by Terry Heinrichs
Developing the new Tripod required a great deal of technical work using the skills of library staff from Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and Swarthmore Colleges.
“We’re at the forefront of academic libraries,” said Spencer Lamm, Swarthmore digital initiatives librarian, since “we are using a multi-channel approach that allows the researchers to customize the search facets after the search has begun.” Facets allow better filtering of content and more precise search results. Many institutions interfile article and book search results but the tri-college libraries decided not to. With interfiling, “You can’t see the books for the trees (the journal articles).” The tri-college libraries join a few others in this decision, like Brown, Villanova, North Carolina State, and Brigham Young.
Many libraries are using VuFind, an open source library search engine developed by Villanova University, to search for books, videos, and recordings in their catalogs. The tri-college libraries are the first to use VuFind together with Primo (an ExLibris product used to search for journal articles), and this meant that code had to be written to accomplish that. Lamm said that we might be sharing that code with other libraries. The tri-college technical group also had to make VuFind work with Millennium, the integrated library system that supports the online transactions and functions of the libraries.
More channels will be added to Tripod in the future, like the images and original manuscripts and documents from special collections and digital collections, content from the Hathi Trust, and films and videos.