Arnprior Archives' Virtual Exhibit: 150 Years of Living Off the Land

by Jonathan Jacobsen Thursday, August 10, 2017 5:27 PM

As part of the country-wide celebrations of Canada's 150th birthday, the Arnprior & McNab/Braeside Archives undertook a project to celebrate 150 years of local agriculture, harvesting, production and similar activities in their area. Entitled "150 Years of Living Off the Land", the project involved research and extensive interviews with McNab/Braeside families who are producing maple syrup, honey, alpaca wool products, and vegetables, from large to very small scale producers.

The results were assembled into a virtual and physical exhibit that explores the connection between what settlers produced in the early days in the Township and what local producers are making today. Living successfully off the land means different things today than it did before confederation. 

"Learning that many years ago there was a cheese factory in Glasgow Station, not far from the current Municipal Hall, is information not many remember. Archives are the windows to our past which created the present and future." -- Tom Peckett - Mayor of McNab Braeside

The exhibit is available at https://www.adarchives.org/exhibits/150-years-of-living-off-the-land/

[A page in the exhibit with photos, quotes, interview clips and transcripts.]

The initial reaction from the community has been very positive, with comments in a guest book such as "fabulous, neat work, thanks!" and "great exhibit - very interesting".

Andornot worked with archives staff to provide a web application for mounting the virtual exhibit. Using the Umbraco Content Management System, we developed page layouts, colour choices, and features to play back the recorded interviews, all within the existing archives website.

This system may be used by the archives for more exhibits in the future, by re-using the page layouts and other work done for this project.

[The project team at the launch on Canada Day of "150 Years of Living Off the Land". From left to right: Ella Hartwick, Laurie Dougherty, Matt Regan and Dianne Brearley.]

Andornot offers a variety of options for mounting virtual exhibits, using Umbraco or the Omeka system available through our Digital History Hub site. Contact us with your ideas for an exhibit and we'll help you choose the right system and walk you through getting it going.

Refresh for the Arnprior & McNab/Braeside Archives website and collections search.

by Kathy Bryce Thursday, December 08, 2016 1:36 PM

The Arnprior & McNab/Braeside Archives (AMBA) is a small community archive outside Ottawa run by a part time archivist, a management board and volunteers.  In 2015 they were faced with several challenges. Their website was very dated looking and over the years the template had not been consistently applied resulting in different menu links and layouts from page to page. Changes with their software vendor meant their interface to search the collections was being hosted in England, and they had no statistics on usage.  It was definitely time for a refresh! They applied for and received a grant from the Documentary Heritage Communities Program (DHCP) funded by Library and Archives Canada (LAC).  Andornot worked with AMBA to scope out and provide a detailed proposal that was submitted with their application.

This was an extensive project that vastly improved the functionality offered to both AMBA on the administrative side, and to the public and researchers through the web. “We are extremely pleased to be able to offer a fresh, new search interface to our researchers. The team at Andornot was able to provide advice and expertise over the planning and development stages to help completely redefine our web presence”. AMBA

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Before and after screenshots.

Andornot setup a new website hosted on Andornot servers with a content management system using the open source Umbracosoftware.  A simple new and responsive template was applied that coordinated with the colors of the AMBA logo, and the pages were adjusted to fit the new site navigation.  AMBA can now easily update content on any page themselves, thus allowing them to now regularly add updates for events and current news.

AMBA were using an old version of Inmagic DB/TextWorks.  The software was upgraded to the current version, and descriptions data converted to the latest Andornot Archives Starter Kit. This includes a Research Requests database which AMBA volunteers are using to input details of enquiries received and to better track statistics.

