Quicksearch Beta Links on Library home page February 5

Library IT and the Quicksearch Implementation team are preparing to do a code rollout for Quicksearch Beta next week.

After the code rollout staff will test Quicksearch beta. When it is determined that the code rollout was successful, our new web developer Steve Wieda will be putting a link to Quicksearch beta on the YUL homepage http://web.library.yale.edu/ the following Thursday February 5th. This will begin the public beta testing period for Quicksearch!

The link will be under the search box in “Search Orbis Catalog” section on the left side of the page. It will read “Try Quicksearch beta!” Clicking on this link will take you to http://search.library.yale.edu/.  Links will also be available in the ‘Research’ box on the home page, and from the ‘Research’ drop-down in the header.

A description of the latest Quicksearch features is available in theQuicksearch blog at http://libraryunifiedsearch.commons.yale.edu/.  The major enhancement rolling out next week will be to re-name the ‘Catalogs’ section to ‘Books+’.  We are making this change based on undergraduate and graduate student feedback in user studies this fall.  A number of other small interface changes will be made as well.

Over the next several weeks, we will be offering brief information / demo sessions.  Stay tuned for more information on dates.

Please note that because Quicksearch is still in Beta, it will be supported from Monday – Friday, 8am-5pm only.  It will also be subject to outages as we continue to address issues and add new features.

January New Features in Quicksearch beta

The following new features and bug fixes have been rolled out in January:

  • We have greatly improved relevancy ranking for known phrase searches like Journal titles.  A typical example of this is a search for the Journal title ‘Nature’ which has long been a source of frustration in Orbis because so many titles in the Library catalog contain that word.  A search for ‘Nature’ in Quicksearch beta now brings the Online version of the Journal up as the first hit in the Catalogs result list!  Give it a try: http://search.library.yale.edu/quicksearch?q=nature&commit=
  • Another great new feature: you can now access Full Text materials like the online version of ‘Nature” directly from the Quicksearch results list.
    Screenshot QS beta
  • Quicksearch beta response time has also been greatly improved! Thanks again to everyone who reported and/or pitched in to help out with this issue.
  • All fields that display in Orbis now display in Quicksearch beta
  • Several small layout and style issues have been addressed

via January New Features in Quicksearch | Quicksearch Project.

Update on Usability Testing for Quicksearch beta

Quicksearch beta, a Blacklight-powered library search of the Orbis and Morris catalogs, along with Articles+ from Summon, has been available for library-staff testing since October 2014. Recently staff from around the library conducted usability tests of Quicksearch beta with 14 students. Tests took about half an hour to complete, and consisted of a set of typical library search tasks such as finding a book by title and author, looking for a journal, finding books and articles in a topic, and saving/requesting and citing material. Teams of library staff worked on tests, with one person recruiting testers, a second asking the questions and running the tests, and a third person recording the sessions. Test takers were asked to think aloud during testing and their comments and actions were written down by the observer staff person. These types of “think aloud protocol” usability tests are considered an inexpensive and reliable way to uncover problems with digital interfaces, and are conducted as standard parts of interface development cycles.

Usability testing was done in large part to determine if Quicksearch beta is ready for wider release to Yale students and faculty in the spring semester. During testing the only problem uncovered which must be addressed before Quicksearch beta can be more widely disseminated to the Yale community was that response time slowed considerably, to a level which is not acceptable in a search interface. Modern expectations of search is that results will be returned within one second on average. Anything longer than two or three seconds causes users to question if an interface is working. LIT staff are now working to address the slow response times. Culprits may include the SOLR index used in Quicksearch beta, the Blacklight application, the hardware environment, or a combination of these three things. This complexity makes troubleshooting a challenge.

Quicksearch beta includes results from books and articles, which are presented side-by-side in one screen. Labeling in this display was problematic for test takers. The use of Catalogs (to represent material from the Orbis and Morris catalogs) did not seem to mean much to test takers. We recommend that Catalogs be replaced by Books+ to make the material found in Catalogs clearer and to draw a more obvious distinction with Articles. We also recommend changing Articles to Articles+, and to be consistent with this wording throughout the search application.

