Thursday, December 4, 2014

IMUG Meeting at Yarra Ranges Regional Museum

Yarra Ranges Regional Museum website
On 2 December, approximately 25 people attended the Inmagic Museum Users Group Meeting hosted by the Yarra Ranges Regional Museum, Castella Street, Lilydale. Karlie Hawking (Curator Collections)  provided a brief history of the development of the museum (formerly Lilydale Museum) and its collections before discussing the challenges of putting the catalogue of the collection online. There has been an online database since July but two years planning and experimentation were undertaken before the online database was ready to be made available to the public.
url for catalogue
Presto for DB TextWorks was the program used for the online platform and the database is hosted by Maxus. This was the first time that this version of the Presto software had been used in Victoria for a DB TextWorks database, as well as being the first time Presto had been used for a museum collection, resulting in considerable experimentation by the staff at Maxus working with the museum staff. It was an interesting learning curve for all.

One of the issues for museum staff was deciding the fields to be included in the online catalogue as opposed to the fields used in-house to maintain the collection. It was therefore necessary to have another look at the records of items already catalogued to ensure fields that would appear online contained information of use / interest to the public. 

Images are provided for most of the records and multiple images can appear in one record. However when putting images online it is necessary not only to ensure the quality of the image but also to keep the size of the images not too large as large images take longer to download. Images are a great way to publicise the collection and smaller images will achieve this as well as providing the opportunity for the organisation to make some money by selling larger copies of images when required.

The database was also to be an engagement tool between the museum and the public. The online database includes a section where the public can add comment for a record item. The comment section can be set up so that comments are monitored before appearing online. If this option is utilised someone needs to check for possible comments. There is also a link on the record page allowing researchers the option of sending an email. A telephone number is also provided. Experiments with social media sites have been undertaken - Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Urls need to be shortened to use with these sites and although there has been success with Twitter and Pinterest there have been problems interacting with Facebook. As there is an increasing number of projects combining platforms it is useful to know how you want your data to be used by other platforms if the opportunity arises.

In Presto you can email records, download records as a pdf or html file and save records. One issue with the database is that Presto uses pop-up screens. As browsers increasingly block pop-ups it may be necessary to temporarily disable this action when using this site.
Pam from Maxus also spoke briefly about this project and then there was some general discussion including the possibility and challenges of including records of online databases on Trove in the future. We then went upstairs for refreshments and the opportunity for a more informal chat and networking. Many thanks to Karlie and her team for hosting this event.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

IMUG meeting at Emerald Hill Heritage Centre

The Inmagic Museum Users Group meeting was held at Emerald Hill Heritage Centre at South Melbourne on Friday 9 May 2014. Twenty-two people attended from a range of organisations including public libraries, historical societies and small museums and archives. The heritage centre was opened in its current location in November 2013 and is located as part of the Emerald Hill Library.  The City of Port Phillip covers suburbs from Elwood to Port Melbourne. Kay, the history librarian, provided an introduction to the development of the heritage centre and its collection and then Sandy spoke about the databases and the digitisation program.

As well as an annual allocation of money for the digitisation of photographs, money is also allocated for the digitisation of newspapers for Trove. Many of the early electoral rolls have been scanned and made available using ISSUU software. An A-Z listing of City of St Kilda correspondence in the nineteenth century and early twentieth century is also available and digitised images are available for some items. The issue of copyright of previously unpublished material was discussed.

Heritage and Art databases have been catalogued using DB TextWorks and the records are then accessed via Spydus, the library’s cataloguing software and incorporated with records of items from the library local history collection. Low resolution images are linked to the catalogue records and copies of images can be ordered.

Additional information about the Emerald Hill Heritage Centre is available at . The catalogue and other digitised resources can be accessed in the Research Resources section of the heritage website.

Many thanks to the staff at the Emerald Hill Library and Heritage Centre for allowing us to visit and especially to Kay and Sandy for showing us part of the collection and explaining how DB/TextWorks is used in conjunction with Spydus to catalogue their collections.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

IMUG meeting at Whitehorse Art Space

On 4 December 26 people met at the Whitehorse Art Space in Box Hill Town Hall to attend the final IMUG meeting for the year. Those present came from diverse organisations including galleries, school archives, museums, historical societies and specialist research libraries illustrating the range of smaller organisations using DB/TextWorks. Three people travelled from Daylesford to attend the meeting.

