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Last night I had the pleasure of speaking to students at the School of Library, Archival and Information studies (aka iSchool) at the University of British Columbia. These students are taking LIBR 582: Digital Images and Text Collections and learning all the fundamentals of how to digitize materals, manage them, and provide online access. In particular, they are using Inmagic DB/TextWorks to build a database of digitized materials, and manage the metadata associated with them, as well as CONTENTdm from OCLC for web presentation.

In last night's class, I presented Andornot's common solutions for managing digital images and text. For those who missed the presentation, here's a recap.

Inmagic DB/TextWorks and an Andornot Starter Kit

We always recommend Inmagic DB/TextWorks as an easy to use database system for managing metadata about digitized objects, whether they are textual, photographic or audio-visual, and no matter whether born digitial or scanned from an analogue source. Paired with one of our starter kits, any library, archive, museum or other organization can be up and running in just a few hours. Information can be entered in simple data entry screens, by staff or volunteers, or imported from other sources.

Inmagic WebPublisher PRO

Inmagic's original web publishing platform, combined with an Andornot kit, can provide simple search access to a DB/TextWorks database. A modern web design can be applied so that the site can be used on tablets and phones. Features such as spelling corrections and facets are not available however.

Andornot Discovery Interface (AnDI)

The Andornot Discovery Interface (AnDI) uses the popular Apache Solr search engine to provide relevancy-ranked results, spelling corrections, and facets for search refinement. Websites built with AnDI include features for displaying images in various sizes, in list or gallery format, for embedding playback of audio and video files, and for viewing and browsing individual pages of digitized documents, with highlighting of search terms on the pages.


The open-source VuFind discovery interface is very popular with academic and public libraries, and a growing number of special ones.

Inmagic Presto

Inmagic's current generation web publishing platform offers users the ability to configure their own screens and displays with no programming required, and now includes facets for search refinement.


The open-source Omeka content management system can be used for metadata management as well as searching. It doesn't offer spelling corrections or facets for search refinement, but does provide a very easy to use web interface and an Exhibit Builder plug-in to develop exhibits of aspects of a collection.

Inmagic provides extensive documentation for Presto for DB/TextWorks, so there's lots to guide you through installation and configuration. The Administrator's Guide and User's Guide, both available in the Presto Knowledgebase, will walk you through almost everything. However, there's always more to learn.

The tips below are just a few of the best practices we follow when setting up Presto for DB/TextWorks, ones that make setting up your first textbase even easier. They're fairly technical and are intended to be used in conjunction with the Presto Administrator's Guide and User's Guide, as you are working through set-up. Contact us for more help with your own installation, or for a bigger-picture understanding of the Presto for DB/TextWorks system. 

Textbase AutoNumber and AutoDate Fields

Before starting, be sure your textbase includes AutoNumber and AutoDate fields, and that the log is correctly configured with the unique ID field. Presto needs these to correctly import records. If these don't exist, create them as new fields in your textbase, then export and re-import all your records to populate them (note: this is a bit of a simplification, but the concept will work).

Omit Unnecessary Fields

Any fields that you import to Presto from your DB/TextWorks textbase will appear in all the views and screens created by default, as well as in the sort options in the search results. If you have quite a few fields that are for your use only, but not for end users, the best thing to do is remove them from the textbase connector when you are first creating it, so they're not included in the definition. This will save you removing them from all the created screens.

Give Fields Meaningful Names

By default, the field labels that appear in Presto will take the name of the field from the textbase. If your field names are cryptic (e.g. AU for Author), or simply without spaces (a best practice in database design), you'll want to configure the fields in Presto with more readable labels. The label is one of the many settings you can configure for each individual field, along with hit highlighting, faceting, data types, and more. We recommend reviewing each field individually and adjusting settings before saving the textbase connector.

Create Browsing Indexes

If you want to allow users to browse terms in a field on a search screen (e.g. browse Authors, Subjects, etc.) to help them create a search, that field must have a validation list in the textbase, and then be set up to have a Value List in Presto (as well as a Crawl Job to keep them synchronized). It's best to do this when you first configure a textbase import into Presto (if you forget and need to do it later, it's a bit more complicated).

The browsable Value Lists in Presto are more like a validation list and less like an index, in that they show not terms from records, but terms from the validation list in DB/TextWorks. As a result, you'll want to make sure your validation lists are clean so that users only see terms that will result in hits when these Browse lists are used in searches.

Import Dates

If your textbase contains dates (e.g. Publication Date in a library catalogue), you'll likely want them to be imported as Permissive Date type, which is done by NOT ticking them on the Review Date Fields tab when creating the new content type. 

Make URLs Clickable

Be sure to change fields containing URLs to Data Type URL in Presto so that they appear as clickable links in search results. It's important to do this before starting to import data, as the Data Type can't be changed once there's data in this field in Presto. See below for a tip about deleting data from Presto.

Import PDFs

If your  textbase contains links to PDFs and other documents, select the File data type for the field containing the file name (not the LinkedFile data type) when configuring the textbase connector. Presto will import the PDF into its database and make the text searchable, then display a link to the PDF and an image of the first page in search results.

You'll need to make sure that the file name is well formed in the field in the textbase. Our recommendation is to avoid spaces anywhere in the path and file name, and to provide the full UNC path in the field (e.g. \\SERVER-NAME\path-to-docs\some-doc.pdf).  You may want to run the File Existence Checker first (available in DB/TextWorks under the Tools menu.)

