VuFind FAQ

What is VuFind?
Where is VuFind?
What are the current VuFind development priorities?
What’s new with VuFind?
Is the classic catalog (WebVoyage) going away?
How do I choose between VuFind and the classic catalog (WebVoyage)?
Why are search results different between VuFind and the classic catalog?
How do I place a request in VuFind?
What about a « Request first available copy » feature for VuFind?
Why do I see the same title multiple times on the VuFind Results (hit list) page?
How can I search VuFind? What is indexed?
What can I search for in VuFind? What is included in the database?
What are VuFind « favorites »?
What are VuFind « tags »?
What if someone adds an inappropriate tag or comment to VuFind?
Why do I sometimes see the cover image and sometimes not?
Who uses VuFind?
What is the longer-term future for VuFind at CARLI?
Is VuFind the same as the eXtensible Catalog?

What is VuFind?

VuFind is an exciting new alternative interface to the I-Share catalog, 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 the Voyager database, the same data as the classic WebVoyage search option. 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 all I-Share libraries at once
  • 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 is working with the open source community to continue to develop and improve 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 and beyond.

Where is VuFind?

VuFind for all I-Share libraries:
VuFind for a particular I-Share library: , 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.

What are the current VuFind development priorities?

November 2008: Major local development efforts on VuFind are on hold, while we wait for the release of VuFind version 1.0.

Once VuFind 1.0 is released, re-integrating our local changes (primarily changes in support of Voyager Universal Borrowing) will be CARLI’s primary VuFind development activity for some time.

What’s new with VuFind?

Selected changes since February 2009:

  • Bibliographic data are now current as of 9PM yesterday
  • « Unstemmed » (exact match) search results now float to the top of author, title, and « all fields » Results pages
  • Date sort improved

Is the classic catalog (WebVoyage) going away?

No. Both the software vendor Ex Libris and the CARLI Office anticipate supporting WebVoyage (the web-based public catalog software for the Voyager library system) for years to come. Currently there are many features in the classic catalog that are not replicated in VuFind. VuFind has never been intended to replace the classic catalog; it is an alternative for library users.

How do I choose between VuFind and the classic catalog (WebVoyage)?



VuFind Classic / WebVoyage
VuFind is rapidly evolving. WebVoyage is a mature product.
VuFind is well suited for « discovery » & narrowing large search sets. WebVoyage is better suited for known-item searching.
VuFind has a more modern look-and-feel. WebVoyage allows more sophisticated, library-savvy searching.
VuFind makes titles searchable if they were in the catalog as of 9PM yesterday. The very newest records cannot be searched in VuFind. WebVoyage makes titles searchable as soon as the library adds them to the catalog. The very newest records can only be searched in WebVoyage.
In VuFind, for now, the user selects the specific copy to request. This can be an advantage when a title is owned by many libraries and the classic catalog times out before it can finish the work of selecting an available copy for the user to request. In WebVoyage, the user selects the title to request, then the system selects an available copy at random.
VuFind is more compliant with accessibility standards. Users who rely on screen readers and other adaptive technologies will have an easier time with VuFind WebVoyage is currently less compliant with accessibility standards. (WebVoyage version 7.0 will be better in this regard.)
VuFind already links to Google Book Search for « previews » of books’ content. WebVoyage does not yet link to Google Book Search. (This will change.)
VuFind displays the user’s library’s SFX button (which might say « Find it, » « Get it, » « More, » etc.) for any title where electronic full text would be available to the user, even if the title is in another library’s catalog. WebVoyage displays a library’s SFX button (« Find it, » « Get it, » « More, » etc.) on that library’s records only.
VuFind offers social software features like user-added comments and tagging. WebVoyage does not offer social software features.

Why are search results different between VuFind and the classic catalog?

  • VuFind bibliographic data are about one day older than data searched via the classic catalog: VuFind is current as of 9PM yesterday. The very newest titles (those added today) will not be findable in VuFind today.
  • VuFind searches the local databases’ records, not the deduplicated I-Share union catalog.
    • Sometimes the same title is cataloged differently in different libraries. Even though the records are similar enough to be merged into the same record in the classic I-Share union catalog their differences can affect their « findability » in I‑Share via VuFind.
    • VuFind searches records that are in the local library’s database but, because of a library decision, are not in the classic I‑Share union catalog (the « Universal Catalog ») at all.
  • 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.