Jacquie and Gillian were our hosts and started the proceedings by showing us around the exhibition space and providing a brief history of the establishment of the collection. The main collection consists of 1,300 plus artworks - paintings, photographs, ceramics, textiles. Most of the items have been donated since 1927. The Box Hill area has a strong connection to the history of Australian art and this is reflected in the collection. From 1885 to 1888 Tom Roberts and other artists established an artists' camp at Box Hill so they could paint the surrounding countryside. Among the paintings in the Whitehorse Art collection are works by some of these artists including Tom Roberts, Frederick McCubbin and Arthur Streeton as well paintings by E Phillips Fox. The collection also includes modern works from local artists.

In the meeting room Gillian and Jacquie spoke about cataloguing the collection and why they like using the software, primarily because it is user-friendly. It also is useful to be able to create report forms showing information plus an images for selected items. As well as the database for the art collection there is a database recording long term loans, a memorabilia database and a database recording items in the small library collection. Art works are displayed in a number of locations and an inventory of the collection is taken every year.

As well as the opportunity to visit a variety of collections, IMUG meetings provide the opportunity for general discussion on any topic related to using databases and cataloguing and managing collections. Backing up databases, merging databases, using a mask in the number field and cataloguing digital items were some of the topics discussed at this meeting with comments and solutions being shared by those present. Networking continues over a cup of tea or coffee and, at this meeting, delicious muffins.

Jacquie then showed us the art storage area including some of the items not on display while Robyn, from Box Hill Historical Society who also use DB/TextWorks, showed people the local history rooms. Many thanks to Jacquie, Gillian and Robyn for making this an extremely informative and interesting meeting.

Additional information about the Whitehorse Art collection:
City of Whitehorse Art Collection
Whitehorse Art Space

Sunday, May 12, 2013

IMUG visit to Museo Italiano

On 7 May seventeen IMUG members visited the Museo Italiano in Faraday Street, Carlton. Opened in October 2010, exhibitions at the Museo Italiano explore the experiences of Italian migrants in Australia, the influence of Italian culture on life in Australia and the resulting Italian Australian culture that has developed. Among the permanent exhibitions is a timeline along one wall illustrating key events in Italian and Australian history as well as Italian Australian history. One display portrays settlement in a new country while the Italian influence in Australia on food, language, performance and sport is the theme of another exhibition. Many techniques including the use of audio visual material is used tell the many stories.

After visiting the museum, Paolo Baracchi, Coordinator - Co.As.It. Italian Historical Society, spoke to the group about the Italian Historical Society which was founded in 1981 with the aim of
collecting, preserving, interpreting and promoting the history of Italians in Australia. An overview of the collections was provided as well as an outline of the programs offered during the year. The collections are increasingly used for family history research and a number of research guides have been prepared to assist researchers with their enquiries.

DB TextWorks is used to catalogue the society's collections and Web Publisher is used to make the catalogues of three of the collections available to the public via the society's website. There are four search options - Browse the entire archive, Search image collection, Search diplomatic archive (information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Italy covering the period 1856-1947)  and Search internee database.

There are presently 9,000 photographs catalogued in the image collection. The catalogue record displays a small image and larger images can be obtained from the society. The images online are harvested by Trove and are therefore available in any searches made in this national database. Search in Trove ( for Vendramini to see an example.

More information about the Museo Italiano and the Italian Historical society can be found on their website.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Editing databases 3

    5.  to check for the use of multiple terms in a field if the data is to be transferred into another database structure where only one term is allowed in a field
    The next stage in the life of the regional database on the library website is to transfer the records as a subset of the library catalogue. In order to do this the information in some of the fields needed to be edited.

    In DB/TextWorks databases multiple terms can be added to a field using the F7 key to separate each term. Consequently the data structure created for the local history database had just the one field for Title and one field for Author. The MARC records used in the library catalogue required only one title in the Title field and one Author in the Author field with an additional field for Added Authors.