The major upgrade was the creation of a single search capability using the Andornot Discovery Interface (AnDI) covering not only the AMBA archival descriptions but also a large collection of digitized bylaws, PDF’s of virtual exhibits and newspaper columns from a local historian.   The bylaws had already been digitized but were not accessible to researchers.  Fortunately the PDF files had been consistently named, and Andornot was able to extract the bylaw title, number and data from the filename to populate the metadata for each automatically thus saving valuable staff time.  A manual process is now almost complete to rename a small set of the 4,000 files that had typos or other issues. 

As with any project involving thousands of records and images there are always some issues, and we have recently completed adjusting the system to account for the many previously digitized image files which include non web safe characters such as &’s, apostrophes and other punctuation.  For clients embarking on any new digitization project we have guidelines for naming and formatting conventions. The Archives reported that they are “very pleased that the process to load the images has been greatly simplified, as Andornot automatically resizes and watermarks the images” so multiple versions are no longer required.

Many of the early Town of Arnprior bylaws date from the mid 1900’s and are handwritten.  However all the bylaws from 1975 on were run through an OCR process and are now full text searchable, though sometimes the original digitization was of poor quality.   Once a Bylaw or other PDF is retrieved, a snippet of the text is displayed with the search term shown in context.  The user can click to view the PDF which displays the pages with hits highlighted, or can click to download the document.

The new AnDI search interface provides researchers with excellent access to a wealth of historical information available through the Archves, and allows users to create a list of selected records and to share photos on Facebook or Pinterest.  Archives staff are delighted that “the new interface makes it easier for researchers to conduct searches and explore the featured virtual exhibits and resources sections of the website.”

AMBA is hoping to receive more funding in the future to continue to add more digitized documents.  Please contact Andornot if you’d like to discuss how we can help you refresh your site and search capabilities!

Canadian Jewish Heritage Network Launches

by Jonathan Jacobsen Monday, June 13, 2011 3:46 PM

The Canadian Jewish Congress Charities Committee National Archives (CJCCCNA) and the Jewish Public Library Archives (JPL-A) are proud to announce the launch of a new website, The Canadian Jewish Heritage Network, at www.cjhn.ca.

3 The Canadian Jewish Heritage Network Search Results As two of the major organizations involved in Canadian Jewish historical research, both located in Montreal, CJCCCNA and JPL-A preserve the memory of Quebec and Montreal’s poets and politicians, its artists and activists, its builders and teachers, its families and philanthropists. Their users can now visit the collections from the comfort of their own desks, searching the online catalogue for archival collections dating from the 18th century onwards. Using the site's selection cart, users can select, e-mail, print or order archival material directly from the web.

More than 25,000 database records from these archival collections are currently online, as well as over 1,500 digitized historic photographs and archival documents. Many complete multi-page documents are available in PDF format. The digitized documents currently online include minutes, annual reports, anniversary publications, sermons, and ephemeral material.

Users of the site can also delve into the CJHN's genealogical research database, which already contains close to 50,000 genealogical records and over 5,000 associated images.

“What you see now on this website is a seamless blend of two repositories' holdings; actually a virtual ‘mind-meld’ of two institutions into a single functional entity helping researchers. Through designing the web site together it has now become natural for us to consult each other in areas of archival acquisition and even software and equipment purchases, sometimes acquiring a digitization tool in one location and trading services with each other.”

Janice Rosen, Archives Director, Canadian Jewish Congress Charities Committee National Archives

Andornot assisted with this project in many ways, including:

  • creating the website using the Umbraco Content Management System;
  • developing an archival database based on the Andornot Archives Starter Kit, as well as a separate genealogical database, to hold data from multiple different sources submitted by participating institutions;
  • developing data import procedures to allow staff at each organization to keep the live databases up-to-date with their local collections; and
  • hosting the website and databases and providing ongoing support and updates.

 

“Archives are not really about the past, rather we must constantly plan for the future: how will we preserve this for another five hundred years; who is going to use this archive fifty years from now; what will they need and why and so on. With this in mind we know that we will continue to push the limits of the CJHN site. With the help of Andornot's services we are assured that CJHN will grow not just in digital content but also in partners, in use, relevance and profile.”

