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    How to – Figure out which search terms are triggering the Controlled Vocabulary feature in Primo

    Created By: Stacey van Groll
    Created on: 2/05/2020



    Primo has a Controlled Vocabulary feature which expands a search beyond the terms entered by the user, with variations of the term with the same meaning.

    From introduction in August 2017, this has used LC, MeSH, and Wikipedia as a source of vocabularies.

     

    Sometimes this feature gives seemingly quite mysterious, confusing, and maybe even undesirable suggestions, and it can be hard for a Primo admin to explain why when questioned.

     

    This difficulty is partly because it is sometimes not the whole query which is triggering the suggestion, but only part of the query.

    This is the meaning of this line in the OLH:

    “If the query contains more than one term that can be expanded, the system will expand only the longest term. For example, if a user searches for informatics heart attack, the system will expand heart attack (12 characters) because it contains more characters than informatics (11 characters).”

     

    This guide seeks to dispel some of that mystery by showing you how a non-developer (like me!) can find the specific terms which are generating the query and, if you think it’s egregious enough, report to Ex Libris.

     

    A reasonable example of this feature

    • An original user query: JOURNAL FOR THE ACADEMIC STUDY OF RELIGION
    • Returns a controlled vocabulary suggestion: “religious studies

     

    Quick and dirty steps to see where the suggestion is coming from

    • In Chrome, click F12 on your keyboard to open the developer console
    • Run your search again
    • One of the very first lines in the Network option will start with: pnxs?blendFacets…
    • Click on this line
    • In the new section display which opens, click on the Preview option
    • Look for the line starting with info, such as: info: {total: 458702, last: "10",…}
    • Click on it to expand the data
    • See a line that looks like this: controlledVocabulary: {errorMessages: ["study of religion", "religious studies"]}
    • This tells you that the ‘religious studies’ suggestion was returned on the basis of the query including ‘study of religion

     

     

    Another longer option to see where the suggestion is coming from, along with other response data in full raw form

    • In Chrome, click F12 on your keyboard to open the developer console
    • Run your search again
    • One of the very first lines in the Network option will start with: pnxs?blendFacets…
    • Click on this line
    • In the new section display which opens, click on the Response option
    • Ctrl-A and then Ctrl-C to copy the response data
    • Ctrl-V to paste into Word or Notepad
    • Ctrl-F to search for the word: controlled
    • See a line that looks like this: {"total":458642,"last":"10","controlledVocabulary":{"errorMessages":["study of religion","religious studies"]},
    • This tells you that the ‘religious studies’ suggestion was returned on the basis of the query including ‘study of religion

     

     

     

    A perhaps less desirable and more confusing example of this feature

    • An original user query: good wives nasty wenches
    • Returns a controlled vocabulary suggestion: “little women

     

    In looking at the response data, we see that this suggestion is based on just this portion of the search query: good wives

    • {"total":1178,"last":"10","controlledVocabulary":{"errorMessages":["good wives","little women"]},"

     

    If you don’t know this work, your best friend then is Google, which will quickly tell you that the author of Little Women also wrote a second book in the series called Good Wives, and this suggestion is likely coming from Wikipedia.

     

     

    Ex Libris has advised (2019) of long term plans to swap from Wikipedia to DBpedia, which may help with the sometimes not-so-helpful suggestions.

     

    OLH and Guides:

     

    Suggestions or additions?