QuickSearch is a customized federated search tool designed to connect users to a variety of library resources, services and tools. Rather than replace existing dedicated library resource discovery tools such as the catalog, electronic resource search, and subject guides/portals, QuickSearch is designed to complement and increase use of these tools by directing users to them via an intuitive search interface. The goal is to provide library users with a quick and easy way to find the information they need.


  • Cory Lown, Digital Library Initiatives.
  • Josh Boyer, Research and Information Services.
  • Tito Sierra, Digital Library Initiatives.

Technical Details

QuickSearch provides a unified search interface to a collection of specialized search modules that respond to user queries in different ways. Some of these search modules use a local index of library content, while other search modules are dynamically integrated via HTTP requests to other locally developed library search applications. The search logic used to find matches to the user's query will vary from one module to the next. The search modules also differ from each in terms of how matching results for different content types are displayed. Some of the technologies used include PHP for website programming, Solr for content indexing, MySQL, Summon API for article results, and Nutch for website search.

Available modules:

  • Best Bets (high-demand resources)
  • Spelling Suggestions
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Article Results
  • Catalog Results
  • Journal Title Results
  • Database Title Results
  • Databases by Subjects
  • Library Tools for Courses
  • Library Web Pages

Project Links

Reports and Presentations

Lown, C., Sierra, T. and Boyer, J. (May 2013). "How Users Search the Library from a Single Search Box." College & Research Libraries. 74(3), pp. 227-241.

Lown, C. (2012, February). "How People Search the Library from the Single Search Box." presented at Code4Lib 2012, Seattle, Washington.

Sierra, T. (2007). "A Single Search Box Interface to the NCSU Libraries, Two Years Later", Digital Library Federation Spring Forum 2007, Pasadena, California, April 24, 2007.

Sierra, T. (2007). "A Single Search Box Interface to the NCSU Libraries", LAUNC-CH Annual Conference, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, March 12, 2007.

Sierra, T. (2007). "Best Bets: Improving Search to High Demand Resources", Code4Lib 2007, Athens, Georgia, March 2, 2007.

Sierra, T. and Morris, S. (2005). "In Search of the Single Search Box: Building a 'First-step' Library Search Tool", Digital Library Federation Spring Forum 2005, San Diego, California, April 14, 2005.

Last updated: January 26, 2012