Is it time to rejuvenate the search option for your collections? The Anglican Church of Canada Archives launches a new search portal to provide better access to a wider selection of records of national significance.

by Jonathan Jacobsen Monday, August 14, 2017 8:45 AM

The Archives of the Anglican Church of Canada has provided web search access to some of their collections for many years, but it was time for a refresh to keep up with current expectations. Situations like theirs are all too common, with issues such as:

  • each of several databases had to be searched separately, one at a time;
  • the separate search interfaces were dated, with a restrictive searching syntax;
  • the graphic design no longer matched the main website;
  • the layout was not responsive for viewing on tablets or phones;
  • there was a desire to put up additional content; and
  • the server that was home to all the software and data was due for replacement as both the hardware and operating system were aged. 

Undertaking these updates was a somewhat daunting prospect for the archives staff, with little time or experience to work on the necessary changes. However, Andornot has worked with the Anglican Church for many years, and over several months developed a plan for the updates that fit with both Archives and IT staff requirements. The result is a modern, functional new single search portal that will be of benefit to anyone interested in the records of the church.  

The new site is now available at http://archives.anglican.ca

Rather than simply migrate everything to a new server as-is, the archives and the Church's IT staff took this as an opportunity to make substantial improvements. To help fit the work into everyone's busy schedules, the project was divided into two phases, making each half more manageable.

In the first phase, Andornot provided a methodology to help staff analyze their multiple existing Inmagic DB/TextWorks databases and determine data clean-up options. We worked with IT staff to provision a new server with a fresh installation of the latest version of DB/TextWorks. Databases were migrated, client workstations updated, menu screens linked, and the system otherwise made ready for use. This provides the archives with a stable, up-to-date, clean system that should run well for many years to come. 

In the second phase, we built a new search interface using our Andornot Discovery Interface. The new system allows users to explore and research archival descriptions, official statements, press releases, journal articles and photographs. Additional databases managed in DB/TextWorks may be added over time.  

The software is hosted on the Church's servers but during the design phase we hosted it locally to simplify making modifications during the rounds of feedback, and reducing the involvement needed from IT. We also offer long-term hosting for clients who don't have their own servers or the staff and resources to manage them.

The new site design is clean and simple and now coordinates with the look and feel of the main Anglican Church website. In addition, the seamless, single search across the formerly separate databases is both easy to use and encourages serendipitous discovery of information from unexpected sources.

“The General Synod Archives has already seen many researchers using the new search engine and requesting information and photographs. We have received compliments on the layout and information included, as well as the benefits of having each entry tagged so that we know exactly what the researcher is requesting without having to redo the search. The new search engine has made it a lot easier for us to make our photographs available for research and selection. Searching by rough dates and being able to break them down using the decade facet produces faster results. Indeed the various facets for refining the search have been a bonus.”

-- the archivists of the General Synod Archives, Anglican Church of Canada

As with all our Andornot Discovery Interface projects, this site for the Anglican Archives now provides the best possible search experience, and includes the following features we now regard as essential in a modern search interface:

  • Automatic spelling corrections and search suggestions.
  • Relevancy ranked results with additional sort options.
  • Facets to easily narrow or refine a search.
  • Easy sharing of records or photos on social media such as Facebook and Pinterest.
  • Add to list option to select records.
  • Responsive layout for use with tablets and smart phones.
  • Accessibility for users with disabilities.

We're always available to discuss upgrades to your DB/TextWorks-based systems, or enhanced search interfaces for any collection using one of the several software systems we support. Send us a link to your current search interface and we'll get back to you with our evaluation! 

Arnprior Archives' Virtual Exhibit: 150 Years of Living Off the Land

by Jonathan Jacobsen Thursday, August 10, 2017 5:27 PM

As part of the country-wide celebrations of Canada's 150th birthday, the Arnprior & McNab/Braeside Archives undertook a project to celebrate 150 years of local agriculture, harvesting, production and similar activities in their area. Entitled "150 Years of Living Off the Land", the project involved research and extensive interviews with McNab/Braeside families who are producing maple syrup, honey, alpaca wool products, and vegetables, from large to very small scale producers.

The results were assembled into a virtual and physical exhibit that explores the connection between what settlers produced in the early days in the Township and what local producers are making today. Living successfully off the land means different things today than it did before confederation. 

"Learning that many years ago there was a cheese factory in Glasgow Station, not far from the current Municipal Hall, is information not many remember. Archives are the windows to our past which created the present and future." -- Tom Peckett - Mayor of McNab Braeside

The exhibit is available at https://www.adarchives.org/exhibits/150-years-of-living-off-the-land/

[A page in the exhibit with photos, quotes, interview clips and transcripts.]

The initial reaction from the community has been very positive, with comments in a guest book such as "fabulous, neat work, thanks!" and "great exhibit - very interesting".

Andornot worked with archives staff to provide a web application for mounting the virtual exhibit. Using the Umbraco Content Management System, we developed page layouts, colour choices, and features to play back the recorded interviews, all within the existing archives website.

This system may be used by the archives for more exhibits in the future, by re-using the page layouts and other work done for this project.

[The project team at the launch on Canada Day of "150 Years of Living Off the Land". From left to right: Ella Hartwick, Laurie Dougherty, Matt Regan and Dianne Brearley.]

Andornot offers a variety of options for mounting virtual exhibits, using Umbraco or the Omeka system available through our Digital History Hub site. Contact us with your ideas for an exhibit and we'll help you choose the right system and walk you through getting it going.