How do I place a request in VuFind?

At the moment, and unlike in the classic catalog (WebVoyage), requests in VuFind are for the particular copy, not for « any available copy » of a title.

To request an item via VuFind:

  1. Do a search, identify the copy of the title you want to request.
  2. To request it, 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.
  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 in order to request materials via VuFind.

What about a « Request first available copy » feature for VuFind?

We’re thinking of requesting in VuFind in three phases. Phase 1 is what’s in place now: « request this copy. » Phase 2 will be more like requesting in the classic catalog (WebVoyage): « request any available copy. » Phase 3 is more theoretical. If we get there, it’ll be « request any edition » or « request one of these very similar titles » or something like that.

Why do I see the same title multiple times on the VuFind Results (hit list) page?

VuFind searches across each of the I-Share libraries’ local catalogs. It does not search the deduplicated I-Share union catalog. If multiple libraries own exactly the same title, you will see that title repeated on the Results page for each owning library. You can use the facet options on the right side of the Results page to narrow your result set to a particular library quickly. The « Library » facet is always at the top of the list of facet options.

How can I search VuFind? What is indexed?

CARLI has not yet made many local changes to which fields are indexed in VuFind. This is something that will change over time. We anticipate indexing more fields in the future. Currently, the following fields are indexed:

SOLR field MARC field [repeatable fields] Description VuFind Search Qualifier
All Fields Title Author Subject ISBN/
allfields 010-999 All bibliographic fields
author 100a Author’s name
author2 110a, [700a] Corporate author’s name or personal name of « other author »
confProc 111ac, 711ab, 811ac Conference name
contents 505a Table of contents
contentsAuthor [505r] Author names from the table of contents
contentsTitle [505t] Titles from the table of contents
dateSpan 362a Dates a serial was published (not necessarily the dates the library owns)
era [650y],[651y] Time period described by the work
genre [655a] Genres like « science fiction »
geographic [651a] Geographic subject headings
isbn 020a International Standard Book Number
issn 022a International Standard Serial Number
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 Year of publication
publisher 260b Publisher name
series 440a, 830a Series title
subject [600a], [610a], [630a] Names as subject headings
systemNbr 035a OCLC number or other system control number
title 245ab Title
title2 240a, 130a Uniform title
topic [650a] Topical subject headings
url [856u] Address of electronic resource

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

What can I search for in VuFind? What is included in the database?

VuFind searches each I-Share library’s local Voyager database: the same data that are searched by the classic (WebVoyage) catalog for each library. Note that an aggregation of local library catalogs is different from the I-Share union catalog. See « Why are search results different between VuFind and the classic catalog? » VuFind does not index for searching any data other than I-Share library local Voyager catalog data and user-added tags. Although book reviews, author notes, etc. are accessible from VuFind, they are not searchable in VuFind.

What are VuFind « favorites »?

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 can be deleted, but tags cannot be deleted, except by CARLI staff.

What are VuFind « tags »?

The tag feature allows you to add tags (descriptors, subject headings, whatever you want to call them) 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, and right now CARLI has turned off the ability for you to begin a search by browsing for a tag you have (or anyone else has) entered, but after we upgrade to VuFind 1.0 it’s possible we’ll turn that feature back on. Right now, 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.

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. You must be logged in to assign tags; tags are associated (in the background, not publicly) with the user who entered them.

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.

What if someone adds an inappropriate tag or comment to VuFind?

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. If offensive tagging or commenting becomes a problem we will require that taggers’ and commenters’ VuFind accounts be associated with a Voyager borrower ID, for greater accountability.

Why do I sometimes see the cover image and sometimes not?

The cover images that display in VuFind come from Syndetics Solutions. Not all I-Share libraries subscribe to this service. In VuFind for all I-Share libraries, 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.

Who uses VuFind?

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. Beyond Illinois, VuFind is in use at a number of academic and research libraries.

What is the longer-term future for VuFind at CARLI?

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.

Is VuFind the same as the eXtensible Catalog?

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.

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