from Alberta Culture and Community Spirit and the Edmonton Community Foundation.

“There is currently no central location, either physically or virtually, for accessing publications created within or about this field of work.  People working within the third sector – in social services and nonprofits – are notoriously short on time when it comes to finding information and staying current within their field.  ThreeSOURCE hopes to make this process easier by presenting a one-stop-shop,” writes Jennifer.

Website

Andornot assisted with almost every aspect of this site, from the recommendation of Artisteer as the basis for the website graphic design, which Jennifer took to enthusiastically, to the deployment of the site on the ESPC server. Our team integrated the website design into the ASP.NET based Umbraco Content Management System. We set Jennifer up with the desktop interface of the Andornot Starter Kit so she could catalogue grey literature while we developed the web interface. This included the database component, which consisted of the quick and advanced search screens, brief displays, a full display, Google book covers, a RSS feed for the latest database additions, and the Email, Save, and Print components. The web catalogue uses Inmagic WebPublisher PRO as the underlying search engine.

Content Management System

Once the website was up and running on our development server with Umbraco, Jennifer could login through a web browser and start adding website content to the site. Andornot put the final touches to the site, such as a link to their newsletter sign in and an RSS feed from the database and then moved the whole site over to the ESPC server.

“One of the key features of this audience is that they generally access and share information in a very social way: they discuss the latest developments in their field over coffee with colleagues, and they share new publications with their email contacts,” writes Jennifer. “We wanted to replicate this social aspect in some manner, and the RSS feed of New Acquisitions is a starting point for engaging our audience beyond the library catalogue interface.”

Topic Searches

Using Umbraco, Jennifer is able to quickly add new canned or topic searches to the home page, which can be based on recent requests for information or hot topics. To illustrate, Jennifer writes:

“We were recently approached for information regarding affordable housing solutions for seniors, to support a proposal for a related project.  A quick search of subjects such as “Seniors” and “Housing – affordable housing solutions” brought up the Wellesley Institute’s recent report on Precarious Housing in Canada (2010) and the Canadian Centre on Disability Studies Analysis of housing for seniors living with disabilities using a livable and inclusive community lens (2009).  The former provides federal government funding allocations towards housing for low-income seniors.  The latter identifies affordability as a top major housing issue faced by seniors and seniors with disabilities, and pointed towards other publications confirming the urgent nature of this issue.”

She promptly added a link to all the items in the database on the topic Housing for Seniors after receiving that request for information. We are sure that the page will soon fill up with links to other relevant topics as they are determined, making the finding of relevant information in the third sector so much easier.

Congratulations to the Edmonton Social Planning Councilon the launch of this valuable resource.  Contact us for more information on project specifics. 

Ottawa Hospital Library Launches Inmagic Genie

by Jonathan Jacobsen Tuesday, August 17, 2010 11:19 AM

The Ottawa Hospital Library is the latest Andornot client to launch Genie (part of the Inmagic DB/Text Library Suite).

Ottawa_Hospital_Library_Catalogue_Search_Results2 The hospital library serves both hospital staff and patients from multiple locations in Ottawa. Previously, staff used several separate DB/Textworks databases to manage collections of materials for these different audiences and locations. In moving to Genie, these databases were consolidated into the single Genie Catalog to simplify access.

Most of the data conversion, including mapping of fields and converting data into the Genie databases, was done by librarian Risa Shorr. As an experienced DB/TextWorks user, Risa was able to see the similarities between her databases and those used by Genie, and use the features available in DB/TextWorks to move the data over. Andornot provided guidance and recommendations as needed.

"The combination of expertise between Andornot and Risa meant that our move to Genie was cost effective. Andornot was extremely supportive of the collaborative approach to installing and customizing Genie to meet our needs," says Margaret Quirie, Director, Library Services.

