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! 

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.

Burnaby Art Gallery Online Collections Now Include Public Art

by Jonathan Jacobsen Wednesday, April 01, 2015 2:26 PM

The Burnaby Art Gallery is a long-time Inmagic user and was one of the first of Inmagic’s clients to adopt our Andornot Discovery Interface (AnDI). This innovative tool was used as the basis of a new public search of the BAG’s collections, including artworks and books and printed materials in a reading room at the gallery. Features such as spelling corrections and facets, combined with a gallery style layout of art, help researchers, curators at other galleries and the public appreciate the BAG’s collections from afar.

Recently the BAG was tasked with cataloguing the many works of art in public settings, such as parks, city streets and local institutions. Over 100 of these works, many of them unique sculptures, have been catalogued, photographed and located by means of a latitude and longitude. This information is all stored in the gallery’s Inmagic DB/TextWorks system.

Records for these public art works are now available in the search engine. Click here to view the public art specifically. While viewing a work, a “View in Google Maps” link is available to geolocate the art and help you plan a trip to see it in person.

Ironically, and delightfully, the work of public art shown in the screenshot above is called ‘The Search Engine’ and is described as:

This large hybrid sculpture of metal and plants … is a public artwork which recognizes the legend of the train engine which sank into Still Creek 100 years ago. This sculpture connects the adjacent Skytrain with the hidden history of the area. The 45 degree angle of the sculpture evokes a train either sinking or emerging from the soils.

Contact us to learn more about AnDI and how it can enhance discovery of your unique resources.

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.

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