Spotlight at Stanford is based on a set of open-source technologies that leverage deposited content in the Stanford Digital Repository (SDR) and the application infrastructure of Stanford Libraries’ Digital Library Systems and Services (DLSS). These technologies combine to make it easy for an exhibit creator to use the Spotlight at Stanford application to add resources from the SDR to an exhibit and for visitors to that exhibit to interact with those resources and associated metadata.


Spotlight is a plugin to Blacklight, a multi-institutional open-source discovery platform. Blacklight uses the Solr search engine to enable searching and browsing and provides a highly configurable Ruby on Rails front-end. Spotlight takes the rich resource discovery capabilities of Blacklight and extends them so that exhibit creators can feature content from a repository system and enhance that content with rich narrative and context. Spotlight at Stanford is a version of Spotlight customized by DLSS to integrate with the SDR and support the needs of the Stanford community.

Exhibit resources

Resources in a Spotlight at Stanford exhibit are drawn from the SDR. The SDR preserves scholarly information resources of enduring value to Stanford University in a robust, reliable, and secure environment. Any SDR resource can easily be included in a Spotlight at Stanford exhibit, and exhibit visitors can view both resource metadata and content in the exhibit context. Spotlight at Stanford also supports adding external, non-SDR resources to exhibits.


When SDR or external resources are added to a Spotlight at Stanford exhibit, they are indexed using Apache Solr, a fast, reliable open source search platform. Indexed exhibit resources are discoverable through searching and using configurable field facets. Combinations of search parameters can be saved by exhibit creators to create browse categories, providing exhibit visitors with easy ways to explore an exhibit through themes and other groupings. Exhibit creators can easily reindex their exhibit, a process that synchronizes the exhibit’s Solr index with SDR to retrieve updates to existing resources and add relevant newly deposited resources.