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.

VuFind 1.4 Released with Features for Archives

by Jonathan Jacobsen Wednesday, January 30, 2013 1:36 PM

Version 1.4 of VuFind, a leading open-source discovery interface, has just been released. Andornot recommends VuFind as a great tool for integrating content from library catalogues and other databases and making it searchable with features and tools users expect from a web interface, such as:

  • spelling corrections and "did you mean?" suggestions of alternate terms and records;
  • facets, such as subject and author, to quickly refine a search;
  • options to save, email, bookmark and share searches and results; and
  • integrated content from external sources, such as book covers, reviews, and author biographies.

With version 1.4, a new "collections" feature makes VuFind an excellent choice for a discovery interface for archival and similar collections where information is arranged hierarchically (e.g. fonds, series, item, etc.).

These are two excellent examples of hierarchical collections within a VuFind system:

A more general VuFind demo is available at http://vufind.org/demo

More information about VuFind is available from this page and the VuFind website.

Contact Andornot to discuss how a discovery interface can provide the best search experience and features for your users, no matter what type of information it includes.

 

AnDI–A New Discovery Interface from Andornot

by Jonathan Jacobsen Thursday, July 05, 2012 9:26 AM

Andornot has been championing discovery interfaces as the next generation of search interface for online collections for the past few years. We firmly believe they provide the best means for connecting users with the ever-growing amount of resources available online. While they have been widely adopted by public and academic libraries, and many other online content providers, they are not yet often used as the search interface for more specialized collections.

We’re pleased to announce the availability of a solution specifically designed for these situations: AnDI, the Andornot Discovery Interface.

AnDI-featuresAnDI is a web application based on both the Apache Solr search engine and our own extensive experience in developing search interfaces.

It provides the features users expect in a search interface in 2012, including:

  • relevancy-based search results;
  • automatic search term stemming and spelling corrections; and
  • facets to allow refinement of those results.

The intention is to deliver the most useful resources to the user in their initial search, but allow them to quickly narrow down the results further.

Great for Libraries, Archives, Museums and Other Collections

While other discovery interface systems, such as VuFind, are ideal for bibliographic data, AnDI works well with all descriptive formats. AnDI’s search index is based on the Dublin Core metadata standard, to accommodate materials described in many different ways. This includes archival descriptions, museum artifact records, bibliographic records, and more. By mapping fields from different data sources into the Dublin Core schema, almost anything can be made discoverable through AnDI.

AnDI includes permalinks and social bookmarking features to help users act on the results they find. Additional features are available to customize AnDI for specific projects (details are in our AnDI data sheet).

AnDI is a great choice for all organizations wishing to update their online collections to a system that meets their users’ expectations for a search experience.

Data Sources

AnDI can utilize a variety of data sources. This allows clients to retain their familiar legacy systems such as Inmagic DB/TextWorks, MS Access, Excel or other proprietary software for all data entry and other administrative tasks, and yet provide their end users with a sophisticated front end web interface. AnDI can also be tied into SQL Server for a completely web based application for both data entry and searching.

Example Sites

More Information

Further technical details and a data sheet with features and system requirement is available here.

Please contact us to discuss how to upgrade your search interface to AnDI, VuFind or a similar solution.

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