Improving CollectionSpace Search

January 20, 2017

Ray Lee of UC Berkeley’s Research IT department is the lead for the CollectionSpace UI rewrite project, code-named “Drydock.” The following piece describes progress in improving search functionality in CollectionSpace. This work is funded by a recent grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to LYRASIS, CollectionSpace’s institutional home.

Search functionality in the new CollectionSpace UI is taking shape, with the implementation of keyword search nearly complete. This work includes making improvements to the presentation of search results, by enabling some commonly requested customizations that have been difficult to achieve in the current UI. These include:

Changing the columns displayed in search result tables, depending on the type of record being searched. Currently, search result tables must look the same for all record types, but not all columns are relevant for every record type.

Formatting the data returned in searches. CollectionSpace contains many different types of data, including timestamps, structured ref names (URNs), and other internal identifiers that should be presented in a localized, user-friendly way. This is currently difficult to do, resulting in raw data intended for machine-readability being presented to end users.
By simplifying these kinds of customizations (and providing good defaults), CollectionSpace will be able to provide more relevant and usable results for searches on collections data. The changes are slated for release in version 5.0, and described in more detail in Improving CollectionSpace Search on the project’s wiki.