We’ve just launched search functionality for publications data held in City Research Online. We’ve created a dedicated search page on the Research area of City’s website, as well as a supporting page with information about the service in general. This is the first time we’ve surfaced data from Symplectic (our Current Research Information System) to the web, and it took us a while to sort it out as well as some dedicated web development time, but we’re pleased with the results.
The search has been created by using Symplectic’s Application Programming Interface (API). The API pushes out “approved” (i.e. items validated by their author(s)) publications (in the form of citations plus abstracts) to a cache. The cache is then indexed and ranked by Funnelback, City’s corporate website’s indexing tool. The indexed data is then exposed to a keyword search via the form at the page linked to above.
There are a few features of the search, and the results it creates, worth flagging:
- We have top-ranked search results where there are full text open access papers associated with those results. See, for example, a search for Jason Dykes’ publications– you’ll note that the first 40 or so hits allow you to click through to an openly accessible paper. This was done on the rationale that people are more likely to be interested in results with papers associated (and it doesn’t hurt or download statistics!)
- As mentioned above, the search’s index includes abstracts, where present in the publication’s metadata. This means that search terms can sometimes appear a little fuzzy, particularly when you get towards the bottom of a list of hits- see for example this page, which is the fourth page of four when searching for the term “concrete”. We’re not too worried about this, given the propensity of searchers to only look at the first couple of pages of hits for any given search.
- The advanced search is not particularly advanced. Our web developer is going to include a date range for results, but generally we weren’t looking to re-create a City version of e.g. Scopus, so we felt that relatively few advanced search options would be adequate.
- We still need to do a bit of re-jigging of the formatting of the main search page, for example to include some text fields after the search form, to make the layout look a bit nicer. We’ve also included the service’s Twitter stream and an RSS feed of new items on this page, to give an idea of full text content being made live.
As ever, any feedback on any aspect of this new functionality much appreciated- you can email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.