Boxed in: a set of search boxes

Lorcan 1 min read

Libraries have major challenges in developing their websites. Think just of the information resources they provide access to. There are locally managed resources: a catalog, a repository or two, informational pages, and so on. And there are many remote resources: licensed databases, links to web pages, and so on. And there are pages which try to pull these together: resources organized by subject or department, for example.
These resources may be different in scope (reference, discovery, full-text or other content, …), in type of content, in terms and conditions, in specialization, and so on.
Abstracting up to that single – or small number of – search boxes that are presented as a goal is not straightforward. And indeed it is still common to see various searches/entry points offered: the catalog, metasearch, a list of databases, a search of the library website, ….
In this context I was interested to see Suzanne Chapman’s “search box round-up“.
She does a nice job of commenting on several approaches, and has a companion Flickr set of search box pics.
Incidentally, over time I reckon that ‘single search’ alternatives to ‘metasearch’ for general article access will emerge. By this I mean that services will consolidate article level metadata to facilitate access. This is not to say that there will not be target markets where niche databases continue to exist, rather that alternative solutions for general article searching seem inevitable. And of course, we are also seeing integrated search solutions for local resources emerge, Primo for example. In this way, the multiple resource challenge may get simpler, but will continue to exist in some form.
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