Online ordering project - Lincoln Center Institute

by Administrator Monday, May 16, 2005 11:47 AM
Spring 2005: Andornot has recently upgraded our schools online ordering project for the Lincoln Center Institute in New York. Lincoln Center Institute (LCI) is an arts and education organization whose approach is based on aesthetic education and the writings of such innovators as John Dewey and Maxine Greene. The Institute works in partnership with pre-K through grade twelve educators and degree-granting teacher education programs, and provides numerous professional development opportunities.

LCI, a national leader in arts and education, has been a model for organizations across the nation and abroad. Since its inception it has served over 2.7 million students and some 50,000 educators.

In past years, when Spring came around, LCI would prepare and mail out a hard copy annotated catalog of resource materials to support the Institute's work in their Focus Schools and Teacher Education collaboratives. Resource co-ordinators at these schools would then have 2 months to place their orders for delivery by the time the new school year started in the Fall. LCI staff worked with emails, faxes, Excel spreadsheets etc. to manage the ordering process for multiple titles for 20 or so different schools within this tight timeframe.

In early 2004 Andornot designed an online ordering system using WebPublisher PRO to streamline and enhance this workflow. For the first time, school resource co-ordinators were able to log in to search a web based catalog for works on a specific repertory, or by format, audience level etc. and then place selections in their shopping cart. They were able to see at a glance the total amount of their order, how much they had left in their budget, and could add and remove items until they were satisfied with their selections. Once they submitted their order, their school colleagues were able to view items ordered, along with item order status, to plan their programs for the upcoming year. Open access to the catalog for the general public was simultaneously maintained. See http://www.lcicollections.org/.

This year, 2005, Andornot was commissioned to further enhance the system. A wishlist feature has been added, allowing teachers and teaching artists to identify catalog items as desirable as they browse the catalog. The resource coordinator sees all wishlist requests with attached comments, and can immediately transfer the request to the school's order cart.

Behind the scenes, linked DB/TextWorks databases keep track of the catalog, schools, suppliers and of course the orders themselves. Purchase orders are emailed to vendors from within DB/TextWorks, and the status of the order is updated as each item is received and sent out to the schools. This information is then immediately available via the web interface for schools to track the status of their orders.

Also, of interest to developers, this year the entire project was upgraded to use the Andornot WebPublisher Results Control. The WebPublisher Results Control allows us to contain all HTML results generated by WebPublisher within a .NET environment, giving us programmatic control over content and behaviour of WebPublisher results before they leave the server, but without resorting to ODBC or SOAP so all native WebPublisher functionality is retained. For the LCI project, this meant all the original forms designed within the catalog database continued to be used, but we were now able to programmatically manipulate "add to cart" and "add to wishlist" features based on both record content and user login role, server-side. We thus were able to simultaneously increase the muscle power of the LCI application while reducing time-to-complete. The WebPublisher Results Control is part of the Andornot WebPublisher Developer Kit.

The schools online ordering project is one of two that Andornot has created for the Lincoln Center Institute. An interface to the Pforzheimer/LCI Catalog of the resource collection at the Heckscher Foundation Resource Center of the Lincoln Center Institute can be seen at http://www.lcicat.org/.

Contact Andornot for more information on our shopping/request carts, and the WebPublisher Developer Kit.
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