The Storebox – an Online Repository of Christian Social Media Usage

by Jonathan Jacobsen Wednesday, January 06, 2016 8:48 AM

The Storebox is a digital repository of interesting, illuminating, best practices of new and social media use by Christian communities. The Storebox highlights what Christian communities and leaders (lay and ordained) are doing with digital technologies to share the gospel (as they understand it), to connect communities, and to envision/incarnate "church" in the digital age.

The Storebox

The Storebox is a project of the New Media Project at the Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis. It contains case studies, collections, and exhibits curated by students at Fordham University, in New York City, under the direction of Professor Kathryn Reklis

Using the open-source Omeka content management and virtual exhibit system, Prof. Reklis and her students have built a diverse collection of examples of Christian usage of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, podcasts, blogs, plain old websites and more.

"I'm drawn to Omeka for its cost-effective means of presenting and organizing content and allowing users to interact with the content in meaningful ways. Also, most of the content will be generated by undergraduate college students, and Omeka seems like an excellent choice in this regard as well." – Prof. Reklis

The site is available at http://omeka.cts.edu 

Andornot developed a custom Omeka theme for this project and tailored it for the specific needs of the project and users.

Contact us to discuss Omeka and other systems for curating and managing digital content.

New Search Options for the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania Library and Archives

by Jonathan Jacobsen Friday, November 20, 2015 10:30 AM

The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania maintains a collection of tens of thousands of resources related to railroading in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The collection is diverse - historical, political, cultural, social, economic, and technological - and emphasizes its development from the 1830s through the present day. Every manner of printed materials is in the collection, from annual reports to timetables, as well as an extensive set of photographs and negatives. A reference library contains books, periodicals, railroad association and union publications, government documents, and trade catalogues.

Public search access has been available for many years through an interface developed by Andornot using our Andornot Starter Kit. However, as with all websites and applications, renewal and refurbishment is necessary every few years, to keep up with technology standards and user expectations. In particular, we noticed that the search logs indicated no records found for many user searches, so we knew that some new features were needed to help users connect to resources.

In 2015, the museum began a project with Andornot to develop a new, modern search engine using the Andornot Discovery Interface (AnDI). This is now available at http://rrmuseumpa.andornot.com 

"We had two primary objectives – to replace an earlier online catalog search system that was sagging under the growing weight of tens of thousands of new records and images, and to make the system more useful to users who have become accustomed to the more intelligent finding systems currently available in so many places on the web. Andornot delivered admirably on both needs." -- James Alexander, Jr., the museum's webmaster and lead on this project.

Large Collection Needs Advanced Search Features

The new search offers users access to over 270,000 records from both the library and archives databases, which were formerly separate. 80,000 of these records have digitized photographs available online. With such a large data set, advanced search features are needed to help researchers uncover resources of interest to them.

AnDI's Apache Solr search engine excels at indexing large data sets. The more records that are available to it, the better it can analyze words and perform frequency analysis on them, one of the many algorithms it uses to deliver relevant results first.

Key to the search process are the facets that allow researchers to narrow their initial search by many criteria, such as the names of railroads, individuals, corporations and other organizations, subjects, geographic places, and dates.

As with all AnDI sites, users can view brief and full records, view photographs in a gallery layout, save records to a list, share search results on social media, and of course, access the site as easily from a tablet or phone as a desktop web browser.

The small selection of videos included in search results are published through the museum's YouTube channel to expose the museum to the widest possible audience. A YouTube player is embedded in search results for playback within the new site.

AnDI Handles Spelling Variations

As is to be expected with such a large collection, entered over many years by a variety of people, spelling variations and typographic errors have crept in. AnDI helps users locate resources despite this, using two key features:

1. The Apache Solr search engine in AnDI is very, very good at parsing terms from records and suggesting correct terms based on what's in the records and what user's search for. These appear in search results as spelling corrections and "Did you mean?" suggestions, which a user may click to try a different search.

2. A synonym list created by museum staff relates correct terms to some of the many variations that appear. 

For example, the New York, Susquehanna & Western Railway appears in around 7,000 records, but with the name Susquehanna spelled at least 11 different ways. Given that searchers may not enter the correct spelling either, the search problem is not trivial! The combination of the synonym list and Solr's other suggestions and corrections helps ensure that no matter how either the data was originally entered, nor how a user searches for it, AnDI can return relevant and complete results.

A video introduction and written search help are both available to introduce users to the site. 

Inmagic DB/TextWorks for Back-End Data Management

Behind the scenes, the museum continues to use Inmagic DB/TextWorks to manage these records. This database management system is invaluable to them in managing metadata, selecting standard metadata from validation lists, and providing access to volunteers for every-day data entry.

The museum's search engine continues to be hosted by Andornot as part of our managed hosting service.