With Genie launched for library staff, the library asked Andornot to develop a new OPAC for hospital staff and patients. The new OPAC is based on the Andornot Starter Kit and features:

  • quick and advanced search screens for all library materials;
  • a specific search screen for patients, targeted just at those materials they may access;
  • Andornot extras such as Google style search syntax with automatic ANDing of terms and stemming of words, plus enhanced navigation and display options;
  • automatic display of the five most recent additions to the catalog on the Quick Search page, and a link to a canned search showing the latest materials;
  • tick boxes to allow users to mark items as they find them, then submit a request to the library for those materials indicating their preferred pickup location, or email a copy of the list to themselves or a colleague, or save or print the list;
  • icons in the search results to help users more easily identify the types of materials in their search results;
  • Google Book Covers and links to more information on titles in the Google Books database; and
  • “permalinks” and a Share button to expedite bookmarking of records and sharing with colleagues via social networking services.

View the new OPAC here.

The library often has multiple copies of a title, in different locations. As a result of the data conversion, these are represented as individual records in the Genie Catalog textbase (rather than a single Catalog record with multiple Item records). This is quite a common occurrence after a data conversion, and while it’s possible to clean it up, in this case it was simpler to modify the OPAC to group records by title, but still show the edition and location information for each individual record.

The Google Book Covers have been a particularly well-received feature, with users remembering books based on the cover they saw.

Please contact Andornot for more information on Genie, the Andornot Starter Kit, and our consulting services.

Making Inmagic Databases Accessible on the Mobile Web

by Jonathan Jacobsen Thursday, March 25, 2010 9:56 AM

blackberry_askme_demo It has been said by many that 2010 will truly be the year of the mobile app. BlackBerries have given remote access to email for years, and the iPhone has been one of the hottest selling phones since its launch. Many other devices now also come with built-in web browsers, fast internet access and large enough screens that accessing websites on a handheld device is almost as easy as on a desktop computer. Almost, but not quite. Full-size websites can be displayed on smaller devices, but viewing them typically requires a lot of scrolling around and zooming in and out. Websites optimized for mobile devices are still a great way to give the best user experience on handheld devices.

Fortunately, it's quite easy to make your Inmagic database accessible to mobile browsers, using WebPublisher Pro and a bit of elbow grease. We’ve just finished making a version of our Andornot Starter Kit (ASK) mobile-friendly. The ASK Mobile Edition is a set of search and results forms specifically designed for mobile devices. The layout is aimed at devices with a screen resolution of at least 240 pixels width, but doesn't require any more than that. Users may search by clicking pre-created links for popular searches, such as recent acquisitions, popular subjects or the latest journals received, as well as use a search screen to enter terms and select options using radio buttons and tickboxes. In all cases, the interface is designed not only for readability on smaller screens, but for selection of options with fingers, stylus and keyboards, depending on the device used to access it.

iphone_askme You can view the ASK Mobile Edition demo site here. If you'd like to see it as it appears on a mobile device, you can use the Opera Mini Java demo here. Just type ask.andornot.com/Mobile.html into the demo browser’s address bar to connect to the ASK Mobile Edition demo site.

This same approach can be taken with any Inmagic database and WebPublisher Pro, making search and results pages fit a smaller form factor. The effort to do so is not great – from half a day up to a couple of days for Andornot to help you.

The mobile web is all about making access even more convenient for users – allowing them to look something up the moment they think of it, wherever they are. The question is no longer "Why would someone want to search my database from their palm"; it's "Why wouldn’t they?" Don't get left behind as more users seek out mobile-friendly information. Contact us today to see how we can help put your databases in users' hands.

Law Society of Saskatchewan Launches Genie

by Jonathan Jacobsen Friday, January 22, 2010 10:05 AM

The Law Society of Saskatchewan is the latest Andornot client to launch Genie (part of the Inmagic DB/Text Library Suite).

The Law Society Library is a long-time Inmagic user, with several textbases used to manage books, journals, legal resources, and other materials. These databases are maintained in the Society’s two main offices in Regina and Saskatoon, with online access for society members through the society's website.

