When I visit libraries and listen to what is needed, it appears that a major goal for many is to expand the reach of the library within the organisation.
Using the library and archive application for multiple purposes is a key benefit and is instrumental in helping libraries justify their importance in an organisation.
As a librarian, managing information effectively has always been at the centre of what we do. We have been trained or acquired the skills to find and manage information, so why not apply these skills for other areas of the business?
Your Amazing Data!
When you start looking it’s amazing how much data is held by an organisation or company that is hidden away or “lost” on some network drive, data that only one or two people can access. Examples might include a drive full of PDF’s that no one can search or a finance department that has scanned or indexed invoices for audit purposes. These could be held within Soutron with a search portal for Finance.
In the last 18 months, we have seen the library service taking the lead in assembling multiple types of data outside of the library, ingesting it into Soutron to make it more accessible for the user. We have seen lots of PDF’s which are text based, imported into Soutron and become instantly searchable. Another powerful feature of Soutron search technology.
Searchable PDF for the Welsh Government
I recently worked with our client, Stephen Gregory, Business and Legal Librarian at the Welsh Government which was very satisfying. They had several thousand PDF’s which had been scanned as image PDFs. Unfortunately, not searchable. It was going to take 12 years to go through them manually to catalogue and assign metadata to them to make them more accessible.
Stephen in the library had already imported the document images into Soutron and asked us if anything could be done. It just so happened that earlier in the year, our MD, Graham Beastall, had a meeting with an image company, who could take a PDF and digitise it, using an intelligent form of OCR – ICR (Intelligent Character Recognition). This technology allows the scanning process to use dictionaries that address the subject of the scanned documents and radically changed the image text into indexable text.
Stephen and I worked together on this and within 6 weeks the whole PDF collection had been fully scanned and digitised and re-imported back into Soutron.
A saving of 618 weeks of manual cataloguing!
The PDF content is now fully searchable – all thanks to exploring new technologies and of course the flexible database provided by Soutron.
Research & Development Director
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