Refresh for the Arnprior & McNab/Braeside Archives website and collections search.

by Kathy Bryce Thursday, December 08, 2016 1:36 PM

The Arnprior & McNab/Braeside Archives (AMBA) is a small community archive outside Ottawa run by a part time archivist, a management board and volunteers.  In 2015 they were faced with several challenges. Their website was very dated looking and over the years the template had not been consistently applied resulting in different menu links and layouts from page to page. Changes with their software vendor meant their interface to search the collections was being hosted in England, and they had no statistics on usage.  It was definitely time for a refresh! They applied for and received a grant from the Documentary Heritage Communities Program (DHCP) funded by Library and Archives Canada (LAC).  Andornot worked with AMBA to scope out and provide a detailed proposal that was submitted with their application.

This was an extensive project that vastly improved the functionality offered to both AMBA on the administrative side, and to the public and researchers through the web. “We are extremely pleased to be able to offer a fresh, new search interface to our researchers. The team at Andornot was able to provide advice and expertise over the planning and development stages to help completely redefine our web presence”. AMBA

2016-03-30_14-16-31   AMBA_Search

Before and after screenshots.

Andornot setup a new website hosted on Andornot servers with a content management system using the open source Umbracosoftware.  A simple new and responsive template was applied that coordinated with the colors of the AMBA logo, and the pages were adjusted to fit the new site navigation.  AMBA can now easily update content on any page themselves, thus allowing them to now regularly add updates for events and current news.

AMBA were using an old version of Inmagic DB/TextWorks.  The software was upgraded to the current version, and descriptions data converted to the latest Andornot Archives Starter Kit. This includes a Research Requests database which AMBA volunteers are using to input details of enquiries received and to better track statistics.

The major upgrade was the creation of a single search capability using the Andornot Discovery Interface (AnDI) covering not only the AMBA archival descriptions but also a large collection of digitized bylaws, PDF’s of virtual exhibits and newspaper columns from a local historian.   The bylaws had already been digitized but were not accessible to researchers.  Fortunately the PDF files had been consistently named, and Andornot was able to extract the bylaw title, number and data from the filename to populate the metadata for each automatically thus saving valuable staff time.  A manual process is now almost complete to rename a small set of the 4,000 files that had typos or other issues. 

As with any project involving thousands of records and images there are always some issues, and we have recently completed adjusting the system to account for the many previously digitized image files which include non web safe characters such as &’s, apostrophes and other punctuation.  For clients embarking on any new digitization project we have guidelines for naming and formatting conventions. The Archives reported that they are “very pleased that the process to load the images has been greatly simplified, as Andornot automatically resizes and watermarks the images” so multiple versions are no longer required.

Many of the early Town of Arnprior bylaws date from the mid 1900’s and are handwritten.  However all the bylaws from 1975 on were run through an OCR process and are now full text searchable, though sometimes the original digitization was of poor quality.   Once a Bylaw or other PDF is retrieved, a snippet of the text is displayed with the search term shown in context.  The user can click to view the PDF which displays the pages with hits highlighted, or can click to download the document.

The new AnDI search interface provides researchers with excellent access to a wealth of historical information available through the Archves, and allows users to create a list of selected records and to share photos on Facebook or Pinterest.  Archives staff are delighted that “the new interface makes it easier for researchers to conduct searches and explore the featured virtual exhibits and resources sections of the website.”

AMBA is hoping to receive more funding in the future to continue to add more digitized documents.  Please contact Andornot if you’d like to discuss how we can help you refresh your site and search capabilities!

Library and Archives Canada announces launch of 2017-2018 funding cycle for Documentary Heritage Communities Program

by Kathy Bryce Monday, October 03, 2016 9:51 AM

Library and Archives Canada has announced the launch of the 2017–2018 funding cycle for the third year of the Documentary Heritage Communities Program (DHCP).

The deadline for applications is January 27th, 2017.  Check out the lists of previous recipientsfor a guide to the type of projects that qualified.  Andornot clients were successful in getting funded in both previous rounds.

This program is a great opportunity for archives, museums, historical societies and other cultural institutions to digitize their collections, develop search engines and virtual exhibits, and other activities that preserve and promote their valuable resources.

The objectives of the program are to:

  • Increase access to, and awareness of Canada's local documentary institutions and their holdings; and
  • Increase the capacity of local documentary heritage institutions to better sustain and preserve Canada's documentary heritage.

The program is aimed at non-governmental organizations specifically, including:

  • Archives;
  • Privately funded libraries;
  • Historical societies;             
  • Genealogical organizations/societies; 
  • Professional Associations; and
  • Museums with an archival component.

As before,businesses, government and government institution (including municipal governments and Crown Corporations), museums without archives, and universities and colleges are not eligible.

