Related product I-Share (Voyager)

Frequently Asked Questions about VuFind

What is VuFind?

VuFind is an alternative interface to I-Share catalogs, offering users what may be a better way to search and discover library resources. In the fall of 2007, CARLI staff began experimenting with VuFind as an optional, accessible alternative to WebVoyage for interested I‑Share libraries. VuFind searches data from the Voyager database, the same data that the classic WebVoyage interface searches. In VuFind, just as in WebVoyage, users may check item availability and place requests.

Features of VuFind include:

  • A single simple search box
  • Facets to refine search by subject, title, topic, language, format, and more
  • The ability to request and to renew items from any I-Share library
  • Focus on home library catalog or expand to search the I-Share union catalog
  • Up-to-the-minute item status and location information
  • User-created username and password, for easier access to MyAccount information
  • Links to electronic full text when available
  • One-click links to reviews for some titles
  • One-click links to book previews in Google Book Search for some titles

VuFind was developed initially at Villanova University for use in libraries. CARLI has adapted VuFind so that it will serve the unique needs of the consortial community, and serve libraries of all sizes within the CARLI I‑Share community.

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  • VuFind for all I-Share libraries: http://vufind.carli.illinois.edu/all/vf/
  • VuFind for a particular I-Share library: http://vufind.carli.illinois.edu/vf-xxx , where xxx is that library's three-letter code. See the CARLI URL Builder for details about linking to I-Share in VuFind as well as to I-Share "Classic" in WebVoyage.
  • A mobile-friendly version of VuFind for local library catalogs is available at http://m.carli.illinois.edu.
 

CARLI selects VuFind enhancement projects from the suggestions logged in CARLI's VuFind issues list.

The software vendor Ex Libris has stated that "classic" WebVoyage will continue to work with Voyager for the foreseeable future, although they will not develop it any further. CARLI supports WebVoyage, in addition to VuFind, for access to I-Share libraries' local catalogs. Most individual I-Share libraries have chosen to designate VuFind as their primary local OPAC interface, but even these retain access to WebVoyage for the sake of certain kinds of searches, such as call number searches, that cannot be replicated in VuFind.

VuFind Classic / WebVoyage
VuFind is well suited for discovering resources you didn't know about before. VuFind automatically broadens searches to include variations on your search term. WebVoyage is better suited for searches when you already know exactly the title you're looking for. Single-word titles, in particular, are easier to find in WebVoyage.
VuFind presents search facets that allow you to narrow large result sets rapidly. WebVoyage allows you to set more limits on your search before you submit it.
VuFind has a more modern look-and-feel. In VuFind, it can feel easier just to plunge in and find something. WebVoyage is mature in function and out-dated in appearance. WebVoyage allows more sophisticated, library-savvy searching.
VuFind makes titles searchable if they were in the catalog as of 6:45PM yesterday. The very newest records cannot be searched in VuFind. WebVoyage makes titles searchable the minute the library adds them to the catalog. The very newest records can only be searched in WebVoyage.
You establish your own username and password in VuFind. If you log in to a library's VuFind catalog, you are also logged in to the I-Share union catalog. You use your borrower ID and last name to log in to WebVoyage. If you continue your search in the I-Share union catalog, you have to log in again there.
In VuFind, you may select the specific copy of something to request or may use the "request first available" feature. In WebVoyage, you select the title to request, then the system selects an available copy at random.
VuFind is more compliant with accessibility standards than classic WebVoyage. Users who rely on screen readers and other adaptive technologies will have an easier time with VuFind than with classic WebVoyage. "Classic" WebVoyage (version 6) is less compliant with accessibility standards than VuFind.
VuFind search results can contain links to free HathiTrust electronic resources. WebVoyage does not link to HathiTrust resources unless the library has specifically added them to its collection.
VuFind allows you to search by keyword. VuFind does not allow you to do a "starts with…" search or a call number search. WebVoyage allows you to search by keyword. It also allows you to browse an alphabetical list of titles, subject headings or authors, or a list of call numbers, from any starting point.
VuFind allows you to tag records, write comments, create favorites lists, or subscribe to an RSS feed. In some libraries, WebVoyage allows you to save searches to re-execute later, or to save search results.
VuFind links to Google Book Search for "previews" of books' content. WebVoyage does not link to Google Book Search.
VuFind displays your library’s SFX button (which might say "Find it," "Get it," "More," etc.) for any title where electronic full text would be available to you, even if the title is in another library's catalog. WebVoyage displays the SFX button in individual libraries' catalogs only. The SFX button that displays is for the title's owning library, irrespective of your affiliation.
  • VuFind bibliographic data are about one day older than data searched via the classic catalog: VuFind local catalogs are current as of 6:45PM yesterday. The very newest titles (those added today) will not be findable in VuFind today. (OPAC-suppressed bibs that are placed onto a pre-existing course reserve list take one additional day to be displayable in VuFind.)
  • There is no exact correlation between VuFind indexes and classic catalog indexes, so it's impossible to do "exactly the same search," although in some circumstances you can get the same search result.

