Library Gazette

New implementation of VuFind (VuFind 1.1)

Friday, May 6, 2011 4:45 pm

The technology department has implemented the latest version of VuFind (VuFind 1.1) which is an upgraded version of our current VuFind (VuFind 1.0RC2). Although there were important back-end enhancements to VuFind 1.1, this blog post is going to discuss some of the new improvements that impact the front-end of the application. The new features include alphabetic browse, better advanced search, and enhanced RSS functionality.

The link to the alphabetic browse page (Alpha Browse) will be found on the new VuFind home page under “Catalog Options” at the bottom of the page . This module provides a traditional alphabetical heading browse capability allowing users to see all of the authors, subjects and titles in our collection. The browsing result page lists results in alphabetical order including the number of records found under each result.

The link to the advanced search page (Advanced Search) will also be found on the new VuFind home page under “Catalog Options” at the bottom of the page. This feature has been improved to allow users to specify their search to a specific combination of fields. By clicking on “Add Search Field”, the user is provided with an additional search field allowing him/her to add further search specifications. A reference librarian tested the advanced search feature today and said: “I always used to teach students in BI sessions how to do complex, multi-concept searches both in the online catalog as well as in databases (with the standard 3-concept search template). It was a constraint when I could no longer do that in VuFind, and instead had to do multiple permutations of search terms. I tried the following in the new Advanced Search: diar* or correspondence AND women AND civil war. 19 results. This is great. The flexibility will be so useful for more complex searching needs”.

The RSS feeds are more efficient in VuFind 1.1 due to a new back-end functionality called Record Change Tracking. With this functionality, RSS dates are based on the date items are added to our collection instead of publication dates. Now RSS feeds are sorted by index dates and display index dates within the feed. This will allow users to track searches in order to be notified of new additions within their chosen areas of interest (like new videos).

We would like to move this new version of VuFind into production on Thursday May 12, 2011 to replace our current VuFind instance. We would need your help to make this transition so please try out the new implementation and provide us with feedback. The information collected will help us polish the product before moving it into production.

New catalog reactions and status

Thursday, September 10, 2009 11:37 am

It has been just over 2 weeks since we pulled the trigger and switched our catalog view over. We have gotten lots of great feedback and ideas for improvement and I thought I would take a moment to gather this feedback together and talk about next steps.

General Impressions

Comments from our patrons have varied from being impressed with the faceted browsing options to being frustrated with the limited information displayed on the default record page. Perhaps not surprisingly, There were some uses of the old catalog that do not work the same in Vufind (for example the display of the number of holds on a record). There has been some expectation that Vufind would go further in being more ‘Amazon’ like in how it indexes and displays records.

The list of enhancement requests, bugs, and fixed issues below represent all of the feedback that we have gotten over the last few weeks. We are working to resolve the bugs (foremost among them the speed issues and advanced searching) and will keep you posted with new news.

Enhancement requests

  • Would like to be able to see how many hold requests exist on an item in the new catalog
  • Would like the new catalog to explicitly state which series or version an item is (example Mi-5 season 1,2,3)
  • Add year into results listing
  • Add journal option to basic search
  • Add the ability to see 20, 40, 60 records per page
  • Improve serial current issues display – right now it shows item level detail but not summary holdings
  • Add ability to preserve certain facets (like library) when doing searching
  • Add grouping to locations (All physical reference locations for example)

Bug Reports (Unresolved)

  • Catalog slows down under ‘heavy’ use – Some lib100 classes of 15 people have seen some slow response times
  • Location listing should be in alphabetical order, should be consolidated in certain cases (ref desk and reference for example)
  • Advanced Searching does not work with more than 2 terms, truncation proves to be problematic, further advanced searching returns inconsistent or known to be incorrect results when compared to the old catalog
  • Resources without Item records in catalog show incorrect status of Checked Out – We have a workaround for this but it requires addressing each location specifically in the code, further statuses in voyager not always reported as desired in Vufind (missing books showing up as lost), lost showing up as overdue
  • Date sorting not working as desired
  • Recently received issues do not have a location?
  • Wake Forest University facet limit does not return records (It is in essence a useless facet since everything in the db has this tag)
  • Call number searching should not include periods – makes it difficult
  • Endnote Export not working
  • Still working on fully automated index updating

Fixed Issues

  • Call Number now shows at the top of every view of the record
  • Library links not always proxied appropriately – Kevin implemented a workaround for now
  • Ebooks now showing as available
  • Military Science added as location
  • Sometimes the 007 in items (item format) does not correspond to what the item actually is. These items should be reported when identified and will be fixed by cataloging
  • Known items not always showing up – We have a number of specific reports here. In some cases this is due to a lag in indexing (still working on getting the connection between our two servers opened up) but in others the items were kicked out due to record errors.

Vufind poised to go live Wednesday!

Monday, August 24, 2009 10:23 am

Over the last few weeks, Kevin, Jean-Paul and I have been finalizing the release of our Vufind implementation by working through the list of issues and observations submitted by library staff in our wiki. We were able to resolve many of the issues but did choose to hide/work around certain functions that had too many problems to resolve in our current release. For full details on what was fixed, what was missed, and what we decided to leave for the next release you can hit the bottom of the page

The most recent load ran into a number of data issues related to the addition of a few pieces of information from the holdings and item records into the index, most notably 30 or so records that had invalid MARC tags which would kill our export scripts. In all, out of our 1.7 million records, only 11718 of them errored out. This represents less than .7% of our collection. We will have to address these errors before those records can be loaded.

Please take a few minutes and check out the current system. One of the neatest (in my opinion) features of the system is a broken out list of all of our libraries. We were able to generate this using our holdings data (which is included in another list). This means that we can now have a dedicated catalog for the music, and education, libraries not to mention our own popular video collection.

If you have additional feedback or bug reports – please submit them in our wiki using this link. There will be a staff presentation on Vufind on Tuesday at 3pm in room 476 during which you can find out more about the system.

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