 

Shannon Hodge, Archivist, Jewish Public Library Archives

“The CJHN is a model for honouring and preserving our history and traditions – not by locking it away in a dusty archive – but by celebrating, cultivating and sustaining our history for a stronger Canadian Jewish future. The core message of building directly on our communal memory to shape and improve our communal future is a truism that we all should keep in mind.”

Benjamin Shinewald, National Executive Director, General Counsel and Acting CEO of CJCCC

New site design for RCVO@Volunteer Alberta

by Denise Bonin Thursday, June 09, 2011 9:48 AM

The collection of the Resource Center for Volunteer Organizations (RCVO) has recently come under the management of Volunteer Alberta.  The resources, which focus on the volunteer and nonprofit sector, are available at http://rcvo.org and are hosted by Andornot.  While the collection itself has not changed a great deal from under its previous management, the website interface has been completely redesigned and features a lively new look. 

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The site uses the Umbraco content management system to allow RCVO  staff to easily add and modify site content.  Andornot assisted RCVO in the selection of a website design and its development.  Access to the collection is via the Inmagic WebPublisher PRO search interface, with quick and advanced search screens.  A popular feature are the pages of canned searches available as Quick Subject Searches on the quick search page.  An RSS feed is available on the new catalogue additions and Google Book Covers and links augment the site.

A user searching the collection can add items to a cart as well as bookmark or copy the link for each item via its permalink.  The RCVO collection continues to be part of the Canadian Non-profit Library Network along with Imagine Canada and Volunteer Calgary making its combined collection the largest source of materials for this sector in Canada.  RCVO staff commented:

We have long been working on a website update, and are pleased to have it available for the nonprofit/voluntary sectors. Our ability to link with Imagine Canada and Volunteer Calgary’s library collections makes us an excellent hub for information relevant to the nonprofit/voluntary sector.”

Fraser Health Library Launches Resource Rich Site

by Denise Bonin Wednesday, June 08, 2011 10:52 AM

Fraser Health, with its 13 hospitals and 5 main and 8 smaller library locations, is one of the largest Authorities in British Columbia in terms of population served and health and medical resources collectively held.  The web-interface for the library catalogue, which has been hosted by Andornot since 1999, has just been recently completely revamped. 

The new site, at http://library.fraserhealth.ca, uses the Umbraco content management system, allowing authorized library staff from any location to quickly add and change content on the site.  The new catalogue interface features quick and advanced search pages as well as an RSS feed for recent acquisitions on the Quick Search page.  Fraser Health staff can search the catalogue, add selected items to an ordering cart and send in a request for delivery to their nearest hospital library location. 

One of the fabulous new features of the site is the Subject Guides.  Fraser Health Librarian Niki Baumann coordinates this area and has moved all the information from individual BlogSpot websites.  She has completely revamped the interfaceFHAsite to this resource rich area of the website by dividing each Subject Guide topic into What’s New, Journals, Books, Databases and Websites and has used the catalogue’s permalink feature to link from the featured new books to the actual record in the catalogue.  The pages are kept constantly up-to-date with embedded RSS feed headlines from various journal websites, with the links to the titles available directly by IP address authentication if within the hospital locations or via a user name and password from outside the hospital.   These resources are now readily accessible to all Fraser Health professionals, from their offices, their homes or on the road. 

During the launch of the site the library staff encouraged users to “play” with the new site and designed a series of questions requiring users to search the catalogue database in order to find the answers.  Once the survey was completed, the user’s name was entered into a draw for a 4GB USB Drive.

Staff are thrilled with the new catalogue and web site.  We all feel like proud parents who have collectively given birth to a beautiful new child.  The catalogue includes additional special features that allow the user to search for items by format or site with ease.  The site is more streamlined and cleaner, yet offers more content." comments Linda Howard, Interim Library Manager.

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