Inmagic Releases Version 16 of DB/TextWorks, WebPublisher PRO and DB/Text for SQL

by Jonathan Jacobsen Monday, July 31, 2017 8:39 AM

Inmagic has released version 16 of the very popular and long-standing DB/TextWorks database management system, and the companion WebPublisher PRO web search interface. Several new features, as well as issues fixed from previous releases, continue to make this software great value for our clients.

New features include:

  • Sorting – When specifying sort fields, you now have the option to sort empties last. Before, records where the sort field was empty could only be listed first or omitted. Since this option does not change the perceived number of records in the report, it is also available for the textbase Default Sort Order and for WebPublisher reports.
  • Form Designer – WebPublisher reports can now easily link from a small image on a web page (a thumbnail) to the full size image. The new option is on the HTML tab of the Picture Box Properties dialog box.
  • Adding/Editing Records – When editing a Link field, a new type of box permits you to browse the values in a field other than the Link field, making it easier to select the record you want to link to. For example, you can display the list of Borrower Names, and clicking a name will paste that user’s employee ID into the Link field box.
  • Select All (Ctrl+A) – This keyboard shortcut now behaves as it does in nearly every other product. You can use it to select all the text in a box, all the boxes on a form or screen, all the text in the Command Query window, or all the annotations on an image. In previous releases, Ctrl+A was used for Redo. Redo now uses Ctrl+Y. 
  • Edit Textbase Structure – The Edit Fields dialog box has two new features:
    • Sort Field List by – This feature permits you to sort the Field List by Field Name, or by Field Type.
    • Hide <Deleted> Fields – This option permits you to hide the <Deleted> items so they do not clutter up the display.
    • Note: Both are display-only features to make it easier to find and work with the fields you want to modify. Neither affects the actual field order specified in the structure.

Other issues addressed include:

  • Print Images – If a textbase has multiple Image fields, and you print only the images from a specific field, blank pages are no longer printed for any images specified in the other fields.
  • Report window – Addressed an issue with the records sometimes not being visible past the first page when you held down the mouse scroll wheel then dragged the mouse.
  • Send Report as Mail – Improved the handling of multiple email addresses when using the "Mail to addresses specified in records" feature.
  • Textbase Information – Addressed an issue where longer short date formats caused the year to be truncated in the "Current date" specified at the top of this display.
  • Toolbar icons – The icons for Vertical Tile and Horizontal Tile were backwards in previous releases. This issue has been corrected, and the options have been renamed to "Show Windows Side by Side" and "Show Windows Stacked" to make their behavior clearer.
  • Form Designer – Addressed an issue with the Box Properties dialog box crashing when a box included an extremely large Fixed Text or Added Text string (usually HTML).
  • Textbase Information – Removed Windows Group Memberships from Textbase Information and "About this Computer System".
  • WebPublisher Browse Choices – The buttons have been optimized; for example, we've added an "Add & Close" button so that users no longer need to click "Add" then "Close".

If you upgrade from a version prior to 15 directly to 16, be sure to read the instructions about the necessary upgrade to your textbases as well as the software. If you're already using version 15 or 15.5, you’ll have done this already.

Clients with a current Inmagic maintenance subscription will receive emails from advantage@inmagic.com with instructions for downloading this release. As always, contact Andornot with any questions about this new release, to check the status of your maintenance subscription, or for help upgrading.

How to Import Data from Inmagic DB/TextWorks into Omeka

by Jonathan Jacobsen Monday, July 03, 2017 7:40 AM

Last week we published a blog post on our favourite Omeka plugins. This week we focus on one in particular, the CSV Import plugin. This plugin is included in every site hosted through Digital History Hub, our low-cost Omeka hosting platform.

One of Omeka's many strengths is the built-in data entry screens, based on Dublin Core fields. While there's a small learning curve to understanding DC, once mastered, it provides just the right set of metadata to describe anything you might want to put in an Omeka site, whether an artifact, photograph, document, map, etc.

But what if you already have a database of this sort of information and want to publish most or all of it in an Omeka site? Perhaps you're using the ever-popular Inmagic DB/TextWorks database management system, but don't yet have your records searchable online, or want to use Omeka's Exhibit Builder plug-in to mount an online virtual exhibit featuring a portion of your collection. Re-entering all that metadata into Omeka one record a time would be onerous. This is where the CSV Import plug-in comes in!

As the name implies, this plugin allows you to quickly import many records in a batch from a text file. You simply choose a suitable text file, map fields from your source into Omeka's Dublin Core schema, set a few other values and very quickly your records will be available in Omeka for review, further editing or simply ready for searching. The only main feature missing from this plugin is the ability to import PDFs, documents, photos and other media files that are saved locally on your computer or network. To bulk import these files, they need to be accessible on a web server with a URL to the file in your database. Note that this may not be as challenging to set up as you may think; there are always ways to work around issues like this, so don't hesitate to contact us for help.

Here's a step by step guide to using this plug-in with DB/TextWorks and Omeka. The procedure for exporting data from other databases will vary of course, but the principles remain the same. As always, do contact us for help !

Mapping Fields

Start by reviewing Omeka's Dublin Core fields on the Item entry screen and think about where data from your database should go. 

You may want to prepare a simple two column list mapping fields from your data source into the Dublin Core fields, like this:

DB/TextWorks Field Name Omeka Dublin Core Field Name
Title Title
Material Type Format
Author Creator
Corporate Author Creator
Publication Date Date
ISBN Identifier

etc.

You don't need to populate every Omeka DC field of course, just the ones that make sense for your data. And you can merge multiple fields from your database into one Dublin Core field in Omeka. To learn more about each DC field, read the brief note on the Omeka data entry screen, or visit http://dublincore.org/documents/dces/ for more detailed information.

