Northern Health Library Services Launches VuFind Discovery Interface

by Jonathan Jacobsen Tuesday, March 24, 2015 2:08 PM

In January, we wrote in this blog post about the increasing numbers of Andornot's special library clients who are choosing discovery interfaces for their library catalogues. The latest to adopt this popular style of search engine is the Northern Health Authority Library in Prince George, B.C. 

Northern Health Library Services is a long-time Inmagic DB/TextWorks user, and continues to manage their library collection with this software. The search interface used by patients, the public and health authority staff has been upgraded to the open-source VuFind discovery interface, one of Andornot’s recommended systems.

VuFind provides users with an intuitive and productive experience using features such as:

  • fast, relevancy-based keyword search results;
  • spelling corrections and did-you-mean suggestions of alternate terms;
  • links to related resources;
  • faceted browsing to easily narrow down results; and
  • tools for saving and sharing searches and records.

The VuFind system is hosted by Andornot at https://nhalibrary.andornot.com

It provides users with a choice of themes, through a drop-down in the top right corner. The default theme is a modern one built with the Twitter Bootstrap responsive web framework, designed for desktop browsers as well as tablets and phones. An older theme is also available for older browsers, such as Internet Explorer 7 and 8, still in use in some agencies.

Contact us for more information about DB/TextWorks and VuFind.

Managing Digital Collections: A Presentation to Students

by Jonathan Jacobsen Tuesday, March 10, 2015 3:22 PM

Last night I had the pleasure of speaking to students at the School of Library, Archival and Information studies (aka iSchool) at the University of British Columbia. These students are taking LIBR 582: Digital Images and Text Collections and learning all the fundamentals of how to digitize materals, manage them, and provide online access. In particular, they are using Inmagic DB/TextWorks to build a database of digitized materials, and manage the metadata associated with them, as well as CONTENTdm from OCLC for web presentation.

In last night's class, I presented Andornot's common solutions for managing digital images and text. For those who missed the presentation, here's a recap.

Inmagic DB/TextWorks and an Andornot Starter Kit

We always recommend Inmagic DB/TextWorks as an easy to use database system for managing metadata about digitized objects, whether they are textual, photographic or audio-visual, and no matter whether born digitial or scanned from an analogue source. Paired with one of our starter kits, any library, archive, museum or other organization can be up and running in just a few hours. Information can be entered in simple data entry screens, by staff or volunteers, or imported from other sources.

Inmagic WebPublisher PRO

Inmagic's original web publishing platform, combined with an Andornot kit, can provide simple search access to a DB/TextWorks database. A modern web design can be applied so that the site can be used on tablets and phones. Features such as spelling corrections and facets are not available however.

Andornot Discovery Interface (AnDI)

The Andornot Discovery Interface (AnDI) uses the popular Apache Solr search engine to provide relevancy-ranked results, spelling corrections, and facets for search refinement. Websites built with AnDI include features for displaying images in various sizes, in list or gallery format, for embedding playback of audio and video files, and for viewing and browsing individual pages of digitized documents, with highlighting of search terms on the pages.

VuFind

The open-source VuFind discovery interface is very popular with academic and public libraries, and a growing number of special ones.

Inmagic Presto

Inmagic's current generation web publishing platform offers users the ability to configure their own screens and displays with no programming required, and now includes facets for search refinement.

Omeka

The open-source Omeka content management system can be used for metadata management as well as searching. It doesn't offer spelling corrections or facets for search refinement, but does provide a very easy to use web interface and an Exhibit Builder plug-in to develop exhibits of aspects of a collection.

More Special Libraries Choose Discovery Interfaces

by Jonathan Jacobsen Sunday, January 11, 2015 12:01 PM

More and more of Andornot's special library clients are choosing discovery interfaces for their library catalogues. With features such as:

  • fast, relevancy-based keyword search results;
  • spelling corrections and did-you-mean suggestions of alternate terms;
  • faceted browsing to easily narrow down results; 
  • tools for saving and sharing searches and records; and
  • integrated access from tablets, phones and other mobile devices;

discovery interfaces provide the search experience that users expect from all web applications these days, and especially library catalogues.

Some of Andornot's recent special library discovery interface projects include:

 

The Horizon Health Network libraries in New Brunswick recently merged four separate Inmagic DB/TextWorks-based library catalogues into a single, web-based Inmagic Genie integrated library system, with Andornot's assistance. Search access for health care staff is available through the Andornot Discovery Interface at http://horizonlibrary.andornot.com 

 

The Alberta Energy Regulator has just upgraded from an early version of the open-source VuFind discovery interface to the very latest version. This new site, at https://aer.andornot.com, features a modern, responsive web interface optimized for both full-size desktop browsers as well as tablets and phones. 

A second interface offers compatibility for older browsers, and the site is available in many languages, offering access to the widest range of users possible. AER manages library operations with Inmagic DB/TextWorks databases.

