A search capability is vital in a system such as YouShare, particularly as the amount of data grows over time, making any complete view of the data and services unfeasible. To allow searching against a high number of data artefacts, CARMEN requires a high performance, multi-faceted search engine. We have used Apache Lucene as it is one of the fastest, most compressed and most competitive of the search systems available. Lucene is rich, mature and robust with a large development community, wide industry adoption and is suitable for most full-text search applications. It provides a Java API which integrates seamlessly with CARMEN. We have enabled the full Lucene query syntax: Boolean operators; term modifiers: wildcard searching, fuzzy searching and proximity searching; term boosting; term/phrase grouping; and, fielded searching. CARMEN has augmented Lucene with both “Did you mean?” and auto-complete functionality. “Did you mean?” spell checks each of the user’s query terms against the stored Lucene index and suggests alternative spellings for any misspelt query terms. Autocomplete analyses the query string as the user types, detects when a specific number of new characters have been typed (currently set to four but configurable) and suggests a list of matching words and phrases. The user may select a match or continue typing and the list of suggestions will be constantly refined as new text is typed.
To use the search facility, the search box appears under the tabs in the left hand panel. Entering a search term into the text box and clicking the magnifying glass icon will initiate a search, the results of which appear below the search box, in place of the file tree view. The search terms can be modified and a new search initiated, or you can click the “X” button to the right of the search box to clear the search results and return to the file tree view.
A requirement that came from CARMEN neuroscience users was the need to suggest synonyms for users’ search terms, in order to enhance a users’ search query. We added the synonym facility, which retrieves synonyms from the Neuroscience Information Framework, a dynamic inventory of Web-based neuroscience resources: data, materials, and tools accessible via any computer connected to the Internet.
To use the NIF sysnonym facility, type your search terms into the search box in the DATA view. Clicking the “open book” icon to the left of the search box sends the request to NIF. The user’s query term is submitted to the NIF portal which returns a list of synonyms that are used to augment the user’s query in the search box. The user can then view, modify and search the CARMEN data repository based upon these terms.