To request an item via VuFind:

  1. Do a search, identify the title you want to request.
  2. To request it in the VuFind local catalog you may either click on the word "Available" on the Results (hit list) page, or click on the Request tab on the Record (single-title display) page. To request it in the VuFind union catalog, click the "Request This Item" link that appears below the Status information on the Location tab or click the "Request 1st Available" tab on the Record page.
  3. If you have not already logged in to VuFind, you'll be prompted to do so at this point.
  4. Log in with your VuFind username and password. If you do not already have a VuFind username, click on Create New Account. Your VuFind account needs to be "profiled" with your library borrower ID. Once you've set this up, you never have to worry about it again (unless your borrower ID changes). If you've never told VuFind what your library borrower ID is, then go to VuFind's Your Account page and click on the User Account tab at the bottom of the list on the right. Enter your borrower ID, last name and library affiliation.
  5. Select the location at which you would like to pick up the item and submit the request.
    In the future, all you'll need to do is sign on with your VuFind username and password. You won't need to remember your borrower ID (unless you've decided to use that as your VuFind username) in order to request materials via VuFind.

You can track the status of each request you place in the catalog via the Requested Items tab on the Your Account page. Common statuses you may see for a requested item include:

  • Request submitted: You have successfully submitted the request. You may cancel requests in this status, if you need to.
  • Request in process: A lending library is checking to see if it can fill your request.
  • Seeking next available: The identified library could not lend the item so your request will be promoted automatically to another owning library.
  • Requested item in transit: The item is on its way to the pick-up location you selected.
  • On hold: The item has arrived and is waiting for you at the pick-up location you selected.
  • Request expired: No library was able to fill your request within the time allotted. If you still need the title you requested, consult a library staff person for help requesting a copy through other means, or for help identifying an alternative, available title to meet your need.

UB requests must be placed in the public union catalog. The Voyager staff client does not include a function for placing UB requests and there is no staff view of a user's circulation activity across the whole consortium. Staff can serve as a user's proxy in the public catalog if the user shares her logon credentials and grants staff permission to use them.

Currently, the following fields are indexed, and searchable via search qualifiers that are visible in the VuFind interface. For information about additional hidden search qualifiers, see More about VuFind Indexes:

