10 Ideas to Improve your Web Presence and Help Your Users Find You

by Jonathan Jacobsen Tuesday, September 25, 2018 8:40 AM

As the air gets crisper and precipitation drives us indoors, Fall is a great time to reflect and to find energy for new projects and adventures.

Have you thought about the web presence your museum, archive or library collection has? Are you providing users with modern tools to help them research your records and share them with others. Here are 10 ideas to read on a blustery Fall day, and that could add some sparkle to your website and online collections.

  1. Upgrade to a more modern search engine, such as our Andornot Discovery Interface, with features users expect when searching. For example, see how we helped Forestry Innovation Investment with their ThinkWood Research Library.
  2. Add ever more historic content to attract users interested in local history and genealogy, like the Arnprior & McNab/Braeside Archives did with back issues of the Arnprior Chronicle newspaper.
  3. Add a map interface so users can browse geographically, like the one we built for the Ontario Jewish Archives.
  4. Have lots of documents? Why not index the full text of them, then when a user searches for keywords, take them directly to the most relevant page in the PDF. No more downloading and repeating the search within the PDF to find the right page. Learn more.
  5. Get out in front of Community Engagement by adding the Disqus commenting system to your search results, so users can more easily discuss items in your collection, help identify people and places, and provide feedback to you.
  6. Make sure your website or search engine is mobile friendly. Google and other search engines now place mobile-friendly results higher in their rankings. And make sure you have a sitemap and permalinks so your collection can be easily indexed by Google and Bing.
  7. Planning to digitize large works, such as maps, paintings, or architectural drawings? Will users be able to see the fine detail in the resulting images on your website or in your search engine? Our Image Zoomer can help, by allowing users to easily zoom in on specific areas of a large image, without having to download that very large file.
  8. Is your website looking dated? Maybe it has the digital equivalent of large shoulder pads or flared pants? Time for a refresh? Let us help with a Content Management System and new graphic design, like we did recently for PRCVI (the BC Provincial Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired).
  9. Can't attract the attention of your own IT staff to help with your website or software? Why not have Andornot host it?
  10. On a tight budget? Consider our low-cost Digital History Hub platform for putting collections online and making virtual exhibits.

Contact us to discuss any of these ideas, and ones of your own.

New Website for the Provincial Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired

by Jonathan Jacobsen Wednesday, June 19, 2013 8:11 AM

The Provincial Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired (PRCVI) has launched a newly designed and built website. The site features up-to-date resources for teachers of the visually impaired, parents, and school district personnel working with blind and visually impaired students in British Columbia.

PRCVI WebsiteThe previous version of the website was in use for about three years, and was mostly generated from a DB/TextWorks database using canned queries for content for individual pages. While this unique approach allowed staff to use a program they are quite familiar with to update content, it didn't provide the level of control over page content that was needed.

The new version is a traditional website - several dozen pages in a three-level hierarchy. The site is a responsive HTML5 design built from the Bootstrap framework and designed to work equally well on both desktop browsers and mobile devices. It has also been tested to meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, which is especially important because PRCVI serves visually impaired users.

PRCVI continues to offer a library catalogue and database of vision teachers and other contacts through Inmagic DB/TextWorks and WebPublisher PRO and interfaces built from the Andornot Starter Kit, all tightly integrated into the new site.

"We are delighted with the newly upgraded and enhanced PRCVI website - Andornot have done a spectacular job, they were able to accommodate all our requirements and offer great suggestions at the planning stage.  We were so pleased with the initial design presented we needed to make very few changes. Now the website is so much easier to use, more visually appealing and inviting to our clients. Great job." Says Chris Marshall, Manager, Provincial Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired (PRCVI) and Accessible Resource Centre-British Columbia (ARC-BC).

Contact us to discuss upgrades to your website to meet current standards for accessibility and mobile access.

Capital Health in Halifax updates look and adds features

by Denise Bonin Friday, November 30, 2012 10:18 AM

It started with a simple request… “Could you help us add permalinks to our web Catalogue textbase records?”, but it ended with 3 new textbase interfaces, an ordering cart, a mobile interface, the ability to add records to RefWorks and, of course, permalinks.

At the beginning of this project with the Capital Health Library, it was quickly determined that, given the age of the current web-interface, adding permalinks to the records could only be accomplished using canned searches with rather long URLs.  That was rejected and a discussion ensued that resulted in the addition of many new features to the site.

Out with the old and in with the new. We started with the backend by revising the textbase data structures and ditching a bunch of unused fields and forms for the Catalogue and Pamphlets textbases.  The Catalogue had a separate interface for journal check-in and item ordering, which was also revamped.  Using the Andornot Starter Kit for Inmagic’s DB/TextWorks, we were able to provide nice clean desktop screens with a minimal number of forms, including a couple of links to saved sets from the menu screen, e.g. new catalogue items added in the past 30 days.  Given that the Capital Health library staff were already familiar with the Inmagic DB/TextWorks program, it was not a big jump to start using these new desktop interfaces and they adapted quite quickly. 

