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Inside the Archives – Winter 2016 – Volume V Number 1

Inside the Archives

Winter 2016
Volume V. Number 1.


Welcome to 2016!  We hope the remainder of your academic year will prove to be positive and enjoyable.   We would like to thank those of you who visited our booth at ALA Midwinter in Boston and we look forward to seeing many of you at the Annual Conference in Orlando.

Raffle Winner

Congratulations to Georgia Baugh, Electronic Resources/Research Librarian at St. Louis University. She won the drawing for a one-year subscription to all 24 Accessible Archives databases for the Pius XII Memorial Library. Could the lottery be next?

Accessible Archives had many of our own positive experiences during 2015 – completion of the databases, Frank Leslie’s Weekly and National Anti-Slavery Standard, expansion of The Civil War and American County Histories, and the implementation of many navigation and presentation enhancements including moving to the new COUNTER Release 4 (R4) standards – to name just some.  We will be adding new content during 2016, and a number of additional system enhancements, some of which are described later in this newsletter.

Bob Lester Joins Unlimited Priorities LLC

Bob Lester

Bob Lester

Unlimited Priorities is pleased to welcome Robert E. Lester to its team of industry experts as Product Development and Strategy Consultant. Unlimited Priorities is the exclusive sales and marketing agent for Accessible Archives and Bob will play a major role in this relationship.

Bob Lester has more than 32 years of experience in publishing with a variety of companies such as University Publications of America, Congressional Information Service, LexisNexis Academic and Library Solutions, and Gale Cengage Learning.

As an accomplished publishing professional Bob has extensive microform, print, and digital product development and strategic management experience. Throughout his career, he has acquired a superb knowledge of historical/archival collections worldwide, created dynamic marketing and sales plans and programs, and gained an effective knowledge of other industry players and their offerings. In the rapidly changing information world, Bob believes strongly in consistent innovation in publishing methodologies to meet the evolving needs of customers.  (more…)


Inside the Archives – Fall 2015 – Volume IV Number 2

Inside the Archives

Fall 2015
Volume IV. Number 2.


Accessible Archives – Interface and Navigation Changes

 This year Accessible Archives embarked on a project to upgrade our interface and navigation capabilities.  To this end we conducted a survey of some 14 libraries of all types – plus three consultants close to the library and information science industry – regarding the feasibility of our search interface.   It has been an ongoing process as we interviewed a cross-section of librarians – both from schools with annual subscriptions and those with permanent access to the collections – to learn what they liked and didn’t like about it, and received a large amount of valuable input.  Four members of the interview group then agreed to support us further as part of an informal Advisory Board as we worked to make enhancements to our service.  We would like to thank:

  • Scott R. Anderson – Associate Professor, Information Systems Librarian, Millersville University, PA
  • Clinton Baugess – Reference and Instruction Librarian, Gettysburg College, PA
  • Jane Hutton – Associate Professor, Electronic Resources Librarian, West Chester University, PA
  • Terry Simpkins – Director, Discovery and Access Services, Middlebury College, VT

 We now have completed a major analysis of our product feature-set, and through the close of the year and beyond we will be deciding on a further group of changes to deliver an even better user experience.  This entire project was coordinated by Unlimited Priorities LLC, a firm specializing in support for small and medium-size companies in the information and publishing industries, and whose Archival Initiatives Division (AID) provides support services to the library and archives communities.  Unlimited Priorities is the exclusive sales and marketing representative for Accessible Archives.

We are excited to update you on the navigation and presentation enhancements made to date to the Accessible Archives interface and functionality.  We take our customers’ questions and corrections very seriously, and we invite you to comment on any of the changes and upgrades we have made.

Searching subscribed content directly from the product description pages

We have added a Browse and Search button for users with IP access that launches a new tab/window directly to the specified collection.  Users who review our Collection information and other marketing materials can now quickly move to the search screen:

Interface and Navigation Changes

Interface and Navigation Changes

Helping users recognize and understand the content they are selecting and searching

We have made several connected changes to the visual aspects of Accessible Archives.  Most noticeably we have given each of our Collections a distinctive subject icon which is displayed when users browse titles and review search results.

