St Albans & Hertfordshire Architectural & Archaeological Society (SAHAAS) Library

Soutron Streamlines Access to Special Collections at St Albans & Hertfordshire Architectural & Archaeological Society Library

International library, information, and knowledge management solution leader Soutron Global announces that the UK based St Albans & Hertfordshire Architectural & Archaeological Society (SAHAAS) Library, renowned for its vast collection of local history materials, has leveraged Soutron’s library management system to ensure the protection, discoverability, and accessibility of its invaluable resources. The special collections at SAHAAS Library are a historian’s dream, comprising rare books, maps, and photographs, many dating back to the 1600s.

Managed by Heather Jardine and her team of 12 committed volunteers, the library has witnessed a transformation from a conventional catalogue of books to a diverse, digitally accessible online archive of fascinating materials. To enable members and global researchers to access the Society’s special collections, Soutron has provided for the integration of their flexible and secure cloud-based historical database directly into the Society’s website.

Customisable Thesaurus

With the expansion of materials catalogued, Heather has discovered that the Soutron customisable thesaurus and its metadata keyword management system ensures that items are catalogued with precise and standardised terms, enhancing discoverability and user experience. The volunteers use this functionality, ensuring that the metadata aligns with standard library practices. This consistency is important because their library users often visit multiple libraries for research. Using standard terms and descriptions across libraries makes it easier for the public and researchers to locate materials.

Heather equates the library’s organisation to a well-arranged supermarket, “Where you expect to be able to find certain things like produce, tins, meats, etc. arranged in similar ways whichever supermarket you are using.” With the Soutron thesauri, materials are not only searchable by names but also by locations, topics, and consistent terminologies like ‘World War 2’ instead of ‘Second World War’, ensuring uniformity across the database.

Helping Researchers

Heather also appreciates Soutron’s ability to attach thumbnails and documents to records, which has been instrumental in providing a visual guide for researchers, making it simpler to identify relevant materials. “Sometimes a donation will consist of boxes of a variety of materials, such as published pamphlets, manuscript diaries, research notes, photographs, plans, etc., and we do not have the resources to catalogue every item in the box fully and separately. Instead, we catalogue the items as a collection and attach a list of what is in the box to the record,” states Heather. Now visitors can see a thumbnail of an image or document to determine if that is what they are looking for.

SAHAAS envisions leveraging Soutron’s archival functionalities to delve deeper into cataloguing their historical treasures. Additionally, they plan to explore mass importing existing data and potentially integrating with Google search to broaden the reach of their collections and attract a global audience.

Find out more

Read the Case Study in full.

You can also visit the SAHASS website and access their collections from there website:

To find out more about Soutron software and to book a demo, do not hesitate to get in touch today.