Elgin County Museum Joins Archives in Launching Upgraded Search Interface

by Jonathan Jacobsen Saturday, February 25, 2017 8:38 PM

The Elgin County Museum, as well as the Elgin County Archives, in St. Thomas, Ontario, both use Inmagic DB/TextWorks to manage their collections. A few years ago, Andornot helped the archives upgrade their public search interface to a more modern design, using our Andornot Starter Kit web application.

This year we were pleased to help the museum upgrade their public search interface too. The museum's new look is available at http://inmagic.elgin-county.on.ca/museum/ 

Both interfaces continue to use Inmagic WebPublisher PRO as the underlying search engine, but with our modern Andornot Starter Kit web application in front. This app provides features such as automatic stemming and combining of search words, browsable indexes, a selection list for saving items, and a photo commenting feature. 

The overall design matches the Elgin County website for a more integrated look and adapts to the user's screen size, so it's just as usable on a phone or tablet as on the desktop.

Several other museums in Elgin County and St. Thomas also use this system to manage their collections. The public is now able to access these collections as well, many of which have been photographed. Users can limit their search to only records that have images available online.

"This is a much more user friendly way for our Museum Partners to manage their collections," says Mike Baker, Elgin County Museum Curator.

Contact Andornot to discuss options for bringing your search interfaces up to modern standards.

Transportation Association of Canada Library Upgrades Web Search Options

by Jonathan Jacobsen Tuesday, January 31, 2017 6:49 PM

The Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) uses Inmagic DB/TextWorks to manage a library catalogue and databases of reports, manuals, and other literature related to transportation. The collection includes materials from governments, universities, associations and the private sector, both in Canada and abroad.

TAC approached Andornot to discuss upgrading the web search interfaces to their library databases to a more modern design with some new features. The existing interfaces, as well as the new ones, use Inmagic WebPublisher PRO for search and display, but were looking dated and didn't match the TAC website.

Andornot used our Andornot Starter Kit web interface for WebPublisher PRO to design new interfaces for three of TAC's DB/TextWorks databases. Each interface is available in both English and French, and the overall design matches the TAC website for a more integrated look. 

"The search interface for the library catalogue was functional but limited.  With few internal resources to dedicate to the project, we approached Andornot about using the Starter Kit to improve the appearance and features of the interface. The result was quickly achieved and a vast improvement over the previous forms.  I'm looking forward to seeing how members respond to these new search features." -- Glenn Cole, TAC Library

Key features of the sites include automatic stemming and ANDing of search words, browsable indexes, RSS feeds, book covers from Google when available, a selection list for saving items, and an interface that adapts to the user's screen size, so it's just as usable on a phone or tablet as on the desktop.

The three databases available online for public searching include:

  1. The TAC Library Catalogue database contains over 25,000 documents from major Canadian transportation agencies as well as many international organizations. Items may be borrowed by those with a one-time need for them.
  2. The Current Practices and Innovations database contains information on maintenance, construction, road safety and climate change.
  3. The Canadian Surface Transportation Research database offers information on research about a wide range of transportation themes, such as economics, the environment, soils and materials, highway and bridge design, construction and maintenance, traffic engineering, vehicle studies and rail transportation.

Many resources in these databases are available for immediate access as PDFs.

Contact Andornot to discuss options for bringing your search interfaces up to modern standards.

Vancouver Coastal Health Library Migrates to Genie and AnDI

by Jonathan Jacobsen Monday, December 12, 2016 3:15 PM

The Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) Library is a long-time Inmagic DB/TextWorks site, using the software to manage collections in Richmond, Vancouver and North Vancouver. Andornot has helped library staff in many ways, including hosting a web-based search interface to the catalogue for 15 years.

IT requirements and procedures at the health authority have, over the years, made it challenging for library staff to keep their software up to date. After considering several options, Librarian Shannon Long opted to merge the VCH collections into an instance of the Inmagic Genie library system that is shared with the BC Cancer Agency and BC Children's and Women's Hospital libraries. This cost-effective approach allows the collection to remain in a familiar Inmagic environment, with the whole system hosted, maintained and upgraded by the Provincial Health Services Agency. Andornot helped set this system up in 2015, and blogged about it here

While the collections of all three of these health agencies is managed in the shared Genie system, each has their own public-facing search system. The new interface for the VCH library collection is available at https://librarycatalogue.vch.ca and is built upon the Andornot Discovery Interface, a modern search engine widely used by Andornot clients. 

Key features of the site include:

  • Sophisticated search engine with relevancy scoring, spelling corrections and 'did you mean' search suggestions, and facets to refine search results.
  • RSS feed of latest additions to the catalogue.
  • Selection list to allow  library patrons to save items and request them from the library.
  • Quick Start pre-defined searches lead patrons to unique materials within the library’s collection.
  • Graphic design and branding to match main VCH website.

"Working with Andornot Consulting over the years has always been a pleasure. We are happy to be able to continue this relationship and are looking forward to using our new Genie and AnDI systems to manage our library collections. Andornot staff made this transition seamless; the conversion came in under budget and on time. We love the modern features of the new AnDI interface, especially the RSS feeds and Quick Start topics, and believe that our library patrons will find these helpful as well." Shannon Long, Librarian

All of the health authority libraries in British Columbia use Inmagic software to manage their collections, with a combination of systems supported by Andornot for web-based searching by staff and others. These systems include Andornot Discovery Interface, VuFind and the Umbraco Content Management System.

Catalogues for each health authority are available at these links:

Andornot also works with health units and hospitals across Canada, and attends the Canadian Health Libraries Association annual conference each year.

Contact us to discuss systems for managing your health care library collection, patient education materials, and similar information.

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