Collection Indicators

Collection Indicators

In addition, we have provided mouse-over descriptive text to provide context for each Collection:

Mouse Over Information

Mouse Over Information

Providing more helpful results messages

Nobody wants a flood of search results but when large results sets are generated it is good to know what is happening and we have ensured that our on screen messages are as helpful as possible.  For example, a search resulting in an inordinate number of hits will generate the following message:

11888 is too many documents to format in a result list.  Formatting the 200 most relevant for display. (Please consider narrowing your search criteria.)

Redesigning the look and feel

We have made a set of generally subtle updates to the look and feel of the Accessible Archives interface to bring it into line with our marketing livery and to freshen up some of the design elements

The first thing to notice is that the screen background is now white. We had grown rather attached to the parchment background, but our research showed a strong preference for a simple, clean approach and we think the new design works well

We have also tightened up the design components and the layout to work with different screen sizes and resolutions – this ensures that even on the largest displays the interface will fill the screen and use the available real estate effectively.

Administration

We have created an entirely new area in the interface specifically for library administrators – away from the search area. This is where we provide support and deliver account information. A direct link from the main menu bar provides access to:

  • Accessible Archives recorded account contact information
  • access to downloadable MARC records
  • announcement details, e.g. about product updates
  • annual maintenance fee dates for customers with permanent access
  • begin and end dates for customers with annual subscriptions
  • branding indication
  • the COUNTER site via log-in to COUNTER
  • IP range definitions
  • Username/password login definitions
Administrator Login

Administrator Login

Remove unnecessary clutter

 We removed Announcements from the search interface, and also removed the Site Map button from the menu bar.  At the same time we instituted some general housekeeping methodologies to update the accuracy levels.

Announcements

We have created a new place for product and other announcements, such as Webinar dates, new MARC records availability, etc.

Search response time

In order to increase search speed we have updated the public domain software packages upon which the Accessible Interface and functionality is built and embarked on application changes to enhance our interface.  The underlying software packages that were upgraded to the latest stable versions include Apache, Java Dev Kit, Tomcat (Java Server Pages), Lucene search engine software, Shibboleth and ActiveState Perl.

In addition, the server hardware was significantly upgraded and newer server software (operating system Windows 2012) was implemented by our service provider. Future changes will continue the upgrading of our Public Domain software package base to newer stable versions and both server hardware and server operating system upgrades as needed.

Improved Navigation

We improved navigation between the product (Search) and marketing (Collections) pages by:

  • Adding a Search Database button to the product description bar
Search Databases

Search Databases

  • Opening a new tab when the user moves from marketing to product pages, and vice-versa
  • Clarifying what the search box on the marketing screens actually searches by re-wording the explanatory text
Search Box

Search Box

  • Re-naming Previous Document/Next Document links to Previous Result/Next Result in order to avoid confusion when going to the next search result instead of the next page of the current result – or vice-versa.
Previous - Next Result

Previous – Next Result

Godey’s Lady’s Book

Godeys Ladys BookWe have made several fixes and enhancements to our Godey’s Lady’s Book product based on user feedback and comments.  In particular, we were informed that we were missing some thumbnail images that should appear in articles when the article is displayed.  And, some thumbnail images linked to an incorrect (larger) cropped image that displays when the thumbnail image is clicked or the cropped image was simply missing when the thumbnail was clicked.  These issues have been resolved.

In addition, users wanted the issue page images for the years 1830 through 1885 made available (they were already available for the years 1886 through 1898).  Issue page images for the years 1831 through 1885 have been added.  Other enhancements are forthcoming.  As a reminder, our collection is the only one that contains all the color plates.

