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Determining the exact location of historical photos is always a challenge, but Surveyor, a new open source tool just released by the New York Public Library (NYPL) offers a neat crowdsourcing option.  It was developed to help address the problem of photos with very general titles, or only a street name or neighbourhood, some of which may no longer exist.

The NYPL has uploaded a set of photos and users can click through and move the map until the marker is in the correct location. There is an optional step of noting the direction and angle of the view of the image.

image

This project is part of the New York City Space/Time Directory to create open source tools to help other cities, libraries and individuals to map and explore history.

Let us know if you’d be interested in adding a crowdsourcing project like this to your site. Crowdsourcing is a great way to encourage community involvement as well as enhancing the information about items in your collection. Contact Andornot to discuss possibilities!

Many institutions have videos in their collections, but searching these videos for specific content can be challenging and time-consuming for staff and users alike. You can catalogue the contents of videos so that they are more searchable, but that can take a lot of staff time.

That’s why YouTube’s automated transcription feature is potentially helpful for institutions to have in their repertoire of tools. With a simple click of a button, a timecode synced transcript can be created for videos that you have uploaded to YouTube. While the transcript will definitely have errors, it gives you a great starting point. After editing the transcript can be added to the video’s database record giving your users a way to search the video’s actual contents.

YouTube Transcript

When videos with speech are uploaded to YouTube, closed captions or subtitles are automatically generated. You can see if they are available by looking for the CC button in the bottom right. If the quality of the audio is reasonable, YouTube will also automatically make a text transcript which is accessible under the More hyperlink. This transcription can be copied and pasted into a field in your DB/TextWorks database and corrected while listening along to the video. This text can then be made fully searchable by your WebPublisher PRO or Andornot Discovery Interface software.

Even if you don’t want the videos to be permanently or publicly available on YouTube, you can still take advantage of YouTube’s transcript option. Videos can be uploaded privately, the transcripts generated and then copied and saved elsewhere, before the videos are then removed.

The accuracy of the transcript will depend on several factors, including the quality of the audio, the clarity of the speech and whether the subject matter contains many proper names. Apparently Scottish accents in particular can be problematic, but you can easily review the text first to check the quality.

As always, contact us for assistance to discuss possibilities for adding video transcriptions to your databases and search engines.

So often when searching a database, records in the search results include links to PDFs and other electronic documents. Somewhere in the linked documents are pages with information related to the search, but where? And which pages are the most relevant? A user can use their PDF reader’s Find function to search again for keywords in the document, but that’s repetitive and not especially sophisticated. What if there was a better way of reviewing content within linked documents?

The Andornot Embedded Document Viewer breaks every PDF or similar document down into individual pages, with OCRd, indexed, searchable full text content available to searchers. When a user searches a database, the search results can include individual pages of linked documents, with their search terms highlighted, and with the most relevant pages shown, not just the record that links to the resource.

The screenshot below shows search terms highlighted on page. Additional images and examples are available here.

By viewing individual pages, rather than having to open and review each linked document in its entirety, a user can more quickly assess resources.

Other features include the ability to navigation through the document, zoom in and out of a page, and view thumbnails of all pages.

The Andornot Embedded Document Viewer is often added to the Andornot Discovery Interface search engine. Search results can represent the individual pages of a document that best match the user's search, ranked by relevancy, rather than just the catalogue or parent metadata record for the entire document.

Examples

The Andornot Embedded Document viewer is incorporated into the following projects, which are also based on the Andornot Discovery Interface:

Contact us for more information about enhancing search and discovery of linked, digitized resources.

Do you find yourself in a rut – using the same old tools or even the same old hardware - over and over again and wondering if there is a better way to do that multi-step task?  Here is a list of a few utilties that we use regularly and that IMHO will change the way you work. 

Sending large files:

g_logo_trans_110x63We often ask our clients to send us large files. We can accept very large files via email attachment or if they are very, very large, we ask our clients to drop them onto our FTP site. However, the limitation for sending large files as email attachments is often at the client end. Have you ever noticed how those emails with largish file attachments (maybe only 2MB) never go out? YouSendIt provides an easy way to send files to us or to your friends or colleagues. Again, it is a web-based solution, which has some limitations in the no charge version, but even with that you can send one file – up to 50MB - at a time. No need to send that file via CD in the mail, any more. As soon as it is sent via YouSendIt, your intended recipient receives an email and clicks on a link to download it.

FTP Client:

FileZillaDo you have to need to access documents or upload documents to remote servers and are you finding that the security on those systems is tightening up more and more?  For most folks, you probably have a familiar old FTP program that have used for years, but these just don’t cut it anymore.  And if you use your Windows Explorer, you may find yourself locked out of certain systems too.  We recommend that you upgrade to one of the newer FTP clients that can handle these new secure systems.  There is certainly no need to purchase a package; there are plenty of open source packages that are excellent.  We recommend FileZilla.

Faxing:

FaxZeroLogoPerhaps you have created a document electronically and need to fax it to someone else, yes fax... I know, so yesterday, right? So you print it and locate the only fax machine in your building left and you dial the number, load the document, the right way up without it being slanted, press the Send button and hope that at the other end they get it without a long black strip through the middle. Well, I’m here to tell you that there is a better way, without leaving your desk. Well, some of you probably have this technology already in place, but for those who do not, here is a great site, that allows you to send the document over the web to a fax machine. The site is FaxZero.

More ideas…

Of course there are other alternatives to those mentioned above and you might want to check out sites like LifeHacker for reviews and recommendations. Send us some of your suggestions and we’ll test them.  We are always trying new stuff and we might even include them in our next newsletter or in a blog post.

I have a home server running Amahi on Fedora Linux. I tell everyone it’s for backups and media, but it’s really so I can tinker with it and have to something to complain about. While prepping it this weekend for an upgrade, I got careless and decided to merge a partition that wasn’t being used with the boot partition.

Except it was being used. Imagine my surprise when it wouldn’t boot. And after some poking around, I was able to phrase the question that was to determine my course of action for the next 12 hours: “Er… where’s the operating system?”

To cut a long story short, I was able to recover the deleted partition with TestDisk, which comes with the handy handy HANDY Parted Magic CD. Both are free and indispensable.

TestDisk is open source data recovery software for recovering lost partitions and making non-booting disks bootable again.
http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk

PhotoRec is open source file recovery software that finds lost files from hard disks and digital cameras, even if the file system has been damaged or reformatted.
http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec

PartedMagic is an open source suite of programs for disk, partition and file system management. It includes TestDisk and PhotoRec (and many others). It runs from a CD, no install required.

  • Format internal and external hard drives.
  • Move, copy, create, delete, expand & shrink hard drive partitions.
  • Clone your hard drive, to create a full backup.
  • Test hard drives for impending failure.
  • Test memory for bad sectors.
  • Benchmark your computer for a performance rating.
  • Securely erase your entire hard drive, wiping it clean from all data.
  • Gives access to non-booting systems allowing you to rescue important data.
http://partedmagic.com

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