 

The Thunder Bay and Simcoe Muskoka Health Unit Libraries manage a multi-location library collection with Inmagic Genie, and provide search access with the VuFind discovery interface at https://ophc.andornot.com 

 

The Revs Institute for Automotive Research in Florida has made over 80,000 records from its Inmagic Genie library system available in a discovery interface powered by VuFind and hosted by Andornot at https://revscat.andornot.com

 

The Provincial Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired in British Columbia is about to launch an upgraded library catalogue using the Andornot Discovery Interface with custom features for online loan review by vision teachers and their visually-impaired students. PRCVI continues to manage library operations, including circulation and ordering, with a suite of Inmagic DB/TextWorks databases.

 

A large Ontario government ministry managing its library with the Inmagic Genie integrated library system added the Andornot Discovery Interface OPAC, in particular to comply with provincial legislation requiring software to meet accessibility standards and be usable by those with visual and other challenges.

Other Collections

Discovery interfaces are also ideal for other collections, such as archives, digitized historic documents, art galleries, museum artifacts, and more.  Some examples from Andornot's work include:

The United Farmers Historical Society collection of historic publications.

The Ontario Jewish Archives historic records, including a map interface.

The art and book collections of the Burnaby Art Gallery.

It's Your Turn!

We hope these examples will inspire you to review your library catalogue and other information sources, and consider an upgrade to a system with the features users expect in 2015. With several systems to choose from, and ever more features available, this is the year to make the switch. Contact us to discuss the best option for you and your users.

BC Teachers' Federation Launches TeachBC Resource Sharing Site

by Jonathan Jacobsen Tuesday, December 02, 2014 3:04 PM

The B.C. Teachers' Federation (BCTF) has launched a new website to enable BC teachers to share resources relevant to the K-12 BC curriculum. Called TeachBC, the site allows teachers to search for lesson plans, activities and other material, as well as upload their own teaching resources and research to share with their colleagues. 

TeachBC is publicly accessible at https://teachbc.bctf.ca and is in the early development stage. It is anticipated that this will grow quickly as BC teachers realize the value of the site as a one stop resource for quality classroom teaching resources.

Andornot developed this new site with the BCTF using a couple of our most popular technologies.

1. A pair of Inmagic DB/TextWorks databases are used as the initial data store for resource submissions. 

DB/TextWorks was selected as it's already in use and familiar to BCTF staff, and provides a quick and easy way of reviewing, editing and approving submissions.

2. The Andornot Discovery Interface (AnDI) powers the web search interface. 

Features such as spelling corrections, relevancy-ranked results and facets to refine a search help users find relevant resources quickly. 

Teachers can search by keyword, then narrow the results by grade, subject and resource type. A recommendation system allows teachers to mark resources they find most useful, and they can also easily Share them on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest. Download counts are also tracked to provide another indicator of popularity.

Teachers can create an account on the site and there is an online submission form which feeds into DB/TextWorks to submit resources for review by BCTF staff before they are available for viewing publicly.

Contact Andornot for more information on developing a search interface for your unique collections.

College of Registered Nurses of BC Offers Digitized Archives

by Jonathan Jacobsen Thursday, November 28, 2013 10:46 AM

The College of Registered Nurses of BC (CRNBC) celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012. To commemorate this milestone, a project was undertaken to digitize and make available online many decades of CRNBC publications, such as newsletters and annual reports. This collection documents the history of the college and the many nurses who contributed to its first 100 years, and perhaps most importantly, easily enables tracking of important decisions over the decades.

Printed copies of the publications were digitized by a service bureau, with Andornot then developing the online search and presentation system.

The new site is available at https://archives.crnbc.ca

As shown in the flowchart below, the workflow from print to online involved several stages and processes.

  • The service bureau scanned the documents to specifications developed by Andornot, producing thousands of high-resolution TIFF images – one image for each page of each publication – as well as associated XML in ALTO format containing the full text extracted from the scanned images through an OCR process. 
  • Andornot developed scripts to extract metadata from these many separate files, such as the name and date of the publication, and to generate images in different sizes as needed for the interface. We used PowerShell, ImageMagick and djvulibre for this.
  • Andornot developed a search engine using the Andornot Discovery Interface (AnDI) to provide the best possible keyword searching. 

The interface and features were tailored to the specific needs of this project:

  • Brief search results show details of the publication and a snippet of text showing the user’s search words highlighted, as well as a thumbnail image of the page containing the text, and facets to limit by date and publication. 
  • Clicking through to the full record shows the page in greater detail, but still with the search words highlighted. As well, the surrounding pages of the publication are also available allowing quick navigation through the entire publication. This was achieved through the use of the New York Times Document Viewer and custom programming to highlight text in an overlay layer.
  • A PDF of the full document is also available for download. Andornot created these by stitching together the separate images files for each page back together into a single file.
  • Permalinks allow users to easily bookmark and share specific pages and documents.

Often in a digitization project, the result might be a single PDF per publication. With this project, by having each page available as a separate image, we were more easily able to direct the user to the page and text they are most interested in, though they can still access a PDF of the entire document – the best of both worlds.

All of this complexity comes together to provide an elegant and intuitive interface for users.

A CRNBC staffer using the archive says, “This archive is awesome! We were able to search several decades of a policy issue in a short time, so we could draft an historical timeline showing policy changes right up to 2013! Searching this database saved us so much time.”

Contact Andornot for help with your own digitization project.

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