Webinars

 Several Webinars are conducted each month, highlighting recent updates to our collections and search tools.  General webinars provide an introduction to and an overview of our databases.  Subject-specific webinars focusing on particular areas of history such as the Revolution, the Civil War, Women’s History, etc., are under development.

Collection Updates

Frank Leslie’s Weekly

Frank Leslies WeeklyThis collection has been completed with both images and keyed text now available.  Generous pre-publication pricing still is available, but will expire at the end of 2015.

 Now students, faculty and teachers, historians and researchers, using Frank Leslie’s Weekly, can trace the development of America in the Nineteenth and early Twentieth centuries. Researchers interested in popular culture will find unique information covering every phase of America’s evolution for more than 70 years. Because more than 80 percent of the material in Frank Leslie’s has never been reprinted or anthologized, this collection creates endless possibilities for new and more thorough research.

A diverse variety of writers published their stories in Frank Leslie’s Weekly, including Louisa May Alcott, H. Irving Hancock, Helen R. Martin and Ellis Parker Butler. In addition, several notable illustrators worked for the publication, including Albert Berghaus, Norman Rockwell – who created covers for the magazine in its latter years – and Fernando Miranda y Casellas.

Unquestionably, this digital collection illuminates numerous aspects of American life, but its relevance is not confined to the past. Frank Leslie’s Weekly chronicles the nation heading into the catastrophic conflict between North and South, the postwar growth of industry and the rise of cities, and the movement westward. Frank Leslie’s records American popular culture, unlocking the immediate past so scholars can examine the nation’s history, helping us better to understand our present concerns and issues.

National Anti-Slavery Standard

National Anti-Slavery StandardThis collection is nearing completion, and both images and keyed text will be available in December.  Generous pre-publication pricing still is available, but will expire at the end of 2015.

American County Histories.

This collection continues to expand, with three regions now complete: Southeast, Southwest and West. American County Histories We are processing a massive number of books in the Central and Midwest, and these regions are scheduled for completion by mid-2016.  In addition, we have located and are adding large numbers of books to the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions.

Pre-publication pricing remains available in a number of these areas.

Events

Charleston Conference

Frances Marion Hotel, Table 19 Frances Marion Hotel, Table 19

Boston Convention Center, Booth 1645

Boston Convention Center, Booth 1645

Download Newsletter

Download Newsletter (PDF)

Back Issues

Back Issues


Inside the Archives – Spring 2015 – Volume IV Number 1

Inside the Archives

Spring 2015
Volume IV. Number 1.


PRODUCT UPDATE

AFRICAN AMERICAN NEWSPAPERS: THE 19TH CENTURY

In our constant striving for excellence we review our current collections on a regular basis.  During one such review we uncovered additional text and images for PROVINCIAL FREEMAN, one of seven newspapers comprising African American Newspapers: The 19th Century.  We have added these materials to the collection, providing them at no additional cost to our customers.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY

 Accessible Archives recently signed an agreement with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois to preserve in digital format a number of primary source collections relating to President Lincoln and the State of Illinois.  Once the materials have been digitized and made fully searchable, they will be available to genealogists, scholars, professors, students, and those studying historical issues of personal interest as new databases by Accessible Archives.  This collaboration was coordinated through Unlimited Priorities LLC.

THE CIVIL WAR COLLECTION EXPANSION

The first collection from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library to be made available through Accessible Archives is Part VII of our Civil War collection: Abraham Lincoln Library Abolitionist BooksThis unique collection brings together a disparate group of abolitionist era reference materials.  Ranging from memoirs to speeches, biographies to essays, sermons to proceedings minutes, these publications provide the user an intimate insight into the social, political and religious natures of those contentious times. The diversity of the materials allows the user to access information reflecting both points of view on the abolition of slavery.

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Inside the Archives

Inside the Archives – November 2014 – Volume III Number 4

November 2014
Volume III. Number 4.

