Searching, Browsing, and Viewing Records

One of the most important functions of the Anchor Archive’s system will be enabling users to find and view zine records. They will be able to do this by searching in different ways or browsing by topic.

Drupal has a default keyword search that searches all published content on the website for any keywords entered. We, of course, do not want patrons to be able to search user or circulation content, so we needed to reconfigure this basic search. To do this, we went into Search Settings in the Administration menu and clicked on Advanced Search Configuration. In the area titled Search Index, you can select content types that you do not want to be indexed by the site. We selected all content types except for Zine Record, and so far this has been effective at keeping all content except zine records out of the search results and providing us with an effective way to search zine records in all fields at once. Reconfiguring the search does not affect the ability for someone with appropriate permissions to search for users in the user management section of the site.

Drupal also has a built-in Advanced Search function that allows you to search in the following ways:

* Containing all of the words
* Containing the phrase
* Containing none of the words
* Only in the categories (select a subject term, zine topic, or user tag)

These can also be configured in the same area as one can configure the basic search settings. Again, we selected all of the node types except zine record to be excluded from the advanced search, but we did not adjust any of the other settings.

In addition to the built-in advanced search, we want users to be able to search content in specific fields. For example, a user may want to find zines written by a particular author written before the year 2000. To create this type of field search we used the Views module. Views was a difficult module to figure out how to use. We feel like we have a handle on it now, but we still need to explore it further.

We went into views and created a new module called Search in Fields. Under the section for creating views called Page, we selected Provide Page View and gave the page a URL. This means that the view becomes its own page that can then be added to a menu, etc. We selected a table view for the results, which means that multiple results are displayed in columns. Under Empty Text, you can enter text that will appear if there are no results of the search. There is a section called Input Format which we did not use. Under Menu, you can select Provide Menu to add the view to the site’s main navigation menu or Tabbed Menu to make it a subsection of an item in the site’s main menu. Under Fields we selected the fields that would display in the search results (title, author, publication date, main topic, subject, user tags). Under Filters we selected the fields in which users will be able to search (same as above). We then exposed these filters, which means that users can filter the search with their search terms. So far, this seems to be working, but as mentioned above, we still need to learn more about views and perfect our Search in Fields view.

Finally, users should be able to browse zines by main topic, subject, and user tags. This means they will be able to view a list of main topics, subjects, and user tags, select one of them, and view a list of zines entered there. This can be accomplished in Drupal in 2 ways.

You can install the Directory module, which provides a page on the site with a list of taxonomy terms, with the number of zines associated with each term indicated next to the term. The Directory page also shows the terms in their hierarchical relationships. When you click on a term, you see a list of zines associated with that term. For some reason, you also see any data entered in the notes field displayed next to the title, and we’re not sure how to change that. When you click on a zine, you see the whole zine record and the item records associated with it.

The other way to browse by topic is by using Faceted Search (also called guided search), a module that displays taxonomy terms at the bottom of every search screen in the same manner as directory. When you click on a term, you come to a page with parts of the zine records for all of the zines associated with that term. Then you can click on a title to view the full record. Once you have your results, you can search within those results by clicking on another category.

There are advantages to both Directory and Faceted Search. We prefer the view that you get with the Directory module where you only see the titles of the zines rather than parts of each zine record, because eventually there will be thousands of zine records in the system and there could be almost 100 records associated with a certain subject term. It would be better then to see many titles at once instead of pages and pages of brief records. Directory also displays hierarchical relationships between terms, whereas Faceted Search does not. On the other hand, Faceted Search allows you to search within results. We will probably use Directory rather than Faceted Search for browsing by subject, but we will need to do some further research into both of these modules before we reach our final conclusion.

When users find a title through searching or browsing and want to view the full record, it’s important that they are able to also access the item information that tells them how many copies there are and whether each copy is in the library. This has been accomplished by creating a View which takes the node id of a Zine Record as a parameter and returns a list of Items associated with it, and embeds that View as a CCK field with the Viewfield module. However, it may prove difficult to incorporate circulation information in this View, as circulation is to be handled by another module. We may end up generating this list of items within the forthcoming Circulation module. See our post about the circ module.