How people search the library from a single search box

  • Cory Lown, North Carolina State University Libraries,

code4lib 2012, Wednesday, February 8 2012, 09:35-09:55

Searching the library is complex. There's the catalog, article databases, journal title and database title look-ups, the library website, finding aids, knowledge bases, etc. How would users search if they could get to all of these resources from a single search box? I'll share what we've learned about single search at NCSU Libraries by tracking use of QuickSearch (, our home-grown unified search application. As part of this talk I will suggest low-cost ways to collect real world use data that can be applied to improve search. I will try to convince you that data collection must be carefully planned and designed to be an effective tool to help you understand what your users are telling you through their behavior. I will talk about how the fragmented library resource environment challenges us to provide useful and understandable search environments. Finally, I will share findings from analyzing millions of user transactions about how people search the library from a production single search box at a large university library.