END-OF-YEAR SALE

As we move toward the close of 2014, with Thanksgiving on the horizon and Christmas just a few weeks away, Accessible Archives’ END-OF-YEAR SALE still is going strong. From The Revolution through the African American Experience and Civil War to Women’s History and beyond, individual and packaged collections are available at very special prices.  Whether you’re looking at individual permanent access or prefer an annual subscription to our complete collections, please contact us with your interests and we will be happy to review all options with you.

Frank Leslie’s Weekly — We continue to load keyed content onto the website, with a completion goal of early 2015.  As we remain in pre-publication mode, special pricing still is available.  Whether your interest lies with the complete collection or just in specific areas – The Civil War or World War I, for example – we are offering extremely favorable terms.

National Anti-Slavery Standard — While complete page images are already on the website, as are those for Frank Leslie’s weekly, the number of keyed issues increases on a regular basis.  Again, pre-publication pricing is in effect, with a very special offer for those who own the Standard’s sister publication, The Liberator from any source.  Please contact us and we’ll be happy to fill you in on the details.

Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and we’re  “talking turkey”! 

(more…)


Inside the Archives

Inside the Archives – August 2014 – Volume III Number 3

August 2014
Volume III. Number 3.

In this Issue

BETHUNE-COOKMAN WINS DRAWING  AT ALA

Bethune-Cookman UniversityBethune-Cookman University, Daytona Beach, Florida was the winner of the raffle drawing conducted in the Accessible Archives exhibit booth at the ALA Annual Conference held this past June in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Carl S. Swisher Learning Resources Center will receive a one-year subscription to the complete collection of seventeen databases containing archival materials from 18th and 19th century America. Helen Morey, Collection Development/Acquisitions Librarian, was delighted at the prospect of having access to Accessible Archives’ database collection. She said, “We are excited to be able to offer these historic databases to our faculty and students during the next academic year. We were looking to add additional primary resource materials to our electronic resources collection and this wonderful gift of a free one year subscription comes at just the right time. The scope and span of the collections is impressive, and we know our users will be able to find content that otherwise would not be available to them.”

DOING RESEARCH AT OCEAN COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY

We’re always pleased to hear about public library patron usage of our databases, particularly when it involves searching our extensive American County Histories collection. Elizabeth Cronin, Information Services Coordinator at Ocean County Public Library in Toms River, New Jersey passed along the following tidbits:

“A patron came in researching a “founding family” of Ocean County. We showed him he could get to American County Histories, Pennsylvania Gazette, etc. through Accessible Archives. He left extremely pleased that he could use it all at home through remote access rather than having to use our databases on site, as he lives more than 20 miles away. We’re a large county and many of our patrons live even further from the library.”

“A graduate student was researching the history of the tanning industry in Delaware. Not a topic we had much or anything on at all as a New Jersey public library. She had basic information, but needed information specific to Delaware. A search in American County Histories for Delaware using three keywords – tanning, tanneries, tannery – yielded more than twenty hits, most of which told of a local person establishing a tannery. She was very happy because the information gave her several ideas of where to look next.”

Godey's Lady's BookGodey’s Lady’s Book also gets a lot of play at the library:

“A member of our local genealogy society was working on a scrapbook page for one of her 19th century female relatives. She needed images of women at different points in their lives. She wanted to start with weddings. When I showed her the way to limit results by image type, and we figured out that we should search for ‘bridal dress’ as well as separate searches for ‘wedding’, she said she was going to have a lot of fun.”

“A woman from the local history society was working on an exhibit on women in the late 19th century. She was very happy when I showed her Godey’s Lady’s Book. When I told her that this is the Ladies Home Journal, Vogue, Atlantic and more combined for the bright American woman of the 19th century, she got it. She also loved the fashion engravings since they are also very interested in clothing and costume.”

