Matthew Reidsma

Work Notes

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The Right Tools

The right tools
Students using the right tools in Zumberge, circa 1989, courtesy of GVSU Digital Collections.

Sometimes the best searches require that you use specific keywords in specific tools. We have a way to create scoped searches when the scopes are for things like location, content types, or language, but no good way to allow a patron to enter some keywords while also scoping a search to a specific keyword. That was the problem Elizabeth came to me with, since she needed a way to scope catalog searches to atlases. The best way to find atlases in the catalog was with the keyword “atlas” plus whatever additional keywords make sense. So I wrote a little script that checks a submitted form for a specific keyword (in this case, “atlas”) and if it doesn’t find it, appends it to the rest of the keywords. Here it is in action:

Screenshot of atlas search from demo video

This isn’t a perfect solution, of course, but it might be something that could be useful to other folks who are struggling with the best way to help folks run searches that require certain keywords. You can find the code that makes it work up on my Github page, and I’m happy to help you modify it for your own guide or tool if necessary.