Note that there is also a plugin called Dublin Core Extended Fields which adds even more fields. If you have a particularly complex database and feel the need to preserve and fully represent all or most fields, this might be for you. In our view, though, keeping things simple is better, and was precisely why DC was developed, to have a brief, common set of fields that could be used to describe almost anything.

Choosing Data to Export

When you get to the step of importing records into Omeka, you have the option of assigning one Item Type to all incoming records, and only one. The Item Type determines which additional metadata elements are available when editing the record. For example, the "Still Image" Item Type adds fields for Original Format and Physical Dimensions. If your source data contains information that is available in these extended fields and you wish to import it, or add it after by editing imported records in Omeka, you may wish to export records in groups by Item Type. E.g. all "still images", then all "Moving Images", etc. You can then import these in batches and specify the correct Item Type for each. The additional fields specific to that Item Type will then be available for import from your source data.

Exporting From DB/TextWorks

If your data contains special characters like accented letters or letters from outside the Latin alphabet, the file must be encoded as UTF-8 for Omeka to import it correctly. DB/TextWorks offers several text encoding options, so before exporting data, choose Tools > Options > Text Encoding and under "Output file encoding", choose the UTF-8 option (applies to v15.0 or later of DB/TextWorks).

To export a selection of records, search for them first, then select File > Export. 

Save the file somewhere handy, with a .txt or .csv extension. 

In the Export Options dialogue, make the following choices:

Export File Format: Delimited ASCII

Delimiter options:

Record Separator {CR}{LF}

Entry Separator |

Quote Character "

Field Separator , (only commas are supported for import)

Select the "Store Field Names in First Row" option

If any of your fields are of the type Rich Text, be sure to export those as HTML. That HTML can be preserved during the import to Omeka by selecting the HTML option for the field on Step 2 of the import (see below).

Records to Export: choose to export either the records you searched for with "Export Current Record Set" or the entire database with "Export Entire Textbase"

Fields to Export: select only those fields that you included in your field mapping

Optionally you can save these options as a profile for re-use again later.

Complete the export and note how many records were exported (so you can verify that the same number are imported into Omeka).

Importing Data into Omeka

With the export to a comma-separated text file complete, login to your Omeka site and select the CSV Import option in the menu. If that option isn't available, you'll need to install and activate this plugin first.

In Step 1 of the CSV Import, select your exported data file, then set the following options on this page:

If your database field names happen to be identical to those in Omeka and have “DublinCore” in their names (e.g. DublinCore:Title), you can select the Automap Column Names to Elements option. For all others (most of you!), deselect this option.

If importing different types of records in batches, select the Item Type appropriate to each batch.

Choose the following delimiters to match your export from DB/TextWorks:

Column Delimiter , (matches the Field Separator in the DB/TextWorks export)

Tag Delimiter | (matches the Entry Separator in the DB/TextWorks export)

File Delimiter | (matches the Entry Separator in the DB/TextWorks export)

Element Delimiter | (matches the Entry Separator in the DB/TextWorks export)

Optionally, choose to assign all items to a Collection or make all items Public. 

If you're importing a large number of records, you probably don't want to Feature all of them, as it's more common to select a small set of Items to feature on the home page of Omeka.

Continue to the next step.

In Step 2, you will select the Omeka DC fields into which your data source fields will be imported, using your field mapping as a guide. 

Click the Use HTML checkbox if this data includes HTML markup (e.g. if it's a Rich Text Format field in DB/TextWorks and during export, you included that field and chose to export it as HTML).

For source fields which contain tags, select the Tags option instead of selecting a field to import the data to.

For source fields which contain URLs to files, select the Files option instead of selecting a field to import the data to. This will cause the import to fetch those files and add them to Omeka. Fetching many large files will take quite a while, so if this is your very first import, you might be best to try importing just a small data set with or even without this files option, to work out kinks in your whole procedure.

Reviewing Imported Data

If you imported a small number of records, you can review each one. If you imported a large number, you may wish to spot check a random sample, to make sure all the data ended up where you expected it, that records are public or not, featured or not, in a collection or not, etc.

If there are problems, the Undo Import feature is your new best friend. Find it back in the CSV Import plugin and use it to remove the records just imported.

Need Help?

Need help with any of this? Contact Andornot and we'll be glad to work with you on this.

 

 

Richmond Archives Adds Name Origins Resource to Online Search

by Jonathan Jacobsen Tuesday, June 06, 2017 9:51 AM

I live in Richmond, part of the Metro Vancouver Regional District, and have an interest in local history, so I was particularly interested when Andornot was asked by the City of Richmond Archives to help with a project on the origins of Richmond place names. 

The City of Richmond Archives is a long time user of Inmagic DB/TextWorks for managing their collections, and were instrumental in developing the set of linked databases that became our Andornot Archives Starter Kit. Over the past couple years we’ve helped the Archives upgrade their Inmagic WebPublisher-based online search system, which is available at http://archives.richmond.ca/archives/descriptions/ 

The new Name Origins search, available at http://archives.richmond.ca/archives/places/ features almost 500 records (and growing) that document and describe the history of Richmond streets, roads, bridges, neighbourhoods, and other landmarks. It’s easy to search by keyword or by type of place, and whenever possible, a Google map of the named place is shown. This database is updated by the Friends of the Richmond Archives, volunteers with a passion for local history. Launching this new database online was made possible through the Richmond Canada 150 Community Celebration Grant Allocations. 

As I worked in the web search interface to the database, I couldn’t help but search for places in my neighbourhood and around Richmond, and become captivated by the history of them. Now community members can access this information 24-7 and learn the history behind the names of streets, areas, and landmarks in their community.

Contact Andornot for options for your Inmagic databases and for search engines and other software to make your collections accessible online.

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.

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