SUPPORT FOR MICHIGAN STATE PROFESSOR/AUTHOR

Sally Helvenston Gray, Associate Professor at Michigan State University, asked if it was possible to secure a high resolution image from Godey’s Lady’s Book to use in a scholarly publication. Her article “Short Report: The Shawl-Patterned Gown” will be published in DRESS, the journal of the Costume Society of America (Vol. 42 no. 2) to be out in October of this year. We were able to enhance the requested image for publication, and Sally deemed the result as excellent.

She went on to say: “My library doesn’t have this issue of Godey’s so it is very helpful to be able to access the complete set online. I can tell you from experience how difficult it is to find the library that owns a particular volume and then go through the process of purchasing rights to use the image for publication. I’m looking forward to seeing the article in print. By the way, I have seen at least one other article that has used an Accessible Archives image. I’m not sure how often this occurs, but it is really a help.”

Thanks, Sally, we were happy to assist your publishing effort. Site Images often can be enhanced, and may be used for publication as long as a citation is included referencing Accessible Archives.

NEW BERN HISTORICAL SOCIETY AND THE CIVIL WAR

We received a request from Charlene Harvell at the New Bern Historical Society in New Bern, North Carolina for a different kind of use for an image from a book in our Civil War collection. The society is creating interpretive panels to be placed at the New Bern Battlefield, and they wished to use a photograph of Kady Brownell, “The Heroine of New Bern”.

Kady Brownell (1842–January 14, 1915) was a vivandière (a French name for women attached to military regiments as sutlers or canteen keepers) who helped the Union army during the American Civil War. She was an active participant in the First Battle of Bull Run (1861), where she held the flag high even as Confederate bullets were flying and, after re-enlisting into the 5th Rhode Island Infantry with her new husband, Robert Brownell, at the Battle of New Bern (1862). Following the Civil War, Kady was the only female to receive discharge papers from the Union Army.

Brownell Exhibit

Brownell Exhibit

The illustration was from Women of the War: Their Heroism and Self-Sacrifice by Frank Moore, one of the books contained in our collection The Civil War Part II: The Soldiers’ Perspective. We were able to supply an enhanced cropped image for the society’s use. Again, an acknowledgement referencing Accessible Archives is required in these instances.

BRIGHAM YOUNG HELPS WITH MARC RECORDS UPDATE

In our last issue we announced a number of improvements to our MARC records offerings. Chris Fox in the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University contacted us with some specific questions regarding downloading only the records for those databases held by the library, updating of records for newly added resources and delivery notifications. In this issue Howard Shatz, our MARC expert, addresses those areas.

The MARC records provided for the Accessible Archives materials are primarily modified MARC records for the original printed material. The modifications reflect the fact that the material is now available as an electronic resource by Accessible Archives and contains links to the electronic book and collection. Other modifications include removing non-standard fields and fields with information not relevant to the material and Accessible Archives.

When updates are completed the new MARC records can be downloaded either as a zip file containing one file with all MARC records or as a zip file with a file for each collection containing all records for that collection, enabling the library to obtain just the new and updated records for its collection. We are working on developing a regular delivery schedule. In the meantime, all clients will be notified when there are updates to the MARC records.

Chris responded to the information we provided her with the following: “Thanks to both you and Iris for your prompt and very helpful replies. I love great customer service – thanks for providing it!”

Thank you, Chris, for the compliment and for raising the questions that prompted us to expand the information we provide to our customers about our MARC records.

COMMITTEE ON INSTITUTIONAL COOPERATION

Over the years Accessible Archives and the Committee on Institutional Cooperation have negotiated a mutually beneficial relationship whereby CIC members have access to special offers and additional discounts when acquiring permanent access to Accessible Archives’ databases. Earlier this year an agreement was reached whereby CIC members were able to acquire access to Frank Leslie’s Weekly at an extremely generous rate, along with additional Purchase Bonuses.

Accessible Archives always is willing to develop similar alliances with other organizations, while still maintaining competitive pricing and providing special opportunities to individual and independent universities, colleges and public libraries. Please contact us for further information.