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Side-by-side display of results from catalogs and Summon (Articles+) in the Quicksearch beta display.



Test takers had some trouble with complexity of moving between areas for books and articles, and understanding when books were being searched, when articles were being searched, and when both types of materials were being searched. Visual cues need to be added to the books only and articles only areas so that that the material searched there is more obvious. 

Lack of obvious visual cues on the page and the search box made it difficult for test takers to understand the context of search.
Lack of obvious visual cues on the page and the search box made it difficult for test takers to understand the context of search.

One task for which Quicksearch was not successful for most users was finding a recent issue of a journal. The search did not do a good job bringing a journal title to the top of search results. The SOLR index and relevancy ranking can be manipulated to make this type of search function better, or other targeted ways of doing a journal title search need to be added to the Quicksearch beta interface.

Another problem was seen when users were asked to limit a set of book results to a  more targeted set of books in a subtopic (in this case, books that were about the law or legal aspects of a subject such as CEO compensation, Ebola, or climate change). The Quicksearch beta interface should make such a task straightforward, or at least that the hope, through the use of subject facets. Most users could not, however, complete this task using subject facets. There was a greater rate of success (73% success versus 46% success) when users were asked to do a similar narrowing of results of articles. Users are presented with different sets of facets for books and articles, and there are actually less facets available for articles. It could be that the simpler list of facets makes the topic facet more easy to spot and use in article search results.

Other aspects of Quicksearch beta worked very well and caused few problems for most users. All test takers were able to successfully find a book by a known title, identify where it was in the library system, and navigate to the order form. Most test takers were also able to save article records for later use and email citations.

Probably the biggest win from Quicksearch beta is just the simple fact of the single search of Orbis and Morris in one interface. There was not a lot of name recognition of Orbis demonstrated by these students and even less of Morris. The chance of a student searching one of these resources seems to be decreasing over time, the chance of searching both of them for material seems unrealistic. Quicksearch beta successfully combines both resources in one search, thereby saving time for Yale users and potentially surfacing far more library material in the process.

Read the summary or get the full report.



Quicksearch December Update

Thanks again for to everyone for their continued use and testing of Quicksearch!

Many things have happened in the Quicksearch Project in the last month.  We have rolled out important new features, conducted user studies, and addressed over half of the 100 or so issues reported by you.   For example:

  • Quicksearch can now display special circulation messages generated by Orbis status patrons.
  • Search results in the Articles+ column are now pre-limited to Yale licensed materials, eliminating a major source of confusion in Quicksearch results.
  • Jenn Nolte and Katie Bauer coordinated an initial round of user testing, with help from a number of staff from around the Library system.  More details about the results of the user studies will be available soon.

We still have a lot of work left to do.

For example, we are working to improve relevancy ranking for popular journal titles like ‘Nature,’ ‘New York Times,’ and ‘New England Journal of Medicine’ that are difficult to find in Orbis.  Other improvements currently in progress include:

  • Improved response time.  Thanks to everyone who has reported slow response time; resolving this problem with our Solr index is our number one priority.
  • Displaying all fields in Quicksearch that display in Orbis
  • Identifying Chrome-specific problems with displaying certain non-roman characters
  • Improving the Orbis record extract to include fields like 856 links in MFHD records.

2015 promises to be an exciting year full of anticipated new features: a ‘Resources about Yale’ facet focusing on Yale-oriented special collections, implementation of dynamic statuses from Morris using the Innovative Interfaces API, requesting directly from the Quicksearch interface, and more.

My thanks to all of the members of the Implementation Committee, Discovery Metadata Committee, and numerous volunteer testers who have worked so hard this year on the implementation of Quicksearch.

While we continue moving toward our goals, please understand if our progress slows somewhat during the coming year. The library has several time-sensitive projects moving forward in 2015, and at times other projects will have to take precedence.  Thank you for your patience, continued participation and support.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year!

