Newbie advice needed! Is Panorama right for my project?


#1

I’m going to be building a database for a small library, based on their old timey card files. There are approximatly 14,000 cards each of which has multiple pieces of information that will need to be incorporated into the database. Does it sound like Panorama might be the way to go for me?

I’m in the process of scanning each card to preserve them digitally and I will then begin building a database from the contents, one card at a time. The information is entered on the cards in cursive handwriting by multiple people, so can’t be OCRd to speed things up (so it’s one-at-a-time!). I’m working in Mac, but ultimately, the information needs to be available to a PC based user site and needs to be searchable. Will I be able to export to a format that is PC friendly and searchable? The database will require as many as 10 fields/categories of information.

Am I on the right track?


#2

That is for sure a lot of work, but an easy task for Panorama X. Pan X can handle much more than 10 fields / categories.

If I understood correctly, you would have 14,000 scan files with unique file names. Those scans would not be saved in your Panorama database; you would create a field with that unique file name for each record in your database. With this reference to the scans (saved in a subfolder of the folder containing your database) you can display the scan as well as your data in a form (not in the data sheet) of your Pan X database.


#3

You will not be able to use a Panorama X database on a Windows computer. When Panorama Server is released, you should be able to create a web based solution for PCs.


#4

Sounds like a fun project. Yes, Panorama will be able to handle this wonderfully.

I would have a single record for each book. A particular book may in fact have 2 copies which may or may not have multiple cards for that book. You will typically also want to have additional tables (databases) for items that might appear on a card such as publishers, or sources, or any other item that is common to many books.

Ultimately you will want to have this be a shared file served by Panorama Server X (which does not exist today but is underway as we speak.) This will allow anyone, anywhere to access the database and potentially see the status of the books location.

Have fun.


#5

Pan X is able to export CSV (or TSV) files that can easily be used on a PC.


#6

You could import your raw data into Panorama 6 for Windows and do all sorts of wondrous things with it. If, on the other hand, you plan to use Panorama X on a Mac in the long term and don’t want to spend money on Panorama 6 for just one project, you could import it into Panorama X, manipulate it as required and export it to Excel.


#7

One small suggestion on the Mac part of things. I wouldn’t put all 14k scans in the same subfolder. The Mac’s Finder can slow down if that many files are in the same directory; at least that’s my experience. It handle’s 1000 or somewhat more per folder fine. Pan X can as easily keep their references spread over a dozen or more folders, which should be faster.


#8

You could import your raw data into Panorama 6 for Windows and do all sorts of wondrous things with it.

Development for Panorama 6 on both Mac and Windows has been discontinued. I wouldn’t rely on on being able to use Panorama 6 on any future versions of Windows or Macs.


#9

That depends on what else you want to do with the PC. I have a client running a PC under XP - it’s dedicated to the one Panorama 6 task and will run forever without support. A small library might do the same for its catalogue.


#10

Here is one possible work flow that you can do with Panorama X. You can create an object that will execute a procedure when you drop files on it. So you could drag your scanned images and drop them on an object, which could then rename the files and move or copy them to a new location, create a corresponding record for each dropped file, record the path of the file in the record. So you would have a database with a record created for each scanned file and each record would link to one of the scanned images. Then you could just go through the records in Panorama, open the file with a click of a button, then type in the information, and move to the next. There are some data entry aids in Panorama that might speed up some of the work also.


#11

Most scanners will name files sequentially, so you do not need to drop them or rename them.

Once you have the scans in a folder, you can set up a Panorama form that will display the scan, and from that, the data can be typed into appropriate fields. In fact, that form will allow one to see the scan along with the typed in data, so you would be preserving your original card catalog within the computerized catalog, which would be a nice touch.

By the time you get this all done, the server version will probably be available, and you could use it to serve web pages, as noted above. This is the best way to maintain a card catalog: Anyone with an internet connection can access it anywhere, so they can see where an item is (or is supposed to be), whether it is in or not, reserve it, renew it, etc., before coming to the library. I do that with libraries whenever I am looking for something specific.

One thing, though, there is probably library catalog software available commercially, and you should look at them to decide whether that would be a better option. Even so, you need to enter the card catalog, and Panorama should work for that.


#12

This all sounds like Panorama will work for me. I should point out that
this is not a typical “library” card file I’m dealing with. It’s a small
library within a museum. I’ve attached an pdf of an Excel file to give an
idea of what information the cards might hold. Also attached is an example
of the cards I’m dealing with. Most of the cards have similar amounts of
information on them…


#13

This forum doesn’t do attachments, but I was able to retrieve them from your email and take screen shots.


#14

Thanks Dave…I wasn’t aware of the no-attachment arrangement.


#15

I’d use Filemaker. Cross platform now. Programming is a little easier, although you don’t need to do anything fancy aside from getting your data in.


#16

I’ve found that one very big advantage to developing on one platform and publishing in a web format is that the result becomes platform agnostic. You don’t have licensing for every user or installation issues, or wrong versions of the engine or OS. Just about any device with a relatively current browser can access the product and work with it as intended.


#17

True you are. My wife has coded rules and reports in high end accounting software for Fortune 100-500 companies for 20 years. She had to use a PC exclusively, however, almost all the products she has worked with are browser based now.


#18

So to get back to how you would do this in Panorama, you would scan all the cards, which presumably would be numbered sequentially. (A scanner with an ADF that accepts 3 by 5 cards is a must!)

In Panorama, you would set up a database with the fields you want and a form with a graphic object that is linked to show each card, one record per card, and Text Entry Objects for each field. (If you find you need more fields, it is simple to add them. Then you get someone to go through all the records and type in the information which is on the card. Clairvoyance should help. This is the easy programming, time-consuming part.

Then you decide on the interface that you want, and present the information the way you would like it. Those are the harder decisions to make. Searches are probably the most difficult thing to plan.