DB/TextWorks Still A Popular Choice for Teaching in Schools

by Jonathan Jacobsen Saturday, October 28, 2017 7:44 AM

Inmagic DB/TextWorks continues to be a popular software application taught in schools. For example, the Library Technician programs at Langara College and the University of the Fraser Valley in B.C, as well as at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, each include it in some of their cases.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking to students in the Library Technologies and Information Management class at Langara College. These budding library techs will learn to create a database for a class project using DB/TextWorks, hopefully with a bit of inspiration from the ideas I was able to share with them.

The image above shows screens from the Andornot Starter Kit, a ready-to-use DB/TextWorks database suitable for a small library.

Not all software has such longevity as DB/TextWorks, but I think this popular app endures because it remains unique in the market. For clients of ours with a modest budget who need to manage diverse kinds of information and don't have programming skills, it remains an excellent choice, once we heavily recommend to many clients.

We see it used in law firms to create and manage databases of experts, memos, precedents, boilerplate documents, corporate archives, and of course a traditional library catalogue. In hospitals, it's used to manage patient education materials, and libraries with a strong circulation component. Elsewhere, we see it used to manage museum artifact collections, archival documents, databases of digitized historic documents and audio-visual recordings. In municipalities, it manages bylaws, real estate development applications, council documents… the list is endless. 

There are many highly-specific database applications available, tailored to the needs of particular organizations (e.g. Inmagic Genie for specialized libraries, Lucidea's Argus for museums, etc.), but few tools that are as easy to use as DB/TextWorks that can be applied to managing any kind of information. Anyone can learn to create a database and snazzy search and edit screens and have a functional, aesthetically pleasing database in a very short time, with little technical aptitude needed. Managing this information is easy with the many built-in, pre-programmed features, such as validation lists, batch modifications, the URL checker, and so on.

Two other long-standing database programs are of course MS Access, included with almost every copy of the MS Office suite, and Apple's FileMaker. The former is practically free and so ubiquitous that many people use it out of necessity, while the latter is quite visually appealing and with many useful features. However, in our experience, both require a higher level of technical skills to really make useful. DB/TextWorks simply has more of the programming already done.

It's reasons like this that cause it to still be an excellent choice in many cases, when budgets and user skills are modest, and thus is well-worthwhile learning to use in a library technician or similar programm. Paired with a search interface like our Andornot Discovery Interface, VuFind, Omeka, or Inmagic Presto, it becomes a perfect back-end to a highly functional front-end, a great combination for managing and searching information.

Contact us to learn more about any of the above, or if you're a school or student and would like a trial version of DB/TextWorks to use.

Introducing a brand new service – video tutorials!

by Jonathan Jacobsen Wednesday, October 21, 2015 12:57 PM

We've been thinking about end users a lot lately, and how we can help improve their experiences with the web interfaces that we develop. We've always offered support to our clients, but wanted to also help our clients help theirs.

We are pleased to now offer the production of high quality end user training videos for our products and solutions. Videos can be made to provide help on any of the products that we offer, such as the Andornot Discovery Interface, VuFind, Andornot Starter Kits, Inmagic Genie, DB/TextWorks and Presto.

Our short, focussed videos give your end users a walk through of the major features of your search interface using your data. These allow users to learn much more quickly than reading through help files as they can actually see what the steps are to conduct an effective search.

The videos can also target different levels of searching. If your end users tend to be casual users, we can create a video that introduces them to the basics of searching—navigating the search interface, entering search terms, and using facets, for example – with other videos available for more advanced users conducting in-depth research.

Examples

The examples above are just a few of the videos we have produced for some of our own search interfaces. Our video training solutions are not limited to just our own applications. We can develop video tutorials for pretty much anything. We've seen the many ways that different end users try and accomplish tasks, and can help you help them navigate through the information resources they use daily.

Finished videos can be distributed via a YouTube channel, as we've done with the above, embedded in a search application, as we've done with http://archives.ufa.com/help, added to your intranet, or almost any other means you choose.

Recording a video can be challenging! Choosing the software to use, writing a script, recording and editing the final result, and then publishing it online all takes time. We have the tools, expertise and time to do this. We would always work with you to determine the aspects of your site or the records that you wish to showcase.

Why not let us help you make sure your end users can get the most from your online search interfaces! Contact us to discuss the possibilities today.

Tags: Training | video

Library and Archives Canada Announces New $7.5 Million Funding Program for Local Documentary Heritage Communities

by Jonathan Jacobsen Tuesday, June 16, 2015 11:25 AM

Library and Archives Canada has announced a new $7.5 million funding program for local documentary heritage communities.

This program is a great opportunity for archives, museums, historical societies and other cultural institutions to digitize their collections, develop search engines and virtual exhibits for them, and other activities that preserve and promote their valuable resources.

The objectives of the program are to:

  • Increase access to, and awareness of Canada's local documentary institutions and their holdings; and
  • Increase the capacity of local documentary heritage institutions to better sustain and preserve Canada's documentary heritage.

The program is aimed at non-governmental organizations specifically, including:

  • Archives;
  • Privately funded libraries;
  • Historical societies;             
  • Genealogical organizations/societies; 
  • Professional Associations; and
  • Museums with an archival component.

Businesses, government and government institution (including municipal governments and Crown Corporations), museums without archives, and universities and colleges are not eligible.

Types of projects which would be considered for funding include:

  • Conversion and digitization for access purposes;
  • Conservation and preservation treatment;
  • The development (research, design and production) of virtual and physical exhibitions, including travelling exhibits;
  • Conversion and digitization for preservation purposes;
  • Increased digital preservation capacity (excluding digital infrastructure related to day-to-day activities);
  • Training and workshops that improve competencies and build capacity; and
  • Development of standards, performance and other measurement activities.
  • Collection, cataloguing and access based management; and
  • Commemorative projects.

Two categories of funding available:

  • small projects under $15,000; and
  • large projects up to $100,000.

Further program details, requirements  and application procedures are available at http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/services/documentary-heritage-communities-program/Pages/dhcp-portal.aspx

The program runs from June 12 to September 4, 2015, so there's only a short window to prepare a proposal and seek funding.

How can Andornot help?

Andornot has worked with many clients on the types of projects which would qualify for this grant. Some examples are detailed in these blog posts:

We have extensive experience with digitizing documents, books and audio and video materials, and developing systems to manage those collections and make them searchable or presented in virtual exhibits.

Contact us to discuss collections you have and ideas for proposals. We'll do our best to help you obtain funding from this great new program.

Spring Training

by Denise Bonin Wednesday, January 04, 2012 11:18 PM

Baseball_clip_art_smallJust like baseball players, during Spring Training, you need to hone your skills with specialized training.  Not so you can hit a home run, catch a fly ball, or pitch a no-hitter.  As database users, searchers, and designers you need to learn the ins and outs of the program so you can score the right information in the fastest possible way and pitch it to your users in the best format.  Of course maximizing your return on investment will really score you points.

Andornot is pleased to offer another round of DB/TextWorks training sessions beginning Jan 12, 2012.  This is perfect for your New Year’s Resolution to become more proficient with the program that you probably use daily.

We are again offering a roster of Introductory, Advanced and Refresher training sessions in both January and March 2012.  See our Inmagic Training Schedule page on our website for more details.

And if you want to see which position you should play (or session you should take), check out our try-out camp quiz.

Our fall sessions were well attended and received solid endorsements in the follow-up survey with the majority of attendees indicating that they were Very Satisfied or Satisfied with all aspects of the sessions (from registration to instruction, cost, etc.).

So just like Tom Hanks yells in the movie A League of Their Own, “There is no crying in baseball”, there will be no crying following these sessions when you have all your bases covered.

Are you a long time Inmagic user? Test your knowledge with our DB/TextWorks Quiz!

by Kathy Bryce Monday, December 19, 2011 2:14 PM

From now until January 6th, 2012 the names of all those who complete the quiz will be entered in a draw to win a $50 Chapters gift card (or gift card from an equivalent online book store).  We will be contacting the winner by email so you must enter your name and a valid email address to win. Contest closes at at 5:00 pm Pacific Time on January 6th, 2012.

Visit www.andornot.com/quiz for your chance to win!

The quiz asks you very specific questions about using DB/TextWorks, with answers provided after each, along with some usage tips.  You can also review the correct answers when you complete the quiz. 

Feedback so far has been very positive:

  • “I enjoyed it very much!!! A good refresher and you should do it more often!”
  • “It was fun and nicely designed.  I would like to see more in the future.”
  • “Tricky, but good”

We plan to offer more quizzes next year on different topics.  We’ll also incorporate some of the findings into blog posts or newsletter articles as we’ve already noticed that many people get one particular question about date searching wrong. 

Please also check out our DB/TextWorks training schedule or contact us for an upgrade quote if you discover that your version does not have all the features covered in the quiz.

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