TRLN Discovery

TRLN Discovery is a collaborative software development project to implement a modern and open-source discovery service which allows the user to conveniently find and access materials from all TRLN member libraries within a single search environment. It is unique in uniting the catalogs of multiple independent institutions who are not part of the same system. Learn more about the project below. Questions or requests for more detail may be directed to

Recent Updates

Below are the most recent updates made to TRLN Discovery. The release notes include prior updates and more information.

  • Catalogers can add standard qualifier text $q exclude to the 020 field to indicate when an ISBN has been shared and should not be pushed out to Syndetics. This corrects an issue where some items were displaying an incorrect book cover provided by Syndetics due to shared ISBN numbers.
  • Marc-to-Argot can now gracefully handle an incomplete 008 field and will no longer fail when this fixed field does not contain the expected number of characters.
  • Updated subject headings remapping file to incorporate terms recently discussed by the TRLN Discovery Metadata Team:
    • freedmen: “Freed people”
    • slave owners: “Enslavers”
    • slave trade: “Trafficking in enslaved persons”
    • slave traders: “Traffickers in enslaved persons”
    • problem children: “Children with behavior disorders”
    • problem youth: “Youth with behavior disorders”
  • Physical media labels are cleared if an item has no holdings. (Marc-to-Argot 0.4.69)
  • We made several improvements to the ingest application including:
    • Facilities for re-running transactions (indexing or ingest) that fall within a certain time period, and (optionally) for restricting them to a particular institution. Form is accessed from the “dashboard” which is available to admin users.
    • Added a “Name Authority” entry on the menu bar and a lookup page for LCNAF IDs.
    • Added an index_date (datetime, single, stored) field to every record as it is indexed. (Spofford 0.6.0)
  • LCNAF data will be updated on a quarterly basis to further support searching variants names.

Product Overview & History

TRLN Discovery maximizes the value of libraries’ collections by developing a conveniently managed and customizable discovery service that enables users to effectively and efficiently locate and access research materials from the Duke, NCCU, NC State, and UNC Chapel Hill libraries.

Serving thousands of users, the project was built using open source software tools and can be locally customized. The consortium wide index is based on a SolrCloud cluster hosted in the Amazon Web Services (AWS). Each institution hosts a customized Blacklight discovery interface, but is based off a centralized Rails Engine.

Our public repositories are hosted in Github, but some of our infrastructure is housed in private repositories. Contact for more information about our infrastructure and code.

In late March 2016, TRLN announced its decision to replace the existing Endeca-powered library catalogs and Search TRLN with a new discovery service aligned more closely with TRLN’s current context. This decision was reached in part due to Oracle’s cessation of development of the version of Endeca used for Search TRLN. While Oracle encouraged TRLN to implement the new version of Endeca set to launch in Spring 2016, they clarified that the effort involved in installing and implementing a new version of Endeca would equal or surpass the effort invested in developing Search TRLN initially.

Through conversations with various TRLN councils and committees, TRLN decided to pursue the implementation of a new discovery platform, with Blacklight and VuFind identified as high-level candidates. Two groups were formed to lead the development of this project — an Advisory Team with membership representing the Technology Council, Services Council, and Collections Council, to oversee the project timeline and goals and liaise with campus stakeholders on major decisions, and a TRLN Discovery Steering Committee responsible for project management and technical implementation. Three smaller Implementation Teams — User Experience and Services, Data Extract and Ingest, and User Interface Development —  reported to the Steering Committee.

After consulting academic libraries and library consortia, conducting background research, and completing group and individual evaluations, the TRLN Discovery Steering Committee recommended that the Blacklight open source discovery system be used as the foundation for the new frontends. The committee felt that both Blacklight and VuFind would fulfill the requirements of this project but noted that Blacklight’s modularity and extensibility would more readily facilitate collaborative development while also allowing local variation when necessary.

In May 2017, at the recommendation of the Advisory Team, TRLN implemented an Agile approach, specifically Scrum, for the implementation phase of the project. The teams and committees that had been involved with the project up to that point were reconfigured or dissolved as necessary in order to align with Scrum principles. TRLN financial and staffing resources went into the purchase of Jira and Confluence for project management.

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