–          Kalee

On behalf of the Quicksearch Implementation Team:

Kalee Sprague (Chair)
Lakeisha Robinson (Technical Lead, Ex-Officio)
Katie Bauer
Steve Disorbo
Arcadia Falcone
Yue Ji
Scott Matheson
Jenn Nolte
Bob Rice
Quicksearch Feedback form: https://yalesurvey.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_ePRYbhHrT3D2eEd

Current list of Reported Issueshttp://tinyurl.com/lit-qs-issues-xslx

Current list of Requested Featureshttp://tinyurl.com/lit-qs-requests-xslx


Usability Testing for QuickSearch beta

Staff from various parts of the library, including Medical, Law and Bass/Sterling have just completed a round of usability testing for Quicksearch. In this initial round of testing we wanted to look at some basic questions about this type of search, which combines results from the catalogs Orbis and Morris, and the article search from Summon called Articles+. Would students understand what was being searched? Would the Bento Box display make sense,  and would they be able to successfully navigate between the sections to find books and from the catalogs on the left and article results on the right. Would results be judged relevant to the search? Would testers understand the display of information about where to get a book or find fulltext of an article? Would testers be able to order material or email citations?

We are in the process of collating results from the first 12 tests, and we’ll be debriefing with staff who participated. We’ll follow up with a synopsis of results soon.

Here are the specific questions asked:

1. When you are starting research for a class, where would you typically start?

2. Now let’s look at the Quicksearch Beta search interface http://search.library.yale.edu  Based on what you see here, what library resources do you think Quicksearch Beta will search?

3. Have you recently done any research for a paper or class? I’d like you to try QuicksearchBeta to research this topic, or if you’d rather some other topic relating to yourmajor/discipline or just a topic of interest to you.

4. Let’s talk a little about what you see on the page. What are your initial impressions of what isdisplayed?

a. Do you find books appropriate to the topic?     b. Do you find articles appropriate to the topic? c. If you were writing a paper on this topic how satisfied would you be with these results?
5. Please see if the library has the book: “Backlash” by Susan Faludi. Where is it in the library system?
6. Please find the most recent issue of New England Journal of Medicine.
7. Please do a search and find what books and articles the library has about (choose one).
CEO compensation
Ebola hemorrhagic fever
effects of climate change on developing nations
a. Let’s look for some print books. Are any of these books about legislation/laws?
b. Please select a few books from this search. How would you save them for later use?
c. Let’s look for some articles.  Can you limit results to only scholarly publications?d. Are any of these articles about legislation/laws?
e. Please save a few articles to your list of saved items
8. Can you find a way to email the saved items to yourself?
Post test Questions
1. In the future would you use this tool? Why or why not?
2. Compare the experience of using Orbis to the Quicksearch Beta. Do you prefer one of these?
3. Compare the experience of using Articles+/Summon to Quicksearch Beta. Do you prefer one of these?
4. What did you like about Quicksearch Beta?
5. What is one thing about  Quicksearch Beta would it be most important to improve?

New Feature in Quicksearch beta! | Quicksearch Project

The Quicksearch Implementation team has rolled out a new feature in Quicksearch beta: Save Citations to a Bookbag! Now you have the ability to save all of your important items and search results to your own Bookbag. All you need to do is follow the steps below:

  • Sign-in with Yale Central Authentication Service (CAS), via the ‘Login’ button, and do a search.
  • Click into either the Catalogs search results or the Articles search results.
  • Check any of the boxes on the right of each item.
  • Hover over the ‘Selected Items…’ drop down and select ‘Save to Bookbag’.
  • Once the item(s) has been saved, you can access your Bookbag by clicking on the ‘Bookbag’ link in the green saved item box, or the ‘Saved Lists’ link in the upper right corner of the screen.

You can also save to your bookbag directly from a Catalog record:

  • Click on any item in the Catalog results, then click on the ‘Save to Bookbag’ link in the record view.
  • Once the item has been saved to Bookbag, you can access your Bookbag by clicking on the ‘Bookbag’ link in the green saved item box, or the ‘Saved Lists’ link in the upper right corner of the screen.
  • Note: the item-level Save to Bookbag feature works only in the Catalogs search

The Bookbag feature also has an additional feature: the ability to create your own named list. You can achieve this by following the steps below:

  • Go inside your bookbag and select the items you’d wish to save to an alternate list.
  • Once you’ve selected your item(s), click on the ‘Copy Selected Items…’ button and type in a new name for your selected items.
  • Once you hit the ‘Submit’ button, your new list is shown under the ‘Bookbag’ list on the left hand side of the screen.

