The South Dublin Library service in Ireland has implemented a new discovery interface in conjunction with their OpenGalaxy ILS and its other content resources that provides a more visual search experience. This discovery interface is based on a product called SeeSearch developed by Vizolve Ltd. The new interface was launched in a ceremony presided by the mayor of the South Dublin, Fintan Warfield, on June 25, 2014.
Features of the SeeSearch interface include the ability to simultaneously address a number of content resources, more visual and interactive displays, with special attention paid to design so that results are easily understood. Vizolve aims provide an alternative to the common text-based search interfaces. SeeSearch makes use of both indexes created in Apache SOLR as well as API interactions with external data sources. Its design principle brings many different content resources together in a single easily understood interface, and the configuration of each source can be customized.
SeeSearch follows a stratified design where data sources are presented in their own line or block. This approach differs from the index-based discovery services that construct a comprehensive index spanning all the relevant content resources. For the South Dublin Libraries, content was extracted and loaded into SOLR from the OpenGalaxy ILS and for their digital repository managed through DSpace, with APIs used to access remotely provided content services. South Dublin County Libraries' implementation of the SeeSearch technology includes such interface features as: presentation of individual result items through a row of icons or book jacket images for each source or media type; a tool for limiting results by date; a visual grid for selecting items according to matching search type (keyword, title, subject, or author) and media type; and a panel of recommended items that match the query.
SeeSearch has been developed for multiple sectors, including enterprise-level knowledge management, online retail applications, and educational institutions and libraries. The research and development for SeeSearch was partially funded through a grant from Enterprise Ireland. Telefónica has also provided funding and support to the project. Vizolve was formed in September 2013 when it was created as a spin-off from the Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Dublin.
Vizolve was cofounded by Dr. Hilary Kenna and David Garvan. Much of the design of SeeSearch was developed by Kenna, who serves as the CEO, with the technical development led by Garvan, the company's Chief Technologist. Kenna is also affiliated Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology as a lecturer in Design and Digital Media. According to Kieran Swords, Acting County Librarian “The development of SeeSearch was assisted by libraries' staff and customers who tested the product at different stages of its development and who made suggestions about its look and functionality.”
SeeSearch is currently in its early phase of development and commercialization for libraries and has not yet been implemented in libraries beyond the South Dublin Libraries. According to Kenna, discussions and pilot projects are underway in other sectors.