SULAIR Home's blog

Some features have been temporarily removed or changed

Two features had a negative usability impact and reduced user confidence in the search results:

  • the ability to search keywords "in Subject";
  • the "similar items" sidebar on the item detail page.

We will continue to look for a more effective way to provide this functionality.

The "Librarian View" of the MARC record has been replaced by a link to the XML view of the record for now. The XML layout will be replaced by a more readable display.

We've made some corrections and improvements

  • "Did-you-mean?" suggestions are based on our own indexes rather than an external dictionary, and words are suggested only if they will return more results than the original word.
  • Previous/Next links on the item detail page let you browse the result set one at a time without returning to the result list.
  • Relevancy ranking is improved: exact matches are ranked before stemmed matches.
  • Search breadcrumb shows the structure of your search and lets you remove elements without starting over.

Introducing Blacklight

SearchWorks development has been quiet on the surface for the last few months, but quite active behind the scenes. We’ve spent the last two quarters doing a technology switch "under the hood." Specifically, we replaced the VuFind engine ( that powered the first iteration of SearchWorks with Blacklight (

Problem with ae and oe ligatures resolved

Searching and sorting of ae and oe ligatures has been corrected. For example:

  • searching for Æon now gets the same results as Aeon
  • searching for Coeurdevey gets the same results as Cœurdevey

These terms will also behave as equivalent values when results are sorted.

Sort by publication date

SearchWorks now allows you to sort your search results by year of publication. There are more changes coming soon, but sort-by-date has been such a frequently-requested feature that we wanted to make it available immediately. Let us know what you think; and stay tuned...


We've added OpenSearch support to SearchWorks - now you can add SearchWorks to your browser's built-in search box! When you're in SearchWorks, click on the down-arrow button next to the search box in your browser's toolbar, and select "Add SearchWorks." More detailed instructions are here:

We're doing some under-the-hood work this month - more changes coming soon.

Still more comments

More people are using SearchWorks now, and we're getting some very useful feedback. Thanks, and keep it coming!

  • Is there a way to mark and mail/text a series of results? I can see how you can do the whole search or individual records but not a selected number.
  • It's important to have the ability to select individual records from a search result and then be able to print, mail, etc. the selected list, not just item by item.
  • Texts should include the call number.

More comments

  • The "cite this" feature is awesome. Having this will make life a lot easier. It definitely deserves a very hearty thank you.
  • The browse function is really useful. Congrats on the good job there. Consider offering a text only version and/or a one-line version once the user makes a search, so as to have a quicker grasp of related titles. An advanced search option where one can delimit the search by date, language, etc. would be useful. Also an "exact title" option.

Summary of feedback so far...

We've had multiple requests for the ability to sort results by publication date! (And we will add it.)

  • Great product. Will there be the option to filter or sort results according to publication date?
  • Are there plans to be able to sort results by publication year?
  • We must have date added to the sorting. Hugely important.
  • It would be helpful to sort by date. I'm looking for old travel books on Africa.
  • Please enable sort by publish date in the results field.

Usability program

We've begun a program of regular usability activities around SearchWorks to help us improve and refine the interface. These activities include:

  • usability tests (you complete a list of tasks using the product being tested, while the study administrator observes and asks questions)
  • card sorting (you group terms into categories that make sense to you)
  • paper prototypes (you "interact" with drawings of a hypothetical interface)
  • interviews
  • etc.

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