Table of Contents
Combining Search Types
VuFind® can pull data from a wide variety of sources. This page describes various ways in which users may be guided through diverse forms of data.
Most of the features on this page were introduced in VuFind® 2.1 and are not available in earlier versions. Functionality was expanded in VuFind® 3.0 to allow multiple filtered views of the same search backend to be presented as tabs or result columns.
It is often useful to perform searches in parallel and display the results in a multi-column format. This can be achieved with VuFind®'s CombinedController. To set up this feature, simply copy combined.ini from the config/vufind directory into your local settings directory's config/vufind subdirectory. The comments in the file will guide you through configuration.
Tip: Prior to VuFind® 2.3, the default template is designed to work best with only two columns of search results; starting with 2.3, extra configuration options in combined.ini give you additional control over the layout.
Tip: If you want to make multi-column search your default result screen, just set the defaultModule setting in config.ini to “Combined.”
Tabbed Search Boxes
If you want to allow the user to easily switch between different types of searches, you can enable tabs at the top of your search box. These can be turned on via the [SearchTabs] section of config.ini.
Starting with VuFind® 3.0, you can also apply hidden filters to tabs with [SearchTabsFilters] section of config.ini, which can allow the creation of multiple “views” into a single search backend.
Also in VuFind® 3.0, a “SwitchTab” recommendation module has been introduced to suggest that users try changing to a different tab. This is useful to configure as a “no results” recommendation.
Starting with VuFind® 5.0, it is possible to set up a secondary Solr index with a completely independent configuration from the primary one by editing Search2.ini and using the Search2 backend in configurations. This can be useful for addressing issues too complex to be handled through filtering.
Starting with VuFind® 9.1, if applied hidden filter parameters do not match any configured tabs, a “Custom Search” tab will be displayed. This behavior can be disabled by customizing the temporary_search_tab_title translation string to be empty.
Combined Search Handler Drop-Downs
If you want to allow the user to choose different types of searches (including searches of third-party sites not part of VuFind®) via the drop-down next to the search box, you can activate a combined search handler feature by copying searchbox.ini from the config/vufind directory into your local settings directory's config/vufind subdirectory and editing the settings. The comments in the file will guide you through configuration.
Starting with VuFind® 9.0, it is possible to set up blended search that displays results from multiple sources in a single list. See the Blended Search configuration page for more information and the limitations of this approach.
Labels in Search History
When using multiple search sources, it is often useful to label search history so users can identify which searches came from which modules. This can be accomplished through the [SearchHistoryLabels] section of config.ini.
See the Combining Search Types video for an overview of this topic.