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Add or edit a LibGuides search source

In this article

To add or edit a LibApps search source:

  1. From the LibApps dashboard, go to Admin > Search Sources.
  2. Click the  Add Search Source button or click the Edit Source () icon in the Actions column to configure an existing search source.

configuring a LibGuides search source step 1

  1. On the Add/Edit Search Source page, configure general settings for the LibGuides site. Including:
    1. LibGuides Site: once you've selected LibGuides from the Source type, you'll need to choose a specific site from the dropdown. The dropdown displays the LibGuides System Name. If you have a single LibGuides subscription, it'll be automatically chosen.
    2. Name: appears on the search results page. For the Tabbed search, it's the name of the tab. For the Bento search, it's the name of the box.
    3. Description (optional): appears above the search results.
    4. Display facet limiters (i.e. subjects, tags, etc.): check the box below the Description to display facet limiters (e.g., subjects, tags, etc.) on the right-hand side of the results screen.
  2. If desired, adjust the Search Field Weight. The search field weighting takes the number of occurrences of the search term and (based on the location of the term - guide title, page text, etc.) multiplies that by the field weight you set here. The weights are relative to each other and there is a wide span of possible values, from 0.1 to 9.9. For example, if you want to make the Guide field far more relevant than the AllInOne field, you might give the Guide field a value of 5 and the AllInOne field a value of 0.2. That will make the Guide field 25x more relevant than the general text on the page in the search rankings.
    1. Guide: This field consists of the guide title, guide description, and Friendly URL. Remember, each page in your guide is saved with this information, so this in itself will not make the guide homepage rise to the top of the results. Many times, the guide homepage is not the most relevant page for the search terms entered. ;)
    2. Page: This field consists of page title, page description, and page Friendly URL. This data is unique for each page within a guide, so it will cause the page to rise to the top of the results if it contains search terms, depending on how the Page field is weighted.
    3. Subject: This field contains any / all Subject Categories associated with the guide. Like the Guide field, even though this is a guide-level setting, this data applies to each page in the guide.
    4. Tag: This field contains all Tags associated with the guide. Again, like the Guide field, even though this is a guide-level setting, the data applies to each page in the guide.
    5. All In One: This field indexes everything on the page, including all page content. So each page's "All In One" field is unique to that page.
  3. If you want to give the homepage of a guide more relevancy in search results, adjust the values in the Guide Homepage Relevancy section. This section allows you to decide how much more weight the Guide, Subject, and Tag fields have on the guide's homepage vs. other pages in the guide. By default, the Guide, Subject, and Tag field are given 2x more weight on the guide's homepage than any other pate in the guide. If you do not wish to have the homepage to have higher weighting than other pages, change these settings to 1. You can adjust the homepage weighting for:
    1. GuideName
    2. Subject
    3. Tag
  4. Click Save.  

configuring a LibGuides search source step 2


More information on indexing, search results display and weighting

The search engine indexes each page within a guide separately, so the smallest "unit" in the search engine index is a page rather than a full guide, much like any other webpage indexing service (e.g., Google, Bing, etc.) that displays page results. This means that:

  • A guide with 5 pages has 5 entries in the search index; one for each page.
  • Depending on the search term, the results may show one, two, three, four, or all five pages of the guide in the list, depending on the relevance of each page to the search term.

Second, the search engine employs a combination of frequency-based and relevancy-based search algorithms. The ranking of a page depends on:

  1. frequency of the search term within a given page, and
  2. where the search term appears on the page (e.g., guide title, page title, box title, box text, etc.).

By default, the frequency of a term counts more than the location of the term. For example, a page that contains 3 instances of the search term in box text is ranked higher than another page that contains only 1 instance of the search term in the guide title.

Depending on the nature of the content in your guides, the out-of-the-box defaults in LibGuides search settings could either produce high-quality results, or they could be hit-or-miss. Given that the content in LibGuides is so varied, it is very difficult to create a search algorithm that works perfectly out of the box for each library. You can customize the search results for your specific content and your use case. This requires tweaking the settings and playing around with various options, but the search engine was built with flexibility in mind, so you can customize the search engine options to suit your needs.

Finding the right balance of weights will take some trial-and-error. Your best bet is to run some searches with the default settings and see what happens. (Tip: Use real searches from your system and see what happens. If you have LibGuides CMS, go to Statistics > Searches to see the actual terms people are using in your system.) From there, modify the weights, save, wait 15 minutes for reindexing to happen, and try those same searches again. How did the results change? Are they more or less relevant?

There are two "levers" you can pull to achieve the desired results relevancy: Search Field Weight and Guide Homepage Relevancy, as addressed above.


More information on Guide Homepage Relevancy

Most guides contain more than one page, and as we mentioned before, since the LibGuides search engine indexes each page separately, this means a guide with 5 pages has 5 separate entries in the index. This means the results delivered are the most relevant pages for the search terms entered vs. just guide homepages.

You can choose to force the homepage to be more relevant than other pages in the guide, if you would prefer the homepage to display higher in the results list than other pages in the guide. Please use this feature carefully, because changes here could make the homepage rank higher than a more relevant page in the guide for the user's search. Use case: the search terms entered are very close to (or exactly) the guide's title, subject, or tag, so you choose to make the homepage display higher in the rankings than other pages in the same guide.

You can change these values to anything from 1 to 9. Do not use values larger than 9, as that may break your search altogether. If you'd like to use this feature, try using values between 1 and 5. As with the Search Field Weight section, we recommend trying real-life searches before changing this setting to see how you might want to adjust these numbers. Once you've changed them and saved, wait 15 minutes for reindexing and try the same searches again. How did your results change?