of Waltham Forest
The London Borough of Waltham Forest is situated in the
north of London, with a population of approximately 221,000 people.
The council recently implemented the ISYS:web search engine on their
website to facilitate website visitors finding their way through over
2000 pages of Council and community information.
When looking at new search engines for Waltham Forest's
website, the most important feature for webmaster Adrian Pietryga was
flexibility and the ability to perform text searches within SQL databases.
The Waltham Forest website serves up over 2000 pages to
its community. "We have a whole range of diverse information on
the site," said Pietryga. "There are council minutes, council
forms, information about environmental and planning issues as well as
a whole database of Community Resources." With 24,000 hits per
day, the site is very active and Pietryga credits a lot of the attraction
to the Community information they supply to the public. The Waltham
Forest site doesn't just inform its residents about what the council
is doing but offers information ranging from childcare and housing to
education and tourism, as well as information about social clubs and
recreational activities in the area. The Waltham Forest site also hosts
the William Morris Gallery. William Morris was a famous designer, painter
and philosopher who lived in the area in the late 19th Century. People
from all over the world visit the Waltham Forest site for information
on William Morris.
The council has had a website for around five years but
has only recently implemented ISYS:web. Prior to using the ISYS search
engine, Waltham Forest used the Microsoft Index Server that ships for
free with the NT Server. "Index Server was not very flexible and
couldn't provide full text search on SQL databases," said Pietryga.
"We have a lot of information stored in databases and I wanted
something that would allow us to get the best possible results from
ISYS:web also offers dynamic HTML conversion and hit highlighting.
Many of Waltham Forest's documents are in non-HTML format, and include
mostly Word documents and PDFs. The council is able to maintain a lot
of its website via the original authors. Because of ISYS:web's dynamic
HTML conversion, Word and PDF documents are maintained by the person
originally responsible for that information, avoiding document duplication
and ensuring that the website is always up-to-date. ISYS:web updates
its records every night, incorporating any new changes from the day.
This feature also makes upkeep of the database an easier
task. As the database is updated or added to, the information becomes
available on the website the next day. There is no need to convert the
database files to HTML first. ISYS:web administrators can also create
templates to view the database information. This Rich SQL feature gives
the administrator complete control over the way information is presented
and the fields that are displayed. Because ISYS:web performs a search
on a field or on the text within each field, search results yield more
accurate results than the usual database fielded-query system.
"ISYS:web was easy to implement and maintenance requires
minimal effort. Because it requires no plug-ins to view documents such
as PDF, it minimizes bandwidth and, in the UK, that's really important.
ISYS means we serve up our information as quickly as possible,"