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If you have new staff, students or volunteers who may need to search or add records to your databases, it is a good idea to have guidelines on data entry protocols, and some instructions on how to search effectively. However printed documents are often lost or not readily accessible, so we recommend adding notes and hints to the DB/TextWorks forms themselves. These can be as brief or as lengthy as you need – we have designed some forms for clients with incredibly detailed instructions.

The databases in all our DB/TextWorks kits feature query screens with searching hints in a text box at the bottom:


We also often add brief instructions in a text box right next to each field on data entry screens. We indicate in the label formatting whether a field is required (red) or has a validation list (underlined).

In the screenshot below we have also divided a long data entry screen up into sections with black textboxes, and resized boxes to indicate the length of a typical entry.


The DB/TextWorks Form Designer is a drag and drop WYSIWYG interface so quite easy to learn. If in doubt use Save As to make a copy of an existing form while you experiment.

When adding either a form or a text box, parameters such as size, label position and font are inherited from the box above of the same type. You can also click on a box, and right click to copy and then paste to create multiple matching boxes for your hints.

These simple conventions and the addition of hints can make the search and data entry experience much easier for your new or irregular users! We still occasionally find clients just using the basic forms – taking advantage of these design capabilities can dramatically improve the usability of your database.

We can of course help you!  Contact us if you’d like any training or assistance with designing any DB/TextWorks screens.

Did you know that DB/TextWorks has a built-in image viewer? And that it can be used to view not only images but PDFs as well? As a well-established software application, DB/TextWorks has quite a few features that aren’t always well known or used.

Lately we’ve been helping clients make good use of the image / document viewer as part of our DB/TextWorks hosting service. This service is mainly about providing access only to DB/TextWorks software on our server, but not necessarily the entire ecosystem of applications our clients may be used to having on their own PCs for viewing and editing documents.

For our museum and archival clients with databases of historic photographs, and our many clients with databases of documents, when managing records in a textbase on our server, they still need a quick and easy way to open these files, if not to edit them, but at least to make sure they select the correct file name to add to the record. The image and PDF viewer built in to DB/TextWorks provides a great way to do this, since the files open within DB/TextWorks, with no need to wait for any other software to load.

You can take advantage of this feature in your own DB/TextWorks software and textbases, even if you’re not using our hosting service. Here’s how:

Textbase fields must be of type Image

In order to use the built-in viewer, the fields in your textbases which contain the image and document file names must be of type Image.

To check if they are, launch DB/TextWorks, open your textbase, choose the Display menu, then the Textbase Information entry. In the report, under the Field Summary heading, look for your image and document fields and see if they are of type Image. If not, you can edit the textbase structure to change them (e.g. from Text to Image).

The built-in viewer works with almost all image file types, but PDF is the only document type it can display (e.g. not Word documents). To launch external viewers, such as MS Word, for other document types, you can use the suggestions in this blog post:

Use the complete path to files in textbase records

When adding the names of image and document files to textbase records, right click on the field you use to store the image or document file name and choose Browse Files. You can now navigate to and select an image or document and the complete path and file name will be in the textbase, with no typos.


  • H:\DBTextWorksData\Images\SomeImage123.jpg
  • H:\DBTextWorksData\Documents\SomeDocument456.pdf

Having the full path will help DB/TextWorks to find and display the file in the built-in viewer.

(Note: an alternative to the above is to place the folders of images and documents underneath the folder that has the textbase in it, and then in the textbase record, use only the folder and file name – e.g. Documents\SomeDocument456.pdf. DB/TextWorks will find the files under the textbase folder in this case).

Using the built-in viewer

To open an image or document, when viewing a record that has a file name in a field of type Image, the toolbar button circled in red in the screenshot below will become available and clicking it will launch the viewer, with the image showing.


Once the viewer is open, you can use the toolbar that appears to navigate through all the images or all the pages of a PDF, within the record, even if they are in several separate fields. You can also zoom in and out, and show thumbnails of all images or pages of a PDF. How handy is that!


Another way to view an image within DB/TextWorks is to embed a Picture Box in a Report Form or Display Form, so the image appears when viewing search results or a record (rather than opening it in the built-in viewer), as shown below.


To learn more about the image viewer and other image tips, launch DB/TextWorks, then choose the Help menu and Help Topics entry. In the help window, select the “Working with Images” topic.

