Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Search redesigned, improved

Casey and I have completed work on a cross-LibraryThing search system.

Key features:

  • Search is now available from every page.
  • It searches one type (like works or authors) at a time, but always gives you result-counts for all types on the left. Click on the type to pivot off it instead.
  • It’s blazingly fast (as vaneska wrote, “The speed of the search is just a little bit scary.”)
  • It includes a number of elements not formerly searchable (or searchable well), like member reviews and words in tags.
  • Tabs have been reorganized a bit. The search tab has been removed and the “More” tab moved left. The “Zeitgeist” tab has been removed. It will probably be available under “more,” from the home page and at the bottom of every page (like “about,” which was a tab once).

Find out more, and talk about it on Talk.

Labels: new feature, new features, search


  1. Jxn says:

    Beautiful! I always knew the day for this simple, but much-needed, UI improvement would come!

    I still think having two search options from the home screen (your books / all books) would be helpful as well.

    I’m not sure that Your Books / Add Books deserve independent ontology. Have you considered something like [Your Books | add] on a single tab? It may sound confusing, but I think a faint vertical line separating the two in the same tab (with tooltips) would make it rather clear…

    From a usability standpoint, I still think that [Talk / Groups] might be better off merged somehow. It also would make sense to link to Zeitgeist from Statistics or user profile pages.

  2. Jxn says:

    Also, my comment was on the relative simplicity of the UI adjustment. I know that revamping search is anything but trivial on the backend! Thanks for the hard work!

  3. internisus says:

    This is really, really good. I kind of hated the old search, and the way this shows you a breakdown of result types without requiring that you specify beforehand what you are looking for is great design. Thanks so much for your hard work!

  4. Rob says:

    Great addition. But I am looking for something that may be there. I have a number of books that others have, but I can’t find them when searching via the “Add books” page e.g.
    I would rather not add these manually. Can I see how others have added the book?

  5. Brightcopy says:

    Jxn: My guess is that eventually, you’ll Add books via the search. At least, that’s what some of Tim’s comments in the past lead me to believe. And they’ve already put Add books on the search page as well.

    It all makes sense, really, especially if you try to step away from the way LT has always done it in the past. “Adding a book” is just “Finding a book” plus a little extra step.

  6. Jason says:

    The field codes/search modifiers don’t seem to work using the cross-LibraryThing search e.g. author:rowling title: -goblet, though they do work for the local catalogue search. Is this intentional?

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