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Visualizing Solr Search Results with D3.js for User-Friendly Navigation of Large Results Sets

Julia Bauder, Grinnell College Libraries

As the corpus of articles, books, and other resources searched by discovery systems continues to get bigger, searchers are more and more frequently confronted with unmanageably large numbers of results. How can we help users make sense of 10,000 hits and find the ones they actually want? Facets help, but making sense of a gigantic sidebar of facets is not an easy task for users, either. During this talk, I will explain how we will soon be using Solr 4’s pivot queries and hierarchical visualizations (e.g., treemaps) from D3.js to let patrons view and manipulate search results. We will be doing this with our VuFind 2.0 catalog, but this technique will work with any system running Solr 4. I will also talk about early student reaction to our tests of these visualization features.