All posts by Jenn Nolte

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  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?

A Quick Guide to Features in Quicksearch beta

There are several new features in Quicksearch that you might want to take a closer look at. These include:

– A search for “resnik justice‘ Quicksearch main page brings up the book by Judith Resnik in the Catalogs search and related articles in the Articles+ search:
Quicksearch beta screenshot


Search criteria “breadcrumbs” appear at the top of your results, making it easier to remember the criteria and facets you’ve used:

Quicksearch beta screenshot


Facets are easily applied and easily removed:

Quicksearch screenshot


Facets can be toggled as inclusive or exclusive (e.g. “Is” this or “Is Not” this):

Quicksearch screenshot


– Searches can be converted into RSS:

Quicksearch screenshot


This is just a short list… What Quicksearch beta features have you found to be useful or interesting? Let us know via the feedback form!


More information and tips on Quicksearch beta features and functionality to come!


The Quicksearch Implementation team

What is a discovery service?

According to Marshall Breeding, a discovery service is a system that searches “seamlessly across a wide range of local and remote content … [providing] relevance-ranked results.”

Marshall Breeding “Web-Scale Discovery Services“, American Library Association, January 14, 2014

With the arrival of Quicksearch beta, the Library will have two large scale discovery services in its arsenal.

Articles+, powered by ProQuest’s Summon discovery service, allows the user to search through electronic journal articles, images, newspapers, and abstract and index content, as well as our own LibGuides. Articles+ is a production service at Yale, supported by LibraryIT staff and maintained remotely by ProQuest. Along with our eJournal title list and our database A-Z list, the Articles+ discovery service is our patrons’ access point for licensed electronic resource items.

Quicksearch beta is also a large scale discovery service, but has several differences in structure, support and scope in comparison to Articles+. Quicksearch beta is a locally maintained service. It is powered by the open-source Blacklight framework, and is being developed in tandem with our digital collections repository service,, by LibraryIT staff. Because Quicksearch beta is a an open-source system that the library supports and maintains locally, there is more potential in presenting our data in specific and unique ways. Articles+ uses a central index of over 11.4 billion items, maintained by ProQuest, and it is ProQuest who ultimately decides how that data can be presented.

Like Articles+, the Quicksearch catalog search runs off of a central index; but unlike Articles+ this index lives on a Yale server and contains only Yale catalog records. Quicksearch uses a “bento box” approach to execute simultaneous searches against Morris and Orbis catalog records (the Catalog search) and Articles+ itself, directly from the Quicksearch beta landing page. In this way, a search for a book title might come up with the book in the catalog search, and reviews for that book in the Articles+ search.

Quicksearch beta is just that- a beta product that is still in development. If you’ve never heard the term before, PC Magazine has a useful definition: “A pre-release of software that is given out to a large group of users to try under real conditions.” Quicksearch beta is therefore not a fully developed product like Articles+ is now, but will be eventually!

For more information on discovery services at Yale, particularly Articles+, please see this handout from August’s Rediscover Discovery forums.

What’s in Quicksearch? Orbis records

Now that we’ve described what records from Morris, the Yale Law Library’s catalog, are being indexed in Quicksearch, let’s talk about records from Orbis. The main library catalog, Orbis, holds around 12 million bibliographic records. Of these, pretty much every record that is currently live in our online catalog will be indexed into Quicksearch. This includes:

-electronic journal titles from Serials Solutions
-In Process, On Order, and UNCAT records (unsuppressed, of course)
-records from large electronic resources like the Making of Modern Law, Eighteenth Century Collection Online, Making of the Modern Economy, Making of the Modern World, and more
-all other records currently available in the Orbis online catalog

As Scott noted in his post on Morris records in Quicksearch, we are not deduplicating records between catalogs at this time.

Stay tuned for more updates on the Quicksearch project!

Hello from the Quicksearch Project team!

The purpose of this blog is to communicate information and announcements about the Library’s Quicksearch Project. Each post to this blog will be contributed by the members of the Quicksearch Project team. Some posts will be paired with announcements to Yulib, but overall this blog will be the central place where communications about Quicksearch happen.

Please look for updates on the Quicksearch Project here and on Yulib over the summer and fall of 2014 as we work towards a rollout to YUL staff.


The Quicksearch Project is the Library’s effort to unite several of its online services under one discovery interface. The product we are using to do this is an open source system called Blacklight.

Our peers at Columbia University have also brought up Blacklight and now run this system (with heavy customization) as their main search and discovery interface, called Clio. To take a look at where we are headed with Quicksearch, please visit Clio here and try some searches for yourself.

The services initially targeted for our new discovery interface include:

Our project team is working diligently to shape the code we started with into something that works with our own services. The project work involves, among many things:

  • server infrastructure and administration
  • programming in Ruby, Javascript and other coding languages
  • creation of interoperability paths (getting services to talk to each other)
  • careful analysis and mapping of metadata elements from one system to another
  • documentation

If you have questions, comments, or other feedback on the Quicksearch project, please click here to share them with the project team. You can also comment here on this blog.

Kalee Sprague (Project Manager), Library IT
Lakeisha Robinson (Technical Lead), Library IT
Katie Bauer,  Library IT
Steve DiSorbo,  Library IT
Arcadia Falcone, Cataloging and Metadata Services
Mike Friscia, Library IT
Yue Ji, Library IT
Scott Matheson, Law Library
Jenn Nolte, Library IT
Bob Rice, Library IT