Release Notes for Providence 1.5

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Release date: June 11, 2015
Maintenance release 1.5.1: August 18, 2015 Maintenance release 1.5.2: December 5, 2015 Maintenance release 1.5.3: January 18, 2016

As befits a release that took way too long to reach version 1.5 includes a huge number of changes including an overhauled user interface, lots of bug fixes and many new features.

PDF output

Output of PDFs for labels, summaries and reports has been completely revamped in 1.5. By default domPDF is now used to generate PDF output, replacing an older error-prone library that was the source of the dreaded "cannot render PDF" error. If domPDF is too slow or doesn't support the advanced formatting you need, 1.5 also supports rendering using wkpdftohtml and PhantomJS. Other highlights include a simpler and more capable template format for output, support for local templates and QRCode support.

Expanded support for external web services and linked open data

CollectiveAccess now works with several additional data sources including OCLC WorldCat, the new linked open data versions of the Getty ULAN, TGN and AAT vocabularies and Wikipedia open data. Data from these services can be used interactively while cataloguing or imported into records in your system via the data importer.

Media

It is now possible to adjust the image center used for cropping purposes. A number of new tools have been added to the zooming image viewer, including image rotation, greatly expanded annotation options and an interactive annotation list.

Search

Many bugs in the native SQL-based search engine have been fixed, and some useful features added including:

  • Did you mean? spell correction
  • Ability to limit searches to specific relationship types
  • Ability to index "self" relationships (eg. object-to-object relationships) for search

New metadata element types

A set of new metadata elements recording references to records in authority tables are now available. Distinct from relationships, which link to authority records via a full record (with "interstitial" metadata), authority metadata elements let you create an authority entry as a simple metadata value or mix it in containers will other element types. This greatly increases the flexibility of many system designs. You can now easily drop an entity reference into a repeating container detailing a conservation action, for example.

Additional features regarding the "references" mentioned above:

  • There is now a display bundle for "references". If added to an editor, all references to the record will be listed. This can be particularly useful for list items such as keywords. For example, if the "references" bundle were added to the list item editor, one would be able to navigate to a record of a particular Keyword and see a list of all Object records in the system that include that Keyword as a reference.
  • Upon deleting a record (such as a Keyword list item), you can now "transfer references" to another record upon deletion. This is exactly the same function as "transfer relationships", only for references.

Search, browse and display of authority elements are all supported.

Cataloguing and administrative metadata tools

A range of new cataloguing tools have been added in 1.5.

A formal deaccession process is now available. In previous versions deaccessioning was tracked as standard metadata. In 1.5 you can continue to do so, or use the dedicated deaccessioning bundle which includes deaccession date, type and description. Deaccessioned records can be filtered if desired.

Object "components", lightweight sub-objects useful for modeling whole-and-part relationships where there is minimal metadata for the part, can now be created from within the parent object avoid the need to navigate away from the main record.

Formal ways to track location are now provided. As with deaccessioning, in previous versions storage location and current location were tracked as standard metadata. With 1.5 you now have the option to track objects with a simple location history or with a full "movement" record. New editor bundles provide a summary of change in location and use over time. The notion of location can be optionally expanded to include non-location specific cataloguing such as loans and exhibitions.

Data and media importer

Various improvements to the data importer have been made, including:

  • Can now import media as part of a data set
  • Ability to batch import folders of files as data (eg. a folder full or Excel files)
  • Ability to create media annotations during import
  • Option to import all worksheets of an Excel file
  • Can now use column numbers and letters interchangeably for Excel documents
  • Support for "environment" values taken from a location in a data set and applied to all imported rows
  • Can now tag rows with row number and data file name
  • Added reader for RDF and PBCore files
  • New options for skipping mappings, groups and rows
  • Additional merge options
  • Support for specification of arbitrary XPath expressions when pulling data from XML formats
  • The data importer has improved handling of dates from Microsoft Excel, to reduce instances of funky date transformations that result from cell formatting.

Data exporter

  • Much improved User Interface control for Exporters. Export control is now both an Inspector tool (for exporting individual records) as well as a tool alongside the various "downloads results as" options in the search/browse results.
  • The ability to export directly to a GitHub repository has been added. This can be set up in app.conf
  • Various new options and settings available for export mappings, including Variables, Wrap Before/After, Context, omitIfNotEmpty, returnIdno, skipIfExpression, and Sort.

Circulation module

A simple library-style check in/check out interface is new in 1.5. Intended for small organization libraries, it allows for centralized or self-checkout, tracking of loans and reserves and basic statistics.

User interface controls

  • New tools have been added to improve control of screen space and metadata display. Field-level settings determine expand/collapse states based on the presence (or absence) of data. New "collapsed-state" previews show metadata even when fields are closed. Hierarchy browsers are now dynamically sized to the number of sub-levels and a new navigation button, Save and Return, allows cataloguers to quickly jump back after creating a related record.
  • Via normal display templates, you can now add any custom object representations metadata to the media representations bundle.
  • New "Save & Return" button allows you to, for example, return to an Object record you just left by navigating to a related Entity record. You can now "return" to the Object record from the Entity, without having to back step.

Maintenance releases

Version 1.5.1 was released on August 18, 2015. It includes a number of bug fixes. All users are encouraged to upgrade to this version from 1.5 using the standard upgrade process.

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