Shared Discovery Services Working Group

Established in January 2019, the Shared Discovery Services Working Group is responsible for the design, continual improvement, and maintenance of a shared catalog, often referred to as TRLN Discovery. This is a replacement of a previous platform we developed together called Search TRLN. Working group members have the responsibility to communicate and consult with staff at all of the libraries at their institution regarding the group’s efforts.

Members

The working group embraces an “Agile Development mindset” and follows the Scrum framework, with an Advisory Team, Product Owners at each institution, a Scrum team, and a Scrum Master. We also collaborate with a metadata team of subject matter experts.

Product Owners

  • Emily Daly, Duke University Head, Assessment and User Experience
  • Chad Haefele, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Head of User Experience and Assessment
  • Emily Lynema, North Carolina State University Department Head, Information Technology
  • Kelly Farrell, (Scrum Master) TRLN Program Officer

Scrum Team

  • Adam Constabaris, North Carolina State University Business and Technology Application Specialist
  • Genia Kazymova, TRLN Applications Developer
  • Cory Lown, Duke University Application Development Project Lead
  • Joe Moran, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Systems Administrator
  • Andreas Orphanides, North Carolina State University Associate Head, User Experience
  • Lynn Whittenberger, North Carolina State University Associate Head, Acquisitions and Discovery (Monographs)
  • Additional development support is provided as needed from colleagues across TRLN

Recent Updates

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

  • When a user searches their local catalog, they will not receive suggestions for items owned by other institutions. (Argon v1.3.20)
  • There is now a spellcheck function that will provide users with a set of suggestions based on the spelling of their query. If their query has no results based on the spelling provided, they will see a prompt asking “Did you mean” followed by a set of suggested queries they can select to see results.
    • Search suggestions only display when there are 5 or fewer results.
    • The suggestions are based on actual words in the catalog index, not a dictionary, so the suggestions themselves may not be spelled correctly but should always produce search results.
    • Some misspelled queries will not produce search suggestions because there are matches in the catalog index.
    • This feature needs to be turned on by each institution in TRLN by updating to Argon v1.3.21 and add this code to the catalog_controller file.
config.default_solr_params = {
spellcheck: 'true'
}
  • We completed a full reindex to incorporate Solr configuration changes for a new spellchecking feature.

More About the Shared Catalog

TRLN Discovery is a collaborative software development project to implement a modern and open-source shared catalog which allows users to conveniently find and access materials from all TRLN member libraries within each institutions search environment. It is unique in uniting the catalogues 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 info@trln.org.

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 info@trln.org 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.