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Home >> Customers >> Success Stories >> APN

ISYS is behind the news at APN

Gone are the days when journalists would tap away at typewriters, when page layouts were done by hand and when newspapers were only sold on paper. Technology has had an enormous impact on the news industry - many news agencies are increasingly using electronic media to gather, research and distribute news. Australia's APN News & Media is one such company, and its Newspaper Division has discovered the information management capabilities of ISYS.

APN, or Australian Provincial Newspapers, is a media company that consists of three divisions - Newspaper, Outdoor Advertising and Radio. The Newspaper division publishes more than 65 titles in northern New South Wales and south and central Queensland. David Slyderink is the IT manager for APN North, which covers seven titles in Queensland. He was involved in the implementation of ISYS:web for APN subsidiary Capricornia Newspapers 18 months ago.

"Since 1995 our news pages have been made entirely on-screen, and for the last two years we have been capturing completed digital newspaper pages in PDF format," says Slyderink. "The next logical progression was to allow the newsroom staff to search the contents of these PDFs for specific material. The potential as a research tool was enormous. ISYS came to mind as it was an extremely effective product used nearly a decade ago by our sister site, Toowoomba Newspapers. We heard that ISYS had made an ISYS product for web, and the rest is history."

Capricornia Newspapers has more than 42,000 PDF files indexed, covering several years' worth of newspaper articles, and taking up almost 18 gigabytes of storage space on the file server. By accessing the information contained in these files via ISYS, journalists get much faster results than if they were searching and loading native PDF files. This is particularly useful when searching over a slow or remote connection.

Prior to using ISYS, newspaper articles were cut and filed manually in folders and filing cabinets by an editorial secretary, who would categorize articles based on prominent keywords gleaned from each article. This took a couple of hours each day, and searching for information would only return accurate results if the appropriate keywords were used, or a lot of patience and persistence were involved.

"The beauty of ISYS," says Slyderink, "is that even the most obscure word will return a hit if it exists on a page - and fast!"

Around 30 users access Capricornia's ISYS index from six newspaper offices around central Queensland. Staff members use ISYS for many different reasons. For example, a reporter might be writing an article about crime in Rockhampton, and want to find all the recent articles pertaining to theft, burglary and murder in the area.

The flexibility of some ISYS features has proved a bonus for Capricornia's users. The ISYS Word Wheel, for instance, will help users to locate information within an index, even if search terms are spelt incorrectly. Says Slyderink, "We find the system particularly useful for locating documents that contain a person's name - the Word Wheel facility can come in particularly handy for some of the more difficult names in existence!"

Other APN companies are also exploring the benefits of ISYS search software. Sunshine Coast Newspapers, another APN subsidiary, implemented ISYS:web 12 months ago. The newspaper group uses ISYS to archive and search material from eight different publications. In Lismore, on New South Wales' north coast, Northern Star Newspapers is planning to implement ISYS:web for around 20 users in the next few months.

Further on the horizon, Capricornia Newspapers is exploring the possibility of expanding its system to enable a search portal for registered Internet users. This would make previously published newspaper information available in a searchable format, online to the public. Similarly, the Rockhampton City Library has expressed an interest in allowing the public to view and search newspaper pages digitally using ISYS, rather than tediously perusing reels of microfiche.


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