We hope you enjoy this brand new feature!

– Quicksearch Implementation team

LibraryIT acquires New Relic performance management service

LibraryIT recently purchased a license for the performance management and monitoring service New Relic. We will be using the New Relic APM-Application Performance Management application to monitor and improve performance of the new Hydra/Blacklight complex (aka Findit and Quicksearch beta).  This is a SaaS, cloud-based service for monitoring applications and their underlying infrastructure as well as the programs themselves.

New Relic does do some usage monitoring, much in the vein of Google Analytics, but the particulars of installation and setup of this service will allow the Information Architecture Group in LibraryIT and others to specifically target performance issues like page loads and search result returns. New Relic will be a great help in assessing the health and responsiveness of the critical servers, applications and  which run the Library’s key services.

Quicksearch beta: Priority Issues to resolve for Soft Roll out

Priority Issues to resolve for Soft Roll out

A small group met this week consisting of Public Services staff and Library IT staff to identify the high priority issues that need to be resolved before we can release Quicksearch Beta for evaluation by students and faculty.

It was generally agreed that we need to put the word ‘Beta’ in as many places as possible, so it’s clear to users that this is a very early version of the interface, and not a finished product.

The specific issues that were identified as requirements for the soft rollout included:

  • Addressing the insertion of the phrase  ‘|DELIM|’ between subfields in the uniform title (240) field display
  • The Articles+ lack of a pre-limit to Yale-only materials
  • The sublineal dot is appearing as a box in some instances – this might affect French, Turkish, South East Asian languages, and more
  • Item Status isn’t accurate, esp. for Patron status messages – items with a status ‘on Arts New Book Shelf’ display as ‘Unavailable’
  • Link directly to the current record in Morris from the item detail page, instead of going to the Morris home page

These are our priorities for the next two weeks.  Right now our goal is to resolve these issues and do a soft release of Quicksearch Beta the first week in November.

Quicksearch Beta Feedback | Quicksearch beta Project

Quicksearch Beta Feedback

Many thanks to everyone who has provided feedback about the Quicksearch Beta interface!

Our favorite feedback message so far:

“YAY QUICKSEARCH BETA! I just ran my old faithful search, “water nepal” and got some slammin results.”

We’ve also received a lot of great suggestions for changes that would make the interface work better.  For example, two staff members suggested linking to the Orbis record, instead of directly into the Orbis Request feature, so that our patrons can access all of our Scan and Deliver, Aeon, and other request options.

That’s just the sort of feedback we’re looking for!

We have already started work reviewing and making changes like this where we can.  You can see the full list of issues reported and new features requested online on our two sharepoint lists:

Reported Issues: http://tinyurl.com/lit-qs-issues-xslx

Requested Features: http://tinyurl.com/lit-qs-requests-xslx

We hope you will continue exploring Quicksearch Beta (http://search.library.yale.edu) , particularly by using it as part of your daily work.  Please report any comments or suggestions you may have via the ‘Feedback’ links in the header and footer of each Quicksearch page.

via Quicksearch Beta Feedback | Quicksearch Project.

Farewell Yufind: LibraryIT to retire beta service in October

The Enterprise Systems & Architecture group would like to announce that LibraryIT is retiring YuFind, the Yale University Library VuFind beta service. The link http://yufind.library.yale.edu/ will no longer be available after October 31st, 2014. Patron use was discontinued of some time ago and support for the service ceased in 2013.

Yufind was the one of the Library’s first forays into using an interface with facets and run off of a Solr index, and the lessons learned from this beta project have also informed the development of the Blacklight-powered Quicksearch beta, which also uses a central Solr index. 

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please contact raymond dot frohlich at yale dot edu.