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For the third year in a row, Andornot is pleased to award a Professional Development Grant to a working professional, to aid them in attending a conference or workshop.

This year’s recipient of the $1,000 grant is Marla Dobson, Curator of the Museum of Health Care in Kingston, ON.

Marla-Dobson

In her application for the grant, Marla writes:

As the Curator for the Museum of Health Care at Kingston, I have responsibility for planning, organizing, and supervising exhibition development, collections development and maintenance, as well as programming support. I care for a collection of 40,000 objects related to the history of medicine and health care in Canada. I also act as an ambassador for the museum, building its public profile within the regional community as well as at national and even international events.

The collection is available at https://mhc.andornot.com, with a search interface developed from our Andornot Discovery Interface, and hosted by our Managed Hosting service.

Marla adds:

I wish to attend the Canadian Museums Association National Conference because it is vital that I develop and expand my professional network within the Canadian museum community. I am new in my position and as an emerging professional, wish to expose myself to workshops and networking events that will firstly, improve my ability to be a successful curator, and secondly, help me make connections with other organizations with which we could partner on projects and exhibitions.

Andornot strongly believes in the value of attending conferences to foster professional development. We attend events across Canada all year long to learn about new trends and technologies, meet with clients, and share our expertise with like-minded folks.

We receive many excellent applications for this grant each year and face a tough decision in choosing just one. We thank all who showed an interest in the grant and only wish we could send everyone to a conference.

We look forward to meeting you at one of the conferences we’ll be attending this year.

The Galt Museum and Archives in Lethbridge, Alberta has launched a new search engine for their cultural collections at https://collections.galtmuseum.com 

This new site is powered by our Andornot Discovery Interface. This modern search engine provides features that users have come to expect, including spelling corrections, "did you mean" search suggestions, results ranked by relevancy, and facets to help narrow down the results further, such as by name, topic and date.

Previously, users were only able to search the archives, museum artifacts and library collections through three separate searches. Now, with the Andornot Discovery Interface, researchers can search all materials at once and discover related records quickly and easily. Over eighty percent of the resources in the site include photographs, especially of artifacts in the museum, making for a visually engaging experience researching the history of Lethbridge and surrounding area.

Once results are found, a user can save them for later review, share them on Pinterest, Google+ and other social media, or request more information from the museum and archives.

The graphic design of the site was adapted from the fonts, colours and layout of the main museum website, for a seamless transition between the two. The bright colours add to the fun factor when using the site, without detracting from the resources and the many historic photos in search results.

Like many museums and archives, the Galt has for many years managed their collections with Inmagic software. A series of DB/TextWorks databases continue to be home to metadata about the archives, museum artifacts, and a small library. The museum is running the latest version, so has access to many new features, but still within the familiar and easy-to-use interface they are used to.

"This is a big step forward in terms of both appeal and usability, and the integrated search -- across archives, collections and library databases -- is the feature that we long wished for."

Andrew Chernevych
Archivist, Galt Museum & Archives

Contact Andornot to discuss options for better management and searching of your cultural collections.

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.

Library and Archives Canada has announced the launch of the 2018 funding cycle for the Documentary Heritage Communities Program (DHCP). This is the fourth year of a planned 5 year program, with $1.5 million available this year, as in previous rounds.

The DHCP provides financial assistance to the Canadian documentary heritage community for activities that:

  • increase access to, and awareness of, Canada’s local documentary heritage institutions and their holdings; and
  • increase the capacity of local documentary heritage institutions to better sustain and preserve Canada’s documentary heritage.

The deadline for submitting completed application packages is February 7, 2018. 

This program is a great opportunity for archives, museums, historical societies and other cultural institutions to digitize their collections, develop search engines and virtual exhibits, and other activities that preserve and promote their valuable resources.

The program is aimed at non-governmental organizations specifically, including:

  • Archives; 
  • Privately funded libraries; 
  • Historical societies;              
  • Genealogical organizations/societies;  
  • Professional Associations; and 
  • Museums with an archival component.

Businesses, government and government institution (including municipal governments and Crown Corporations), museums without archives, and universities and colleges are not eligible.

Types of projects which would be considered for funding include:

  • Conversion and digitization for access purposes; 
  • Conservation and preservation treatment; 
  • The development (research, design and production) of virtual and physical exhibitions, including travelling exhibits; 
  • Conversion and digitization for preservation purposes; 
  • Increased digital preservation capacity (excluding digital infrastructure related to day-to-day activities); 
  • Training and workshops that improve competencies and build capacity; and 
  • Development of standards, performance and other measurement activities. 
  • Collection, cataloguing and access based management; and 
  • Commemorative projects.

Further program details, requirements  and application procedures are available at http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/services/documentary-heritage-communities-program/Pages/dhcp-portal.aspx

How can Andornot help?

Many Andornot clients have obtained DHCP grants in previous rounds, and Andornot has worked on many other projects which would qualify for this grant. Some examples are detailed in these blog posts:

We have extensive experience with digitizing documents, books and audio and video materials, and developing systems to manage those collections and make them searchable or presented in virtual exhibits.

Contact us to discuss collections you have and ideas for proposals. We'll do our best to help you obtain funding from the DHCP program!

The Elgin County Museum, as well as the Elgin County Archives, in St. Thomas, Ontario, both use Inmagic DB/TextWorks to manage their collections. A few years ago, Andornot helped the archives upgrade their public search interface to a more modern design, using our Andornot Starter Kit web application.

This year we were pleased to help the museum upgrade their public search interface too. The museum's new look is available at http://inmagic.elgin-county.on.ca/museum/ 

Both interfaces continue to use Inmagic WebPublisher PRO as the underlying search engine, but with our modern Andornot Starter Kit web application in front. This app provides features such as automatic stemming and combining of search words, browsable indexes, a selection list for saving items, and a photo commenting feature. 

The overall design matches the Elgin County website for a more integrated look and adapts to the user's screen size, so it's just as usable on a phone or tablet as on the desktop.

Several other museums in Elgin County and St. Thomas also use this system to manage their collections. The public is now able to access these collections as well, many of which have been photographed. Users can limit their search to only records that have images available online.

"This is a much more user friendly way for our Museum Partners to manage their collections," says Mike Baker, Elgin County Museum Curator.

Contact Andornot to discuss options for bringing your search interfaces up to modern standards.

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