SOLR field MARC field Description VuFind Search Qualifier
      Keyword
(type=all)
Title
(type=title)
Author
(type=author)
Subject
(type=subject)
ISBN/
ISSN
(type=isn)
allfields 010-999 All bibliographic fields        
author 100a Author's name      
author2 100acdq, 110abcdefgkl, 111acdefgklnpq, 400acd, 410abcdefgkl, 411acdefgkl, 505r, 700acdq, 710abcdefgkl, 711acdefgkl, 800acdq, 810abcdefgkl, 811acdefgkl Corporate author's name or personal name of "other author"      
conf 008 byte 29            
confProc 111ac, 711ab, 811ac Conference name      
cont 008 byte 24            
contents 505a Table of contents        
contentsAuthor 505r Author names from the table of contents      
contentsTitle 505t Titles from the table of contents      
date1 008 bytes 07-10 Year of publication (used for sorting and limiting)          
dateSpan 362a Dates a serial was published (not necessarily the dates the library owns)        
era 650y, 651y, 690y, 691y Time period described by the work      
genre 655a Genres like "science fiction"      
geographic 650z, 651az, 690z, 691az Geographic subject headings      
geographic2 651abvxz Geographic subject headings      
gPub 008 byte 28 Government publication          
isbn 020a International Standard Book Number      
issn 022al International Standard Serial Number      
language 008 bytes 35-37            
lccn 010a Library of Congress Control Number        
newTitle 785t Succeeding title for a serial      
oldTitle 780t Former title for a serial      
otherStdNbr 024a Technical report number or other standard number        
physical 300b Physical description (pagination, etc.)        
publishDate 260c, 264c Year of publication (used for display)        
publisher 260b Publisher name        
series 440a, 830a Series title      
subject 600a, 610a, 630a, 696a Names as subject headings      
subject2 600abcdfgklmnopqrstvx, 610abcdfgklmnoprstvx, 630adfgklmnoprstvx Names as subject headings      
systemNbr 035a OCLC number or other system control number        
title 245ab Title      
title2 130adfklmnoprs, 210ab, 222ab, 240adfklmnoprs, 243adfklmnoprs, 245h, 246abfnp, 247abfnp, 400knptv, 410knptv, 411knptv, 440anpv, 490av, 505t, 700knpt, 710knpt, 711knpt, 730adfklmnoprs, 740anp, 773abst, 776abst, 780abst, 785abst, 800knptv, 810knptv, 811knptv, 830anpv Uniform title      
topic 650ax, 690ax Topical subject headings      
topic2 650abcdvx, 690abvx Topical subject headings      
url 856u Address of electronic resource        

In addition, VuFind allows searching by user-added tags.

Facets are attributes of the retrieved data that you can use to narrow your search results. Facet options display on the VuFind Results page, under the heading "Narrow Your Search." The options that display are drawn dynamically from the records in the retrieval set (so if none of the titles is in French, "French" will not be an option in the list of language facets). As you select facets to apply your selections will be listed at the top of the column on the right side of the Results page, under the heading "Results for." Data from the following fields are exposed as facet options on the VuFind Results page:

Facet Label Solr Field MARC Fields
Format format Combinations of data from RecType+BibLvl, 245h, 300abe, 305abc, 338a, 538a, 690a
Location locations Voyager Location Limit Group names
Author author 100a
Topic topic 650ax, 690ax
Subject Area callnumber-first 050a, 090a [first byte of each, only]
Language language 008 bytes 35-37
Genre genre 655a
Era era 650y ,651y, 690y, 691y
Region geographic 650z, 651az, 690z, 691az
Title title 245ab

VuFind searches bibliographic data extracted from each Voyager database: the same data that are searched by the classic (WebVoyage) catalog for each library. The VuFind union catalog searches data extracted from the Universal Catalog. Bibliographic data in the VuFind local catalogs are current as of 6:45PM yesterday. Bibliographic data in the VuFind union catalog are the unsuppressed records that were in the Voyager Universal Catalog yesterday and in the Voyager local databases as of 6:45PM the day before yesterday. VuFind does not index for searching any data other than I-Share library catalog data and user-added tags. Although book reviews, author notes, etc. are accessible from VuFind, they are not searchable in VuFind. MFHD data such as call numbers are not searchable in VuFind, although MFHD location and Voyager Location Limit Group data are harvested overnight to support location faceting of VuFind search results.

