Table of Contents
Searching Subscription Databases in VuFind®
One of VuFind's goals is to create a single, consistent search interface for all of a library's content. Of course, much of the content available to libraries comes in the form of subscriptions, and it can be challenging to access all of this information. There are several approaches available to solve this problem.
Aggregated Search Indexes
If you can afford a subscription to an aggregated search index like EBSCO Discovery, Primo Central or Summon, these services have APIs which VuFind® can connect to. See the Third-Party Content page for details on how to set up some of these services.
For services not currently supported by VuFind®, it should still be possible to build a connector as long as they include an API. See Connecting a New External Data Source for details.
Federated search is no longer a very popular option due to its slow performance and complexity of maintenance. However, if you wish to choose this option, VuFind® does have a module to support the open source Pazpar2 federated search engine. This will significantly limit the functionality available to the user due to limitations of the technology, but it is a possible way to pull search results into the VuFind® interface in a basic form.
Individual Database APIs
If you do not have access to an aggregated index, you still may be able to search the database directly through a free API from its provider. VuFind® already supports EIT, the EBSCO Integration Toolkit, as an example of this type of technology. See the Third-Party Content page for details on how to set this up.
The disadvantage to individual APIs is that you cannot search all of your content at once. You may wish to look at the documentation on Combining Search Types to see how multiple databases could be brought together in VuFind®.
For services not currently supported by VuFind®, it should still be possible to build a connector as long as they include an API. See Connecting a New External Data Source for details. We welcome contributions of new integrations for inclusion in future releases.
Local Record Indexing
Most database providers do not share metadata with their users. However, if you are in a position to obtain full metadata about database contents, you can index it into your local Solr instance and search it that way. See the Indexing page for documentation on available tools for ingesting and harvesting records.
Need More Help?
Please feel free to reach out to the VuFind® community through the Support page if you need advice on working with a specific system or wish to discuss these issues further.