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.

PRCVI Launches New Website, powered by Umbraco

by Jonathan Jacobsen Thursday, September 20, 2018 11:13 AM

The Provincial Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired (PRCVI) is a long-time Andornot client and has just upgraded their website to a new one powered by the popular Umbraco Content Management System.

https://www.prcvi.org

Hosted by Andonot, this new website was specifically designed to meet accessibility guidelines and provide a positive experience for visually impaired users. The primary function of PRCVI is to provide British Columbia School Districts and Group I or II Independent Schools with alternate formats of provincially recommended learning resources and with specialized equipment to support the educational needs of students with visual impairments.

Rather than come up with an entire design from scratch for the new site, PRCVI chose a theme from uSkinned.net, a provider of designs and starter kits for Umbraco. This package provided both a visual design and all the pre-built components - HTML, CSS, JS, Templates, Document Types, etc. - that an Umbraco site needs. It was easy to install and allowed PRCVI staff to immediately focus on migrating content to the new site.

PRCVI’s website includes two instances of our Andornot Discovery Interface, for searching the PRCVI Library Catalogue, and a database of Vision Teachers located throughout British Columbia. Both of these were upgraded to match the template of the main site, for a seamless transition. Users can search the entire new website as well as the library catalogue separately, from search boxes in the site header.

Andornot hosts Umbraco-powered sites for a number of clients, and continues to recommend it as a solid Content Management System for any website. Contact us to discuss your needs for self-managed online content.

Automated Sitemap Generator Added to Andornot Discovery Interface

by Jonathan Jacobsen Friday, June 08, 2018 11:36 AM

Andornot believes strongly that it’s not enough for an archive or museum to simply have a fascinating collection and excellent software for managing it and making it publicly accessible. Drawing the public to these resources is equally important, something larger museums and some archives do well of course. For smaller organizations, that means the curator or archivist has to put on a marketing hat from time to time. However, this need not be a painful experience.

For example, a couple of months ago we wrote a blog post about using Wikipedia as a means of increasing the exposure of your organizations and your collections. This can be a quick, easy and fun afternoon task.

And today we're announcing a new feature in our Andornot Discovery Interface (AnDI) to also help attract the public: an automatic site map generator.

A site map is an XML file placed within your website, listing all available pages or resources, to help search engines such as Google and Bing index as much of your content as possible. While search engines will crawl links they find, such as on your home page, to help them discover records, this site map file can be provided to guide them to the full set.

e.g.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9">
<url><loc>http://search.yoursite.org/Permalink/descriptions281616</loc><changefreq>weekly</changefreq></url>
<url><loc>http://search.yoursite.org/Permalink/descriptions281617</loc><changefreq>weekly</changefreq></url>
<url><loc>http://search.yoursite.org/Permalink/descriptions281618</loc><changefreq>weekly</changefreq></url>
<url><loc>http://search.yoursite.org/Permalink/descriptions281619</loc><changefreq>weekly</changefreq></url>
<url><loc>http://search.yoursite.org/Permalink/descriptions281620</loc><changefreq>weekly</changefreq></url>

 

Within AnDI, the sitemap lists all available records that can be found in the search engine, using the permalink URL.

This file is not seen by the public and has no impact on the site, but will be used by Google and others to index more of the records in an AnDI site. And thus, when people search by keyword in Google for records that happen to be in that collection, especially ones with unique names, places and words, these records are more likely to appear in their Google search results, drawing more traffic to the site.

This feature has been rolled out to all the clients who participate in our Managed Hosting service, and is available to our other AnDI clients (just send us an email to request it).

There are many ways to spread the word online about your collections and resources, some requiring very little effort. Stay tuned to our blog and newsletter for more!

Introducing Digital History Hub: Web Hosting for Cultural Collections

by Jonathan Jacobsen Friday, May 05, 2017 11:03 AM

Visit Digital History Hub

Need a quick and easy way to showcase a collection of photos, or a portal for an in-depth online exhibit? 

Digital History Hub lets you do both!

You can quickly build a searchable repository of archival records, artifacts, photos, oral history recordings, videos, historic documents, and more.

  • Ideal for archives, museums, historical societies and libraries.
  • Powered by the popular Omeka system.
  • Easy to use on your own, or with help from Andornot.
  • Hosted in Canada.

 

Digital History Hub is Andornot's new hosting platform specially created for historical collections.

Digital History Hub uses Omeka, a popular, open-source web application used around the world to manage and search cultural collections. It's easy to use, with a wide range of features built-in and available as add-ons. Digital History Hub is fully hosted and supported, so there's nothing for you to install or configure. We'll create an Omeka site just for you, and you can get started creating collections and exhibits!

Visit www.digitalhistoryhub.com to learn more about the features available, pricing, and how you can get started putting your local history online.

Have You Tried Andornot's Boutique Web Application Hosting?

by Jonathan Jacobsen Sunday, November 06, 2016 9:27 AM

Do you know where your web applications are hosted? In a cloud in an unknown location? Is it difficult to obtain support for your application from your in-house IT group? Are your servers slow or due for replacement? Why not let Andornot help by having us host your data and applications.

Andornot has managed our own hosting environment since 1998 and offers a professional hosting service to clients for all web applications, such as: 

We can host almost any web application for you!

Unlike larger hosting or cloud providers, Andornot takes pride in offering a smaller, "boutique" hosting program for our clients. We know each of you personally, as well as your data and applications. When you contact us with a question, you know who you’re speaking with, we know you, and we get started immediately on solving problems.

Our hosting program is priced to compete with the in-house costs of provisioning and managing your own dedicated server. Support time is included in every hosting package and we respond promptly to all hosted clients with inquiries or problems.

We manage our own, secure hosting environment, on servers located at a Cogeco PEER1 facility in Canada, with 24/7 remote monitoring and backups. We’d be delighted to welcome you and your applications to our hosting service.

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