The experimental "Hide eResources to which I don't have access" checkbox is intended for this purpose. The checkbox is presented to users who have logged in, or to users who connect to the I-Share union catalog from their library's local catalog.

The "Favorites" list is comparable to the Bookbag feature that some libraries have enabled in the classic catalog (WebVoyage). Users may add titles to their favorites at any time, as long as they have signed in to their account. Adding a title to a favorites list is not like adding it to a shopping cart: it is not a prerequisite—or indeed any part of the process—for requesting a title or checking it out. The same title may appear on many users' favorites lists.

When you mark an item as a favorite you have the opportunity to add tags. See "What are VuFind 'tags'?" Favorites and tags can be deleted by the user who entered them (or by CARLI staff).

The tag feature allows you to add tags (descriptors or subject headings) of your own choosing to a record. The idea is that it will make it easier for you to find the records again if you want to. Tags are not indexed for searching via the general search input box, but if you pull up a record that has a tag on it you can click on the hyperlinked tag to execute a search for anything else in the database to which someone has assigned the same tag. Note that the database to which the previous sentence refers might be the union catalog or might be the concatenation of all local catalogs: a tag search in one I-Share library's local catalog will retrieve records from any other local library catalog to which a user has happened to attach the same tag.

When you mark an item as a "favorite," you have the opportunity to add tags, but it is not necessary for an item to be a favorite in order for you to add a tag. Individual users see a list of tags they have assigned to their "favorite" records, on the Your Account: Favorites page. There is currently no public display in the catalog of all tags added.

On the single-title Record page, anyone can see all tags that have been added to a record, and from the Record page anyone can click to execute a search on any of the tags that were added in the process of making a record someone's favorite. On the Favorites page, you see only your own tags for a title.

Due to an internal constraint in VuFind, once the same tag has been attached to approximately 200 records in the same database (that is, to 200 records in the union catalog or to 200 records across all the local catalogs), clicking on a tag in one record will no longer retrieve the other records tagged the same way: it will instead generate the misleading message, "Your search - - did not match any resources."

You must be logged in to assign tags; tags are associated (in the background, not publicly) with the user who entered them. Only the user who assigned a tag can remove that tag. To remove a tag, navigate to the Record page and click the minus sign next to the tag. (The minus sign does not currently display in all browsers. Try Firefox.)

We do not anticipate a problem with offensive tags or comments. If someone discovers an offensive tag or comment in the database, CARLI staff can remove it.

The cover images that display in VuFind come from Syndetics Solutions. In the VuFind union catalog, cover images will display if they are available from Syndetics Solutions. In VuFind for a particular I-Share library, cover images will display if they are available from Syndetics Solutions and if that library has purchased a subscription to the cover image service.

VuFind is an alternative catalog interface available to all I-Share libraries. Some I-Share libraries have chosen to make VuFind their primary catalog interface; others still consider the classic (WebVoyage) catalog their primary catalog interface, but offer VuFind as an experimental alternative. After June 1, 2010 all public access to the I-Share union catalog and all Universal Borrowing requests will be done through the VuFind interface. Beyond Illinois, VuFind is in use at a number of academic and research libraries.

VuFind has been an experiment for CARLI: in rapid, open source development and in offering alternative catalog interfaces to existing catalog data. CARLI will continue to develop and support VuFind for as long as it makes sense to do so.

No. The eXtensible Catalog project, based at the University of Rochester, is separate. However, CARLI's experience with VuFind will inform CARLI's participation in the eXtensible Catalog project. Many of the challenges we have faced in adapting VuFind to work in a large, resource-sharing consortial environment we will face again with the eXtensible Catalog. The work we have done to optimize the export and reindexing of bibliographic data from Voyager for VuFind each night will be directly applicable to the eXtensible Catalog project, where data will be harvested and reindexed from a variety of sources on a variety of schedules.