One of the challenges facing the library was managing all of these databases from separate locations. "We were looking for any way to streamline our core tasks of acquisitions and circulation by eliminating double and sometimes triple data entry and the never-ending battle of syncing databases," says Toby Willis-Camp, Director of Libraries at the Law Society. The library selected Genie as a solution, as it provides a single, central, web-based system for all the core library functions. The library also opted to have Andornot host both the Genie system, as well as the entire society website, with its members-only resources and other searchable databases.

Andornot and the staff in the Law Society Library planned and completed a conversion of several Inmagic databases into the Genie system, with special attention paid to de-duplicating records from similar source databases.

Law_Society_of_Saskatchewan_Libraries_Search_Results While the library staff use the Genie Catalogue, Orders, Serials and other "back-end" modules for their day-to-day work, a new search interface for society members and the public was created, based on the Andornot Starter Kit. This OPAC features:

  • quick and advanced search screens for all library materials;
  • a specific search screen for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) materials;
  • the full text of CPD materials, with a link from the record to a PDF of the material, for immediate online access;
  • tick boxes allow society members to mark items as they find them, then submit a request to the library for those materials, or email a copy of the list to themselves or a colleague, or save or print the list; and
  • icons in the search results to help users more easily identify the types of materials in their search results. Different icons appear for books, journals, websites, DVDs and CPD materials.

"Every time I use the OPAC I break out into a huge smile, because I am so pleased with how it's working and presents the information.  I am absolutely ecstatic about the 'public face' we now present," says Willis-Camp.

Members of the Law Society register in a different online system, but thanks to a behind-the-scenes transfer of information into Genie on a regular basis, the Genie Borrowers database is always up to date with society members.

"It was a year filled with immense change at the Library.  Working with Andornot made most of those changes go more smoothly.  We are looking forward to using Genie at its full potential, and continuing to improve and expand our web presence with Andornot's expert assistance." says Willis-Camp.

Please contact Andornot for more information on Genie, the Andornot Starter Kit, and our hosting and consulting services.

Google Book Covers and Previews

by Denise Bonin Tuesday, October 20, 2009 9:11 PM

Library catalogues are boring.  Face it, their dullness is only mitigated by the thrill received when your catalogue search results have either a link to the full text or a website or to an image or something other than just the basic bibliographic details.  Ok, some folks use the library catalogue to find books - on the shelf and in their library - but if you are not familiar with that book, how do you know if it is worth your while seeking out? 

See the cover and preview the book.  Now there is a way to liven up and to add value to your catalogue, with both a book cover image and a preview of the text, if they are available.  Just by having the book's ISBN in the catalogue database, a link can be made to Google Books.  With this link you can have an image of the book's cover in full and beautiful colour displayed next to the bibliographic information.  You can also have a link to the Google Book Preview, if it is available.  Andornot has long since advocated enhancing the library catalogue and added the Google Books covers and previews to its own Starter Kit.  We then suggested that Inmagic WebPublisher PRO hosted clients do the same. 

Several clients took up the offer and now there are many examples to show you.  Elizabeth Lamont from the Royal Victoria Hospital Library, who oversees the coordination of the McGill University Health Centre Libraries catalogue (try the New Books link), loved this feature:  "Nice visuals for our users. We particularly like the added information on book contents. All without any extra work on our part!"  Both Lance Nordstom and Marci Gibson from WorkSafeBC appreciated the addition to their library catalogue of "a bit of colour to the results pages".  When it was suggested to Leah Harms, the librarian at the Resource Library for the Environment and the Law, that she add this feature to her library catalogue, she said of the Google Books Preview example shown to her that she "had no idea how great that book was until I read the preview."  And after we added them Leah commented: "I really am very pleased with the vibrancy of the covers and the usefulness of having the preview links. They function to better pique curiosity much like abstracts do for journal articles."

You can also see this feature on a few other catalogue databases:  Northern Health, Interior Health, Vancouver Coastal Health, Fraser Health, and the Resource Centre for Voluntary Organizations.  For best results, may we suggest that you search for books published since 2000.

Contact us to help you add Google Book covers and previews to your online catalogue. 

Month List