Adam Matthew Launches Quartex Digital Library Platform

Adam Matthew Digital, a SAGE company, has launched Quartex, a digital asset management solution designed to help libraries showcase archival collections.

Newberry Postcard Collections landing page screen shotAdam Matthew Digital, a SAGE company, has launched Quartex, a digital asset management solution designed to help libraries showcase archival collections. Informed by the white label platform that the company initially developed in 2012 to create its own digital collections and products, Quartex is a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform that includes cloud-based hosting and preservation of master files.

Company representatives emphasized that while the in-house platform served as a starting point, Quartex was built from the ground up with input from libraries. At launch, Quartex features include tiered back-end access management for staff workflows; simple migration of existing digitized assets and metadata from other platforms and repositories; International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) support; advanced in-platform cataloging options with support for most metadata standards; customizable dashboards to generate reports on asset types, status, and storage; and support for all major image types, audio, and video files.

Once collections are uploaded, Quartex generates Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)–compliant websites with tablet- and smartphone-ready responsive design, branding and styling options, usage statistics and site analytics for each published collection, an IIIF-compatible image viewer, the option of federated search across all Quartex-published content including content at other institutions, and more.

“Libraries want an out-of-the-box solution that will enable them to present content really professionally without needing a team of people with technical expertise,” Khal Rudin, managing director of Adam Matthew, told LJ. “The main challenges [libraries] face is finding something that they can use that looks professional without requiring a bespoke built system” using open source solutions such as Omeka, DSpace, or Fedora.

Quartex can also utilize integrated optical character recognition (OCR) capability to make collections of printed works full-text searchable. With additional per-image fees, it can also go a step further, enabling Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) to make a library’s digitized handwritten holdings, including manuscripts, letters, and more, full-text searchable as well. Launched last fall by Adam Matthew Digital, HTR is a proprietary artificial intelligence technology that utilizes neural networks to “train” its software to recognize a range of handwritten characters in linguistic context (currently all Western European languages), bringing the search functionality of OCR to digitized handwritten collections.

“For the end user, one of the key [benefits] is going to be search functionality,” Martin Drewe, head of platform services for Adam Matthew Digital, told LJ. “It should be easy to discover content and find relevant content…. Any content that you publish through Quartex can be made full-text searchable.” An upcoming release scheduled for December will include the ability to create in-platform transcripts of audio and video files, and to edit those transcripts, Drewe added.

In the process of developing Quartex, features have been incorporated in response to the varied needs of Adam Matthew’s customers. This will continue as the platform is refined.

Quartex Dashboard“Everyone has different needs,” Drewe said. “We’ve been in discussion with a lot of the archives that we regularly partner with, and over the course of the last couple of years, we’ve been taking on board various customer requirements. And we’re able to respond pretty quickly to…external customer requirements and build those in,” ranging from simple requirements such as persistent URLs to the IIIF-compliant image viewer that launched with the platform.

Other customer-inspired functionality includes the ability to publish any individual digital asset to multiple digital collections. And the company is in the process of integrating support for the Mirador image viewer, which will enable end-users to view related content published or hosted in repositories around the world that support IIIF APIs.

“I think it’s key for anyone developing a product such as this…. It’s the outreach that’s important. You’ve got to have listening briefs,” Drewe said. “That’s the way we’ve developed the platform and will continue to do so.”

Going forward, new features created in-house for Adam Matthew Digital will also be integrated into Quartex.

“When we develop a feature now, we want that to sit in a suite of features that is available for use across the Quartex platform,” Drewe said. “So, whether that’s a certain type of data visualization or mapping tool [for example], the idea now is that when we publish something through our commercial collections, we’ll be adding to the suite of features that can then be used across any of our collections, but also will be made available to Quartex users.”

Throughout development, Adam Matthew Digital has focused on ease of use, both by library staff and end users, Drewe said. “It’s easy to get your content and metadata in…and create collections. It’s easy to style and configure and brand those and then publish. On the front end the flexibility around being able to publish or edit content, you can do that in minutes. You don’t have to go through an IT team."

Pricing is negotiated based on factors including Adam Matthew subscriptions and archive size (minimum of 100 gigabytes), as well as additional fees for OCR and HTR capabilities.

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