Magazine article Computers in Libraries

A Corporate Library's 'Single Search Box' Solution

Magazine article Computers in Libraries

A Corporate Library's 'Single Search Box' Solution

Article excerpt

Since our users want a single-step search, we present it to them in the context of our InfoView service.

Alcatel-Lucent has had an internal library website called InfoView since 1993. We always had pages for the various diverse resources we maintain for Alcatel-Lucent employees, such as books, serials, artifacts, market reports, and discounts. Each page has two search boxes: one for a "site" search on all pages and one searching the specific collection focus ofthat page, for example, "books."

Over the years we have noticed by watching our search logs that users do not always differentiate among the various resources being searched. In fact, when searching the InfoView site, they are often inclined to search for very specific content. That is to say, they will enter a standard number or the full title of an internal document.

In conjunction with this behavior pattern - and perhaps due to the arrival of services such as Google and Yahoo! - they are constantly pushing us toward a single search box. That is, they'd like a minimal interface in the form of a search that just gives users what they want. As summarized in the introduction to a Library Journal article called "Discovering What Works," author Henrietta Thornton-Verma hits the nail on the head when she says: "Patrons are used to Google. They don't want to use different search methods to explore different databases. They don't even want to use different databases."

This article will summarize how our InfoView search function works to give users the impression they are just Googling. While our environment is, we believe, somewhat different than noncorporate libraries, the same underlying issues affect all development and presentation to users, Since our users want a single-step search, we present it to them in the context of our InfoView service.

What Is InfoView?

As an internal website, InfoView provides our employees and researchers with the ability to browse and discover information resources such as databases, content collections, and other information services. InfoView also provides a powerful integrated search capability As contrasted with searching specine resources such as books or journal articles one resource at time, our "InfoView Site Search" is designed to address the needs of the average user, who comes to the service with the desire to search everything at once, just like on Google.

The available resources include the following:

1. Pages we create and host in our own content management system: This includes several thousand company pages (amalgamations of different resources and content relevant to a particular company, such as news and market reports); roughly a thousand pages on various "topics" of interest to our business, including LTE wireless technology, cloud computing, and so forth; a relatively small set of pages about the resources we have available (such as books, standards, competitive intelligence reports, or reference services); and services such as publication clearance.

2. Our intranet dark web: This is the content of our databases. Should book and standards titles be searched when doing an InfoView site search? Descriptions of engineering drawings? Certainly our users are entering searches indicating this expectation.

3. Newsletter content: We distribute and house many internal newsletters, as well as externally produced newsletters delivered to us under contract.

4. Content resources we contract or license but do not house: These resources include Safari Books Online, IEEE Xplore, Gartner, and The Wall Street Journal.

5. External open resources: Sites such as Wikipedia, Google, Amazon, and Bibliothèque nationale de France, and resources such acronym tools are openly available sources that might also be of interest to our users.

What we search and present is intended to fill both our users' information needs and their search expectations. Handling a search request requires a quick response, but it has to be in the context of business considerations. …

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