Types of projects which would be considered for funding include:

  • Conversion and digitization for access purposes;
  • Conservation and preservation treatment;
  • The development (research, design and production) of virtual and physical exhibitions, including travelling exhibits;
  • Conversion and digitization for preservation purposes;
  • Increased digital preservation capacity (excluding digital infrastructure related to day-to-day activities);
  • Training and workshops that improve competencies and build capacity; and
  • Development of standards, performance and other measurement activities.
  • Collection, cataloguing and access based management; and
  • Commemorative projects.

Two categories of funding available:

  • small projects under $15,000; and
  • large projects up to $100,000.

Further program details, requirements  and application procedures are available at http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/services/documentary-heritage-communities-program/Pages/dhcp-portal.aspx

How can Andornot help?

Andornot has worked with many clients on the types of projects which would qualify for this grant. Some examples are detailed in these blog posts:

We have extensive experience with digitizing documents, books and audio and video materials, and developing systems to manage those collections and make them searchable or presented in virtual exhibits.

Contact us to discuss collections you have and ideas for proposals. We'll do our best to help you obtain funding from the DHCP program!

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.

Société historique de Saint-Boniface Upgrades Archives Search Interface

by Jonathan Jacobsen Sunday, April 24, 2016 8:37 PM

The Centre du patrimoine (Heritage Centre) of the Société historique de Saint-Boniface is an archive and research facility dedicated to the preservation, study, dissemination and development of Francophone and Metis history in Manitoba and Western Canada. The Heritage Centre holds more than 500 archival fonds documenting every facet of life from culture to commerce, education to politics and religion to the economy.

In 2010-2011, Andornot helped the Heritage Centre to upgrade their DB/TextWorks-based collection management system, and publish the data online using our Andornot Starter Kit. This also included a collection of 35,000 records of contracts between fur traders (Voyageurs) and companies engaged in the fur trade in Canada between 1700 and ca. 1822.

This year, thanks to a grant from the Library and Archives Canada Documentary Heritage Communities Program, the Heritage Centre was able to upgrade this web search interface to one powered by the Andornot Discovery Interface (AnDI). The site is hosted by Andornot at http://archivesshsb.mb.ca

AnDI offers features not available in the previous site, such as the ability to search the museum, library and Voyageurs collections together, a more advanced search engine, spelling corrections and search suggestions, and facets to help users narrow their search.

The interface is designed for both desktop and mobile devices. There are features that help users view enlarged images, and to play back video recordings without leaving the site. 

New to the site in this upgrade are large high-resolution scans of architectural drawings. Even on large screens with an image at full-width, it can be hard to see small details in an architectural drawing, so Andornot implemented an image zooming feature that allows users to see both the whole drawing and enlargements of selected portions without having to download a very large image file.

Other useful features include an RSS feed of newly-added records, and a selection list that allows users to save, email or print records, or request more information on them from the Heritage Centre.

"The results are just fantastic and the transition was practically seamless."

-- Gilles Lesage, Directeur general, Centre du patrimoine

Contact Andornot to discuss a similar project for your museum or archives.

Bulkley Valley Museum Collection Now Online

by Jonathan Jacobsen Monday, April 11, 2016 9:25 AM

Since 1967, the Bulkley Valley Museum has built up a permanent collection of artifacts and documentary heritage materials that represent the human and natural history of the Town of Smithers, British Columbia, and the surrounding Bulkley Valley. This collection is now available online for the first time at http://search.bvmuseum.com

Andornot initially helped the museum to upgrade their DB/TextWorks-based collection management system, using our Andornot Starter Kits for archives and museum artifacts. We then used the Andornot Discovery Interface to build and host the site.

The search engine contains records for over 8,000 of the museum's archival and museum holdings, including 5,000 digitized historic photographs. Highlights of the collection include information on:

  • area railroads and the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway;
  • fossils, rocks and minerals and the natural history of the area;
  • telegraphs;
  • farming and agriculture; and
  • records from Smithers, Telkwa, Moricetown and Hazelton towns.

On the site, users can share their favourite items to Facebook and Twitter, and generate PDFs or print lists of items they are interested in. 

Users can also provide feedback to the museum via email on specific photographs and records. This form of crowd-sourcing will help identify people whose names have been lost to history, and even with hours of the website launch, was proving popular.

"Our new website is part of the Museum's ongoing efforts to make its collections more accessible to our local communities, enabling users from anywhere in the Bulkley Valley, or anywhere in the world, to learn about our local history. 

We are 30-60 minutes away from some of the communities we serve and collect from, so having our collections online is really going have an impact on access to history for local researchers and for use in the classroom by students."

- Kira Westby, Curator, Bulkley Valley Museum

The Bulkley Valley Museum was one of several recipients of the Library and Archives Canada Documentary Heritage Communities Program, which provides grants to select organizations for projects such as this. They join a growing list of Andornot clients who have selected the Andornot Discovery Interface to make their collections searchable online.

Contact Andornot to discuss a similar project for your museum or archives.

Month List