Understanding how the stepped search is used for content matching

The Stepped search takes the LTI Parameter value from the LMS and runs a "starts with" search against all related LibGuides metadata values in guides, E-Reserves courses, and subjects.

  • If it finds one or more matches for a particular content type, it stops searching that content type and continues on with the others.
  • Once it's done searching the initial full string, it checks to see if there are matches in all areas. If there are, it stops searching. If not, it removes a character from the end of the string and runs the search again, skipping any content type that already has at least one match.
  • It continues to do this until either each content type has at least one match OR the string is exhausted.

Again, this is a starts with search, not a contains, nor do we allow for wildcard searches. If you have semester data at the beginning of the string (like SPR18.ART150.03.JONES), you can still use the Automagic tool! So long as it's a standard number of characters for each course / semester / whatever is at the beginning, we can remove those characters prior to running the search.


Example: Matches in All Areas

  • Value from the LMS: ART150.03.JONES.SPR18
  • Metadata in LibGuides:
    • Guide(s): ART150
    • Course(s): ART150.03.JONES.SPR18
    • Subject: ART

The tool initially searches for the whole string: ART150.03.JONES.SPR18. It finds zero guides, one or more courses, and zero subjects. Since there aren't matches on guides or subjects, it removes a character from the end and searches again.

It now searches for ART150.03.JONES.SPR1 and finds no guides or subjects. It keeps removing characters.

Eventually, it searches ART150 and finds one or more guide matches, but there's still no subject match. It keeps removing characters.

A couple of loops later, it searches ART and finds a subject match. Now that there are matches for all types, it stops searching and displays those matches.

In this case, it would show the Library LTI page, since there are matches in multiple areas. The top left area of the Library LTI page would list the guide link, then the course link, then the subject-limited A-Z Databases link.

Example: Match On 1 Guide

  • Value from the LMS: ART150.03.JONES.SPR18
  • Metadata in LibGuides:
    • Guide: ART150
    • Course: n/a
    • Subject: n/a

The tool initially searches for the whole string: ART150.03.JONES.SPR18. It finds zero guides, zero courses, and zero subjects. Since there are no matches, it removes a character from the end and searches again.

It now searches for ART150.03.JONES.SPR1 and finds no matches. It keeps removing characters.

Eventually, it searches ART150 and finds a single guide match, but there's still no course or subject match. It keeps removing characters.

The string is exhausted before the tool finds any matches for courses or subjects. Since there's nothing left to search on, the tool stops and displays the matches it did find.

In this case, what's displayed depends on the settings you've selected. Options are:

  • The single guide matched is displayed. (Default)
  • The Library LTI page is displayed, with a link to the guide in the upper left column.

Example: No Matches

If there are no matches on any content, the search is exhausted and the tool checks your settings to see what to display. Options are:

  • The Library LTI page with no customizations in the upper left column. (Default)
  • A failover guide.
  • The Library LTI page with a failover guide linked in the upper left column.

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