Thursday, May 09, 2013

Better known-item searching in Discover

Previously, if you entered a search into Discover that included very common words, such as:

a, also, an, and, are, as, as, at, be, because, been, but, by, for, from, has, have, however, if, in, is, not, of, on, or, p, so, than, that, the, their, there, these, this, to, was, were, whatever, whether, which, with, would

then Discover would ignore those words, and just search on the significant words in your query.

That caused problems if you were searching for a known item which has these sorts of words in its title, such as the book "To the Lighthouse". Discover would actually just search for the word "lighthouse", so the book you wanted would probably not be at the top of the search results.

Known-item searching is particularly common when using Discover to find a library catalogue record for a particular book or journal.

Now Discover will search for those common words - just in our own catalogue records - so the specific item you wanted should appear at the top of your results. You might get even better results if you put your search in quotes, or limit your results to books only.

Watch this example of a search for "To the Lighthouse".

And here's how it would have looked previously. (Doing a search for just "lighthouse" to mimic how the search for "to the lighthouse" would have been handled previously).

Note that the other sources covered by Discover still ignore these common words in searches, but EBSCO (who power Discover) are investigating how best to improve known-item searching in those too.

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