Patient health education materials are an important resource for both caregivers and patients, allowing health care providers to provide important information to patients for their ongoing care in a written format. This may include printed pamphlets handed out at the conclusion of a hospital visit, emergency department discharge instructions, and electronic resources patients can access from home during their recovery.

Like many health authorities, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) and Providence Health Care (PHC) manage databases of such materials, and each has recently upgraded the website used to provide access to these resources for staff and the public. Using our Andornot Discovery Interface, two modern, accessible and mobile-friendly search engine sites were built, one for VCH and one for PHC:

Vancouver Coastal Health Patient Health Education Materials

Staff and patients may search by keyword or select a health topic from the home page, then narrow their results by topic, format and critically, language, as many resources are available in multiple-language translations.

Spelling corrections, search suggestions and relevancy-ranked results also help connect a user with a resource quickly and accurately, and a synonym list helps connect different terms for a condition to the same resources. For example, a search for blood clots returns the same results as a search for coagulation, and vice versa, allowing different terms to be used to find all relevant resources.

When viewing a record, those available translations are shown so a user can quickly select the best version for their needs.

Related Records

Many records provide the PDF online for patients and staff to access, but staff may also use these systems to monitor resources which are under review, or to request that a review be initiated or obtain other information about the resource.

A table view of search results is available for rapid scanning of resources, primarily for health care staff already familiar with the resources who only need quick access to the relevant PDF.

Table View

Behind the scenes, a DB/TextWorks database shared by both VCH and PHC is used to catalogue and manage the resources.

The two sites are hosted by Andornot, along with the DB/TextWorks software and database, as part of our managed hosting service.

Andornot works with health authorities throughout British Columbia and across Canada to provide information management solutions for other patient health resources and health care libraries.

FPInnovations is a private, not-for-profit R&D organization that specializes in the creation of solutions that accelerate the growth of the Canadian forest sector and its affiliated industries to enhance their global competitiveness.

As part of its mandate, FPInnovations maintains a research library of in-house reports and other publications available to members and in some cases, the public and all industry.

This research library was recently made available through an instance of our Andornot Discovery Interface search engine, at

FPInnovations Research Library Search Results

This site provides searchable access to over 10,000 reports and publications covering more than 50 years of FPInnovations’ research. Subject areas include forest operations, wood products and pulp, paper and bio-sourced products, with full text PDF reports immediately available online.

Spelling corrections, search suggestions and relevancy-ranked results connect users to resources quickly, with the ability to further limit results by industry sector, research area, material, type, date of publication and other facets of the collection.

spelling correction

A DB/TextWorks database is used behind the scenes to catalogue and manage the reports.

This new resource complements two related Andonot projects:

  1. the ThinkWood Research Library; and
  2. the B.C. Wood Supplier Directory.

British Columbia is recognized as a global leader in sustainable forest management and British Columbia’s wood product suppliers offer a wide range of high-quality wood in both construction and appearance grades. Over 400 manufacturers in B.C. deliver a variety of commodity and specialized wood products – from dimensional lumber, engineered, mass timber and speciality products, to furniture, doors and windows, pulp, paper and pellets.

A searchable directory of these suppliers is available at to connect buyers, especially from outside B.C., with suppliers and their products.

B.C. Wood Supplier Directory Search Results

Users may search and browse by product, species and value-added service to find companies that meet their needs. The site is powered by our Andornot Discovery Interface.

A curated synonym list ensures that users can enter terms they are familiar with, or acronyms, and find relevant resources described using different terms. For example, a search for clt finds resources described with that acronym, as well as the fuller term cross laminated timber, and variations such as xlam, x-lam, and cross-lam, without a user having to think of each of these terms and use Boolean logic to combine them, or search each separately.

Spelling corrections, search suggestions and relevancy-ranked results speed the search process, with the ability to further limit results by product, species, service, export markets and sustainability certifications held by suppliers.

Behind the scenes, a DB/TextWorks database and one of Andornot's Starter Kits is used to manage the supplier information. The B.C. Wood Supplier Database is a project of Forestry Innovation Investment, a publicly owned, funded and operated company of the province of British Columbia. It was set up by the government to promote BC wood products, educate on provincial forest practices, and provide research around sustainable forest management, life cycle analysis and the benefits of using wood products.

This forestry resource complements two other Andornot Projects:

  1. The ThinkWood Research Library (also offered by Forestry Innovation Investment); and
  2. The FPInnovations’ Research Library.

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