I planned on doing a more indepth post about this but since it’s been a draft for over a month I’m just going to do a quick one. Lorcan at OCLC has, as usual, a great post on searching, specifically the single search box. I think it’s an important idea that a simple search box isn’t much without good results. You can’t really take a system that relies on user’s search knowledge and quickly change it to a simple one. It just won’t work.

In order to make the front-end simpler for users, usually the back-end needs to become more complex to compensate. Relevency ranking becomes much more important and features such as spell-check more useful. If your application is designed presuming someone knows the exact title it will likely not work very well when they aren’t sure at all. Things are slowly moving in libraries from the inventory role to the discovery role and it will be interesting what ideas are put into place to help discovery. Faceted limits, item relationships and related terms are all things I’ve seen and I’m sure there will be great new ideas coming up.