Screen shot of Pamphlets textbase search resultsMore clean up and integration. The web-interface overhaul followed using the Andornot Starter Kit for Inmagic’s WebPublisher PRO.  This included new search screens, brief report forms, and full display forms with “see also” links and Permalinks for the Catalogue, Journals and Pamphlets interfaces.  All of which was nicely integrated into the Capital Health Library website template.  Google book covers and links to Google Books were made available on both report and full display forms in the Catalogue.  Users of both the Catalogue and the Pamphlet textbases now have the ability to add items to a cart, for ordering, and/or Email, Save and Print.  In addition, within the interfaces, users can also link to selected websites, e-books, e-journals or to in-house PDF files.  Quick links to the other textbases and back to the Library website are readily available on every page.

Go-small-and-go-home. Why not let the users have access to the systems wherever they are located, even if it is on the bus, in the hospital, or at home?  Using the mobile version of the Andornot Starter Kit, we added a couple of mobile interfaces.  These included the Catalogue textbase as a whole, with all its links to e-books, e-journals, Google Books, websites, etc. as well as a separate journal subset.

Screen Shot of Catalogue textbase of RefWorks LinkResearch counts. A slight delay in the launch occurred when it was discovered that RefWorks was a big part of the Capital Health library world, but that it took about 10 steps to implement this in order to get catalogue records into RefWorks.  Some coding later and we were able to add the RefWorks feature to the Email, Save and Print portion of the cart allowing a much smoother path from catalogue to bibliography.

“We got much more than we expected when we asked about Permalinks! We now have an ordering system for our patient pamphlets, a direct-to-RefWorks button and mobile-ready search pages for our catalogue and our journals. All of this is based on the Inmagic software that our staff know so well. Andornot worked with our Information Technology department to get us to a new level of service. The look and feel is close to what our users know, so there is limited change for them, but behind the scenes, we now have more searchable fields, simpler systems, and, of course those Permalinks! All in all, an excellent experience!”
Penny Logan, Capital Health Manager Library Services

Future ready. With all these new features now in place the library is well positioned to move into the future, providing the Capital Health staff with an abundance of new information access options. 

Canadian Jewish Heritage Network Launches Enhanced Search and Mobile Interface

by Jonathan Jacobsen Monday, June 25, 2012 5:15 PM

In June 2011, Andornot helped launch a new website and database for the Canadian Jewish Heritage Network. This site uses the Umbraco CMS to provide information on Canadian Jewish history, and includes two databases of archival and genealogical information, powered by Inmagic WebPublisher PRO and DB/TextWorks.

This June we’ve helped upgrade the site with two new features: an enhanced, multi-database search, and a mobile interface.

Enhanced, Multi-Database Search

The enhanced search is available on the Explore page and uses the Apache Solr search engine to index and search the two separate Inmagic databases (which remain available on the site). Results from both databases are integrated and sorted by relevance, using the sophisticated algorithms in Solr to present the best matches to the user. This feature is particularly useful to genealogical researchers as a “Did you mean” capability can alert them to misspellings or name variations. For example:

CJHN OneSearch

Mobile Interface

IMG_0467To access the mobile interface, simply open www.cjhn.ca in your mobile browser. You’ll be automatically redirected to the mobile view, with all the same content as the full site, but formatted to fit the smaller view of a mobile device.

The mobile view was created by extending the Umbraco CMS with additional templates and stylesheets. This allows CJHN to write content once, but display it in the format most suitable to the viewer.

Contact Andornot to upgrade your own web application to feature a mobile view or enhanced search options.

Is your web interface mobile friendly?

by Kathy Bryce Tuesday, January 10, 2012 8:14 AM

Odds are that your website will be viewed on a tablet or smart phone.  The Washington Post reported that “The last week in 2011 was the biggest ever for Android and iOS. According to mobile app analytics company Flurry, over 20 million devices were activated between Christmas and New Year, and 1.2 billion apps were downloaded. That's about 60 percent higher than every week of December before Christmas, and marks the largest number of apps ever downloaded in a single week, passing a billion downloads for the first time.”

Have you tested how your website looks on a mobile device?  There are free resources for this such as iPad-Emulator.com for the iPad, or the Opera Mobile Emulator.  See also a more comprehensive list - The Best Mobile Emulators & Responsive Design Testing Tools ... .

In many cases, search screens will work and function well in a mobile browser, but you may wish to create a search screen optimized for smaller screens, just to make the experience that much better. See our blog post WorkSafeBC Launches Mobile Version of Library Catalogue for an example.

Although we don’t recommend substituting a PDF for a search of your database, sometimes this can be useful for fairly static content, i.e. for recommended lists of web resources, or archival finding aids. Most software has a Save As PDF option and if not, there are many free printer drivers such as PrimoPDF or PDFCreator that let you print to PDF very easily.   The good news is that your PDF’s can be opened on mobile devices and manipulated using a touch screen.  As well as enlarging for easier reading, with apps like iBooks or Kindle you can also view thumbnails and flip through or bookmark pages. Features such as highlighting or annotating are not available though.  Your PDF’s can be saved into libraries and synced with iTunes or other devices.  So while not all the interactive features of a custom app are available, it’s worth reminding your users of this capability for viewing your PDF’s. 

If you need assistance making changes to your website to accommodate mobile devices or decide to create a mobile-specific site, please be sure to contact us.

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