    It was therefore necessary to check for records that had more than one title or multiple authors. To do this I created a series of report forms (Display menu, Design Form, then choose Blank Form) with one box for the Accession Number and the second box for Title or Author for example. In this second box I made sure that the 'make each item or entry a paragraph' option was used.
    The new form was then selected as the Report form and search was made for the items that required checking. Scrolling through the list was not a particularly exciting task and amused my work colleagues when they passed my desk. However the report form worked and I was able to identify and then alter the records that needed to be changed for the next stage of the database.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Editing databases 2

4.  to remove spaces in records caused by use of the Enter key, particularly after data has been entered in a field leaving spare lines in the report and display forms

The spaces that appear in the above image in the Author, Genre, Subjects and Comments fields are caused by using the Enter key when data is entered.

This can easily be corrected by viewing the record in the Edit form and backspacing where the spaces caused by the use of the Enter key occur.
Generally the use of the Enter key will just cause the records to look untidy but for some projects it is necessary to locate and remove all occurrences of the use the Enter key, particularly if records are to be transferred to an Excel spreadsheet or another database that accepts records in an Excel format.

We encountered this issue in the library when IT decided to publish the local history databases online using MySQL. Any records where the Enter key had been used were rejected and unlike DB/TextWorks which informs you when records are not imported the library online database didn't.

One way to check for the use of the Enter key in a group of records is to export a set of records, view the export file in Notepad and use the Find feature (under the Edit menu) to locate the > symbol which appears when the Enter key has been used.
I take a note of the records that require editing and make the corrections in the database.
Another way would be to make the alterations in the Notepad file and then import the file back into the database, making sure that the the changed records replaced the existing records.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Editing a database

No matter how careful you are when entering data it may be necessary to edit the database records.

Database records are edited:
  1. to maintain consistency of information in fields
  2. to correct misspelling of words or terms that need to be altered
  3. to ensure that the F7 key (and not the Enter key) has been used when an additional term is added to a list, for example in Subjects
  4. to remove spaces in records caused by use of the Enter key, particularly after data has been entered in a field leaving spare lines in the report and display forms
  5. to check for the use of multiple terms in a field if the data is to be transferred into another database structure where only one term is allowed in a field
  6. to check for multiple versions of a record to merge if information from other sources has been added to the database, for example if information from different sources has been entered initially in Excel and then transferred into the database
Editing to identify instances of numbers 1, 2, 3 and 6 can be done via the Search Screen
F3 key
In DB/TextWorks databases placing the cursor in any of the field on the Search Screen and then using the F3 key will give you a list of all the entries or terms in that field. Scrolling down the list usually shows any inconsistencies that require attention.
Examples of instances where editing may be required:
Example 1 - Error in entering data
After using the F3 key in the Accession / Registration Number field the list showed
          1     B
          1     7065
          1     B0001
          1     B0002
The entries for B and &7065 needed to be corrected
Example 2 - Misspelling
After using the F3 key in the Subjects field the list showed
          10     Australian Tessallated Tile Co
          29     Australian Tessellated Tile Co
Batch Modify option was used to correct the misspelling of Tessellated
Example 3 - Using Enter key instead of F7 for a new term
After using the F3 key in the Subjects field the list showed
          1     Schools Churches Hotels
The entry was corrected by placing the cursor in front of the second and subsequent terms and then using the F11 key
Example 6 - Merging data from several records in one field
For one project information about people originally recorded on a number of Excel spreadsheets was imported into a database. A search under Name showed that, in some cases, there were multiple records for the same person.
          4     Smith, John
          2     Smith, Thomas
Once the multiple records for each name were identified, relevant information from some fields was cut and pasted into one record the the person. Once this was done the records no longer required were deleted. 

Basic Query Screen or Add Query Box
If the Search Screen does not contain a field you want to search, either go to the Select Query Screen icon (fourth icon from the left) and choose Basic Query Screen which contains all the fields in the database
 or select the Add Query Box icon (third icon from left)
and then select the field required.

This will produce a temporary field box on the Search Screen until the database is closed.
Once the items to be edited have been located, records can be edited individually or if the same change needs to be made to a term in the same field for a group of records then the changes can be made using Batch Modify.
Batch Modify
Once the records to be edited have been selected, go to the Records menu and choose Batch Modify.
Select the field to modify and then select how the set of records will be modified. In the above example Substitute Entry is the operation chosen while Matching is selected in the Affects column. The existing term is typed in the Old Entry box while the new term is typed in the New Entry box. Click OK, read the information in the next box that comes on the screen and if the information is correct click the OK button. 
Additional examples of Batch Modify
More information about editing databases in subsequent posts.