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SBS Customer Story

Alfresco used by SBS: A production-archive of the latest generation – easily operated by blind- as well as by sighted people

SBS was founded in 1903 by Dr. h.c. Theodor Staub as „Schweizerische Blinden-Leihbi- bliothek“ (Swiss lending-library for blind people). The Swiss Library for blind-, partially blind- and literate people (SBS) buys and produces audio books, Braille-, eBooks and large print books, music supplies and tactual games, and makes them available to the users. The SBS is the only institution in the German speaking countries that maintains the entire range of media for blind people on a library- and production level. It is not an ordinary library since the books in Braille, large print and audio books are only sent out by mail.

SBS produces many books and texts in its own publishing house. The offer ranges from novels to non-fiction, from tactual storybooks to thrillers for adolescences, from card games to music notes, from journals to voting- and teaching material. More than 40'000 titles are available at the moment. The SBS has set as a goal to maintain and expand the library stock in a way that also the offer of public libraries and bookstores can be reflected.

During 25 years electronic data has been stored in many different ways. As the project was started more then 10 archives with most different structures and referencing data for Braille books, large print books, audio books and eBooks existed. For the reproduction of these products many different files and metadata are needed. The missing reference between ABACUS (product master files) and the different storing systems often caused time consuming searching by hand for required data before the reproduction could be started.

Mid-2009 SBS decided to introduce a professional document management system which could reduce the effort for the processing to a minimum, solve the problem of versioning and accomplish the different archives into an integrating Repository.

Alfresco — powerful in function and flexible with adaptable possibilities

Different Enterprise Content Management Systems were carefully checked, and Alfresco was considered to cover the most of the requirements out-of-the-box.

Object ECM AG implemented the new production archive (MVL) and the fundamental document management system on the basis of Alfresco. In the frame of this project the following components were established:

  • an interface to ABACUS (product master files)
  • a web-based user interface (for blind- and sighted people)
  • different workflows for simple filing of new productions and revision of products
  • a migration framework to classify very unstructured data and meta data

Björn Abt, CTO at Object ECM AG, about the greatest challenges of this project:

» The historically based archives were the brainteaser of this project. Different forms of file hierarchies as well as many different text- and excel-files with metadata made the unification extremely difficult. In order to solve the problem an independent Migration Framework had to be written. A further challenge was to develop an Alfresco Interface for JAWS (Job Access With Speach), in order that it can be used also by blind- and partially blind people. «

Object ECM AG has modelled the entire ECM concept, implemented all required document types inclusive of transformation scripts, and implemented an elaborated security concept including Backup and Recovery.

More than 150'000 files with a volume of more than 120 GB, that is the size of the SBS production archive at the moment. What previously had to be collected by hand in order to obtain a product is now possible with a few mouse-clicks: thanks to implemented work flows it is easy to reproduce e.g. books in Braille writing. Alfresco provides the necessary files – always in the correct version – directly to the reproduction domain, which completes the product.

Fritz Widmer, Project Leader PAM (Production Archive Mvl), comments:

» Searching for a specific product in our file storing archives was mostly very time-con- suming. Due to the missing reference in the ABACUS product master files the required product could only be searched for in an archive reference list (text-file) indicating title, author and edition. If it was not clear in which part to search we had to look in several reference lists.

The newly introduced metadata field „Date quality control“ will allow us to classify all products by simple criteria. With a rule like „ all products which have passed the quality control after a certain date”, this system also allows us to define which products can be directly reproduced without any further control. «

Thanks to the full text index all products can now be easily found, if by author, title or category. The established ABACUS interface allows the SBS to provide all necessary structures in the production archive with the help of the metadata from ABACUS just at the push of a button.

Manfred Muchenberger, Project Owner PAM and Head of the Department Mediaverlag draws the conclusion of the successful realisation of the project:

» For the first time we now have a uniformed archive for all newly produced electronic texts. The migration of the different already existing archives has led to considerable additional work and has unfortunately not been completed for all archives. Still a lot of manual work is necessary for the correct classification of the files, and this despite Migrations Framework. However, we are convinced that the advantages of a modern ECM is worth the effort.

In addition Alfresco offers a system, which we can use also for further assignments. We would here like to mention QM, our audio archive, as well as filing of project documents. «

Object ECM AG is the only specialised and certified Alfresco Partner in Switzerland and offers high capacity Enterprise Content Management solutions by using state of the art technologies – including installation, adaption, implementation, migration, integration, Workflow-automation and training.

"In addition Alfresco offers a system, which we can use also for further assignments. We would here like to mention QM, our audio archive, as well as filing of project documents."

- Manfred Muchenberger, Project Owner PAM and Head of the Department Mediaverlag