Be sure to grant Read permission on the folders containing linked documents to the account used to run the Inmagic Presto Service. 

Show Google Book Covers

You can use some javascript developed by Andornot to look up an ISBN from a record in the Google Books API and display a book cover image, if available. See this blog post for details.

Delete All Imported Records

If you have configured Presto and started the regular data imports, then want to make some changes and find that you can't (especially to Data Types and other field attributes), you can delete all of the imported data, and should then be able to make the change. First, stop the scheduled imports so that no new data comes in while you're making the change. Then, use the ContentLoader.exe command line app included with Presto to delete all records. See Deleting Records in the User's Guide (not the Administrator's Guide). Note that you may need to omit the /Monitor switch to help the command execute. 

When we build web search interfaces for bibliographic databases with our Andornot Starter Kit or Andornot Discovery Interface, we usually include code to fetch book cover images from Google Books. Javascript on the search results pages takes the ISBNs from the bibliographic records and passes them into the Google Books API. If Google Books has a record, the cover image is displayed, as a link to more info in the Google Books database. This adds visual appeal to predominantly textual pages and provides users with valuable additional information about the work.

If you’re using Presto for DB/TextWorks as the web search interface to your database, you can configure it to show Google book covers as well. All you need is our Google book cover script and some experience editing Presto screens.

Here are the steps to take to add Google Book covers to your Presto for DB/TextWorks site.

1. Download the Andornot Google Books script here. As noted in the file, these are offered under an MIT open source license. You are free to use reuse, redistribute, modify etc. this script as long as the license text within it is retained.

2. As described in the Presto Administrator’s Guide, a custom script file called CustomCommonScripts.js is included on every page. So, just copy the contents of Andornot’s Google Books script into this file, which you’ll find in <Presto-install-path>\WebApps\Mercury\jscript\CustomCommonScripts.js (if the file doesn’t exist yet, just create it). The script relies on the jQuery javascript library, but that’s already included in Presto.

3. To use the script, you just need to wrap the ISBN from a record inside a div with the class “isbn”, like this:

 <div class="isbn">9780140187465</div>

To do this, you will need to edit the detail screen for your catalogue content type to add three Custom Value Controls. The Presto Administrator’s Guide has more information and examples of these. 

The first custom value control will contain only this bit of HTML:  <div class="isbn">

The second custom value control will contain the ISBN data field (you’ll want to select the option to suppress hit highlighting on it).

The third custom value control will contain the closing div:  </div>

All three will be associated with the ISBN field, so they will only appear on the detail screen when there’s data in that field.

Our Google Books script will look for the “isbn” div and replace the contents within it with a call to the Google Books API for the cover image, if available.

ISBN’s often have more than just straight numbers in them. Sometimes there’s punctuation or trailing text. Our Google Books script is pretty good at ignoring all of that, so don’t worry about cleaning up your ISBNs first.

Have fun!

Each year KMWorld magazine publishes a list of the top 100 companies out of the thousand or so software vendors vying for sales in the broad knowledge management arena. Their criteria for inclusion in the list takes into account the current economic downtown, and they have selected companies such as Inmagic, Inc that they believe are well positioned.

".....we had to factor companies’ ability to not only survive a potential catastrophe but also thrive and deliver solutions to help their customers succeed, as well.

Hence, we believe that each of the companies listed below embodies as part of its culture the agility and limber execution of its mission, in whatever subject areas upon which they focus. Both small and large, they embrace a spirit of innovation and adaptability. They each embody the resiliency and wisdom to identify and act upon their own areas requiring improvement and, more importantly, those of their customers."

See the Inmagic blog post and press release for more details.

Andornot was delighted to be recognized at the Inmagic Partner's Meeting last week with an award for achieving the highest total sales of any dealership. The Partner Meeting was an intense, exciting week as dealers from the US, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Spain gathered for presentations and training sessions.   Road maps for the various upcoming Inmagic product releases were reviewed, plus of course there were discussions around pricing in recessionary times. The good news is that some promotional offers are still available, but the bad news for Canadians is that prices have been adjusted upwards to compensate for the loonie's drop in value against the US dollar. However, the special offers plus credits for existing products still provide some very good deals, so be sure to contact us for a quote!

The last few days were spent in training on the latest release of Inmagic® Presto.  This is Inmagic's premium product for Social Knowledge Networks (SKN's). If you are not familiar with this term yet, take a moment to read through the article in the December 2008 issue of the SLA's Information Outlook written by Phil Green, CTO of Inmagic. Inc.  Inmagic Presto, plus Presto for Social Libraries which works with the Inmagic® Library Suite, offer some interesting opportunities for bringing together knowledge management and social technologies in a secure, web-based environment. There has been considerable industry buzz around these two products. The January 22nd 2008 news release "Inmagic Announces Industry's First Social Library Solution" describes the concepts in more detail -  "The social library is more than just a concept rooted in the promises of library 2.0 and social media," says Green. "It leverages both content and user knowledge in ways never before imagined. By integrating Web 2.0 capabilities, library workflow, information management, and publishing technologies, social libraries extend the value of the special library, and fundamentally change its significance, relevancy, and usefulness." 


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