"While Andornot had available a well-built modern search system in AnDI, they spent a lot of time with us learning about our particular users' needs, helping us think through the most useful processes, and refining the search experience. They know the business of both managing records internally and helping users find what they need. 

In the process two things happened – we learned more about the strengths and weaknesses in our data entry processes, and the usefulness and public recognition of our holdings were enhanced through improved web access.  The search help video was a real plus, and they worked with us in making our search page both functional and attractive." – James Alexander, Jr.

We're very pleased to continue our work with the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. Contact us to discuss upgrades and search options for your museum collections.

Nova Scotia Barristers' Society Migrates to VuFind Discovery Interface

by Jonathan Jacobsen Wednesday, August 26, 2015 4:40 PM

Andornot was pleased to help Nova Scotia Barristers' Society Library & Information Services migrate several of their web-based library search interfaces to the VuFind discovery interface this summer. 

The NSBS Library has used Inmagic DB/TextWorks for many years to manage a variety of databases, including a library catalogue. Inmagic WebPublisher was previously used to search some of those, and remains available for a few other databases, but now a new VuFind interface provides a single search across:

  • texts, case law reporters, legislation, forms & precedents collections, and other print material;
  • online resources licensed for in-library use; and
  • continuing professional development papers in full-text.

The new catalogue is available at https://catalogue.nsbs.org

Features such as spelling corrections and search suggestions, relevancy ranked results (with more recent items boosted higher in results), and facets to narrow searches provide the features users expect in a web search application.

The design of the new VuFind site was customized to match as closely as possible the main Society website, for a seamless transition between the two. The site adapts to the user's browser, so it's just as usable on a tablet or phone as in a desktop browser.

The initial response from library users has been very positive. 

"I've spoken to quite a few library users who've tried it and are really pleased. Find it really user-friendly. We have gotten emails from lawyers who have clearly discovered an interesting sounding resource via the catalogue and want to know more (is it in-library use only or can they borrow...). Some lawyers also got on board right away with signing up for a user account so that they could use the results management tools, like sending selected results as an email list to us, asking if resources are available." – Deborah Copeman, Librarian, NSBS

The NSBS Library joins a growing number of specialized libraries adopting discovery interfaces to search their collections. While public and academic libraries have offered this more modern style of search to their users for many years, smaller libraries are now able to join them with systems such as VuFind and our own Andornot Discovery Interface.

Contact us to discuss improvements to your library information and online search applications.

Law Society of New Brunswick Library Upgrades Web Catalogue

by Jonathan Jacobsen Wednesday, August 19, 2015 10:19 AM

Andornot recently helped the Law Society of New Brunswick Library upgrade its Inmagic DB/TextWorks and WebPublisher PRO-based library catalogue.  

We started by upgrading the DB/TextWorks database to the latest version available from our Andornot Starter Kit, including attractive query screens, reports and forms, with script buttons for easy navigation.

We then developed a new web interface using a responsive template that works as well on tablet or phone as a desktop browser. This attractive interface incorporates design elements from the Law Society’s main website, while providing maximum usability for searching the catalogue. 

The catalogue search is available in English and French, and allows society members to request items from the library with a simple form.

The new catalogue is available at http://www.nblawlib-bib.ca

"It's been an exciting and informative time with the development and launch of the new catalogue website, led by the exceptional guidance and direction of Jonathan and the team at Andornot. The Provincial Libraries Committee and myself are pleased with the outcome and look forward to patrons accessing and benefitting from the ease of use of the new template and the resources available."  -- Tanya Davis, Provincial Law Librarian

The new catalogue is hosted by Andornot as part of our managed hosting service.

Contact us to discuss improvements that might be possible for your catalogue.

Updated search interface for the Interior Health Library Catalog

by Kathy Bryce Monday, August 10, 2015 9:35 AM

The Interior Health library catalog search interface has been given a revamp to modernize the experience and improve the functionality.  The old interface using WebPublisher PRO (figures 1&3) expected users to figure out how to construct their searches in advance.  The new interface (figures 2&4) using the Andornot Discovery Interface (AnDI) allows users to put in their keywords and then narrow down the hits from the results screen. 

IHA_OldCat
Figure 1

IHA-NewCat
Figure 2

IHA-OldCat2
Figure 3

IHA-NewCat2

Figure 4

This, plus the more forgiving search syntax with built in automatic typo and spelling correctionsNewCat3 with “Did you Mean?”  suggestions, will result in an improved search experience for IH staff. In addition the site is now responsive ensuring that it is just as readable on a cell phone or tablet as on a desktop PC.

As before, the new site includes canned search links for special topics and collections, and a more prominent listing of new titles through an embedded RSS feed.  Book covers from Open Library are included automatically  based on the ISBN field if they are available.

Contact Andornot to discuss similar upgrades to your search interfaces.

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