IsisCB Explore – Version 0.13 – Updates and Improvements

This afternoon, we implemented a series of upgrades to the IsisCB Explore system. We are now at version 0.13! These changes should make navigation more intuitive, improve search, and encourage more interaction.

There were three main changes.

Search results page facet list

Fig. 1. Search results page facet list.

First of all, we significantly modified the way that we mark authority records by indicating all links with an information icon. This has allowed us to incorporate links to authorities even from the facet lists in the search results screen.

We’ve made this change in order to focus attention on the authority records themselves because the distinction between authority records and bibliographic citation records is one of the most innovative aspects of the IsisCB system. The relationships between those two records create the informatic network that is at the heart of the Explore functionality (a topic that I have written about elsewhere).

In their current state, the authority records are quite thin—in other words, they don’t contain much data—so users will not yet be able to recognize the all of the advantages of the design we have implemented. As we grow the system, however, it will become more and more clear just why the authority-citation distinction gives us such such power.

Authority Icons

Fig. 2. Authority links in citation records.

In the search results list (see fig. 1), all of the facets in the navigation bar also now serve as functional records in their own right—they are not simply index terms. This is indicated visually in the facet lists with the check boxes and the information icon. Users can limit by facet as usual by checking a box on the left next to the facet, but they can also jump directly to the authority icon for any individual facet term (author, subject, etc.) by clicking on the information icon to the right of the term.

In the citation records (fig. 2), the subject lists no longer look so much like the facet lists. The information icon now points to authority links wherever they appear in a citation record.

The two other main changes were bug fixes of sorts.

The most noticeable change fixed the broken comments feed on the main page, so it now shows the most recent comments (fig. 3).

Fig. 3. New comments feed on the main page.

Fig. 3. New comments feed on the main page.

I urge you to try out this feature by logging in and adding a link to your own authority record. Include the URL to your blog or website or a link to current CV; if you are able to link to a full text version of a work cited, that, too, will be valuable. The more we are able to feature links to online content, the more useful the system will be. Of course informational comments will be very helpful as well. All of those additions will appear immediately on the front page feed.

Finally, we fixed a search problem. Hyphenated names had not been searchable by only a one half of the name, but now they are. Over the next few months we will be working on different partial and fuzzy search capabilities to make discovery better. If you find yourself frustrated with the way that the search is working, please let us know with the feedback link at the top of every Explore page.

That’s all for the moment. Stay tuned for further updates in the next couple of months. Thanks to you all for your support.