A major software update is being implemented by our software developer Veridian that will change certain aspects of the Illinois Digital Newspaper Collection website. IDNC users will notice that several features of the website are different than they were in previous versions. Many of the changes involve back-end software updates which should not directly affect users. However, several alterations could affect how the IDNC website is used:
User text correction– The IDNC relies on volunteers to improve the quality of our transcription. According to Veridian, there will be “How to’ guides and ‘recommended items to be corrected’ to help users choose which items to work on.” These tools will help volunteers produce more precise corrections in areas of higher demand.
User Dashboard and Hall of Fame– Users who have corrected most text lines are included in a ‘hall of fame’ ranking chart. The chart will be expanded to give more credit to our volunteers. The new update will also combine user data into a streamlined dashboard. The new dashboard will make research and transcription easier.
Search result visualization– Previous versions of our search functions were largely text-based and had no visualization tools to help sort returned results. This has changed due to the new update. Veridian explains that “this feature presents search results in a bar graph, grouped by publication date…by hovering over the graph, users can see at a glance the number of search results returned within each year”. UIUC Digital Reformatting coordinator William Alan Schlaack told the IDNC that “the search visualizations allow users to more readily see the distribution of date ranges in their search results. Essentially the graph will provide a bird’s eye view of search result dates.” The new graphics should improve searchability and accessibility standards during research.
Tag suggestions for users– IDNC users will be given suggestions for content tags that will increase subject searchability once added. Tags offer another important method of finding research materials. According to Veridian, “the suggestion list is derived from existing tags.” They also note that suggestions will begin to appear after a minimum of two characters have been typed in.
Password policy changes– Password changes will not be immediately required for users with established accounts. However, new users and those who change their passwords will have to follow altered password creation guidelines. Veridian explains these guidelines in detail “Passwords must be a minimum of 8 characters long and contain at least one letter, one number, and one other character”.
Required actions for PDF Downloads– According to Schlaack Data scraping and piracy are ongoing issues for the IDNC. He wrote that “By implementing reCAPTCHA we are helping to ensure that human users are prioritized over bots that currently have the ability to carry out mass-downloads of content, thus putting strain on our system and potentially slowing IDNC down for “real” users. Some of this bot-downloaded content often finds its way onto other, sometimes for-profit websites, which is a massive copyright violation as well”. As a result, Veridian put in place two new security measures. The first is to require an account before allowing content downloads. The second security measure is to encourage the use of reCAPTCHA before downloading a PDF.
What is Veridian?
Veridian Software is a company specializing in the digitization of historical newspapers. They also support and maintain the hosting platforms that allow access to digitized periodicals for organizations like the IDNC. Their ‘About us’ page explains that they “give libraries the ability to preserve archives of historic material and deliver the content as a digital collection to their communities.”
If you have questions or comments about these changes, or you would like to suggest other improvements, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
All quoted material can be found at the Veridian company website: