Florida Center for Library Automation (FCLA) is currently developing a
new library OPAC user interface for the 11 State University Libraries
of Florida (SUL) using commercial software from Endeca
Technologies, Inc.; this is the same software that was used by the
North Carolina State University
Libraries (NCSU) to provide its revolutionary OPAC introduced in
While there are similarities with the NCSU implementation, there are
also significant differences.
This FAQ is about the FCLA Endeca
project rather than an FAQ about using/searching the FCLA Endeca OPAC
questions/answers will be added to this project FAQ as
the project moves forward. It is generally recommended that you read
the entire FAQ (all are on this one page) to
understand the overall project; the links below can then be used to
refer back to particular sections if desired.
- What are
the primary purposes for FCLA purchasing and developing the Endeca
- What other
advantages are there?
- Will the
SUL Aleph OPACS be eliminated?
- What is the basic
relationship between FCLA Endeca and
the FCLA Aleph catalog databases?
- Are all
records from all SUL Aleph OPACS included in the FCLA Endeca OPACS?
- How were the records in the FCLA Endeca OPACS
records in SUL Aleph OPACS are not yet in the FCLA Endeca OPACS?
- How current
is the circulation status (and other item level) information that
displays in the FCLA Endeca OPACS?
- How does
the FCLA Endeca OPAC Project differ from the North Carolina State
- How has the initial FCLA Endeca OPAC user
been developed? How have
indexing and other setup decisions been made?
- How will
the user interface for FCLA Endeca OPACS evolve?
the FCLA Endeca OPACS be made available to library users?
- How can I
connect to the FCLA Endeca OPACS?
- Where can I see other Endeca OPACS?
- What else
will I want to know about searching the FCLA Endeca OPAC?
- Is there other useful information about Endeca?
- Where can SUL staff
track progress on the FCLA Endeca OPAC project?
a library system?
Endeca is not
an integrated library management system (ILS) like the Ex Libris Aleph
we use; for example, Endeca has no modules for acquisitions,
cataloging, serials control, or circulation.
is software that is purchased by many businesses and other large
organizations to organize and present data available on their Web
indicated on the Endeca Technologies Inc. home page at http://endeca.com/, “Endeca's unique
access platform helps people find, analyze and understand information
never before possible.”
2006 North Carolina State University (NCSU) introduced its
Library public catalog (OPAC) that uses the Endeca software. FCLA has
this software to provide an improved user interface for the library
the State University Libraries of Florida (SUL) as well.
the primary purposes for
FCLA purchasing and developing the Endeca OPACS?
ORIGINAL BRIEF ANSWER
library users with a more helpful searching experience by providing
them -- especially in narrowing initial searches that are too
broad. Endeca exposes terms that have been entered in library
catalog records in ways that are much more prominent than in
traditional OPACS; these terms can be easily clicked to "drill down" to
view records having the most interest to a user.
they introduced their Endeca OPAC, the NCSU
Library indicated “Leveraging
advanced search and Guided Navigation® capabilities of the Endeca
ProFind™ platform the new catalog
speed and flexibility of popular online search engines while
existing catalog records. As a result, students, faculty, and
now search and browse the NCSU Libraries' collection as quickly and
searching and browsing the Web, while taking advantage of rich content
cutting-edge capabilities that no Web search engine can match.”
SOME ADDITIONAL EXPLANATION
ABOUT "WHY ENDECA?" LATER POSTED ON LIBOPAC-L
enhancements we get from
Endeca are really valuable to the vast majority of end-users.
The first key
enhancement is better
ranking. Integrated library systems are not known for their ability to
results. Users expect good results; they don't care about how many, but
expect good results on the first page. This is a reasonable
user is not broken. For the vast majority of requests, Endeca improves
The second key
spell-check. In a study conducted in 2002, a spell-checker
improved retrieval in a catalog. People spell things wrong for a
reasons-knowledge, language skills, error, physical ability-and a
helps a user across what one usability specialist called "the gulf of
execution"- the distance between the user and the accomplishment of the
task. ILS vendors don't provide spell-check in their
products, but layering a product such as Endeca over our system can
The faceting that
(the categories in the left-hand margin) has excellent potential for
users, with several caveats. One is that we need to be very selective
what facets we choose to display.
Another is that we are ultimately limited by the shortcomings of our
metadata. Endeca can't make Library of Congress subheadings more
for typical users, nor can it compensate for
the limitations of searching metadata (versus full text) to begin with.
other bells and whistles appeal as well, such as the ability to
subscribe to any
search as an RSS feed, but believe it or not, the first two features
the price of admission.
advantages are there?
library catalog data is captured and stored to create the individual
SUL FCLA Endeca OPACS also
creation of a Union Catalog for the SUL (which does not
exist for its 11 Aleph catalogs). One "master" record serves as the
basis for all local OPACS and the Union OPAC view. NOTE: This sentence
was amended on 5/11/07 to make clear that there is only one "master"
record stored in Endeca that is used in all of the OPACS.
expected that Endeca will
be able to incorporate data from FCLA’s separate Ex Libris Digitool
Digitool can be combined with that from Aleph to present users with a
complete catalog without library staff throughout the SUL constantly
into Aleph or vice versa.
improvement is that
due date information for most items appears right on the Results List
the case in the SUL's old WebLUIS OPAC); for most items it will no
necessary to go to a different screen to see this important
expected that Endeca will provide a platform allowing more
flexibility for future user interface development.
SUL Aleph OPACS be eliminated?
FCLA's goal is to
eliminate as much
dependence on the SUL Aleph OPACS as possible, eventually reaching
FCLA moves toward this goal, it is important to understand that the
software can integrate
data from other services so that information seen on FCLA Endeca OPAC
sometimes be coming from information that is actually stored
in Endeca itself, while other data will actually be coming from the
What is the
basic relationship between FCLA Endeca and the FCLA Aleph catalog
Answering a December 6, 2006 question on
LIBOPAC-L, FCLA staff responded as follows:
Endeca application is a mix of several pieces. There is a Java
Server Pages (JSP) web application,
where we develop and adjust the web interface. The web
application contains calls to the Endeca Navigation Engine.
The navigation engine returns the set of records and information for
any given request and the JSP code arranges it for display to the
browser. The JSP code is our code to maintain and change in
whatever way we can figure out that will improve the application.
The relationship to Aleph can be viewed at
two levels. It is possible for us to connect from the JSP code to
the Aleph OPAC, something we have mostly avoided. We don't want
our Endeca application to be dependent on the Aleph OPAC presence, or
subject to changes in the Aleph web servers. The 2nd level is
where the JSP code makes calls directly to the Aleph Oracle data for
the information our application needs, such as the current circulation
status of an item. This is our preferred arrangement, which
tends to require more up front programming, but gives us more control
and independence from the Aleph OPAC.
The search features of the navigation engine
are what we get from Endeca. We do have some control by altering
the fields of bibliographic data we extract and load into Endeca.
Endeca also has parameters for controlling options in the navigation
engine. We modeled our bibliographic field extraction and Endeca
options on the NCSU model (as well as the look of the web
application). In the case of the Endeca options we
literally loaded a copy of their settings that they shared with us.
As we move forward .. we expect to diverge
from the NCSU model because of preference or necessity or both.
Hope this helps explain the picture. “
7, 2006 Follow-up Question and FCLA Response
QUESTION: "I am still unclear on the
searching function. Does Endeca take the user's search terms to
create a query directly into Oracle data – no Aleph OPAC in
between? Can we theoretically build whatever search functionality
that can be created by queries into Oracle?"
FCLA RESPONSE: “The Endeca search engine does not access
Oracle data as part of the search. We extract Aleph Oracle
bibliographic data and load it into Endeca as a set of records with
fields and values. Endeca calls this process a baseline
update. Once the data is loaded into Endeca all the search and
navigation requests are handled by the Endeca Navigation Engine.
I don't think we can add
search functionality, but we could possibly add fields to be included
with the records for a baseline update. Then those new fields
would be available for the Endeca search engine to search and use in
We have been considering ways
to provide a headings browse, possibly inside the Endeca search engine
or maybe outside the search engine, but so far do not have
definite plan and have been working on other issues first.”
records from all SUL Aleph OPACS included in the FCLA Endeca OPACS?
very recent additions to the local Aleph catalogs, all books, etc.
record in each local Aleph catalog should be in the FCLA Endeca OPACS
minimize the total number of records needing to be stored and searched
in Endeca, when records having the same
number exist in different SUL catalogs, a “master” record has been
use in Endeca (thereby eliminating as much duplication as possible).
Local Aleph holdings have then been associated with that
master record. NOTE (May 11, 2007): The "master" records in FCLA Endeca
result from the merging process described below. The same record is
used in both the Endeca Union OPAC and in the local Endeca
OPACS. The separate Full Records from each of the SUL Aleph databases
stored in Endeca.
over 13,850,000 total records in all of the separate SUL Aleph OPAC's
when the data was first extracted for Endeca;
as of December 1, 2006 there were 6,788,481 records in Endeca, so more
the total SUL records have OCLC numbers that match and had not been
in Endeca. UPDATE: As of January 16,
2007, there were 6,806,461 records in FCLA Endeca; as of March
12, 2007 there were 6,940,316; as of April 22, 2007 there were
the records in the FCLA Endeca OPACS selected/developed?
- The intent was to not duplicate records in
the 11 individual library catalogs if they had the same OCLC number.
- NOTE: May 30, 2007
-- the order of processing SUL catalog files shown below was accurate
for the initial Endeca loads. According to FCLA this is no longer the
order followed. They are also investigating possible alternate
approaches that would have all files compared concurrently.
- The process began using all records from the
largest library catalog file (UF).
- Duplicate records from within UF having the
same OCLC number were then removed (e.g. if the Health or Law libraries
had a title owned elsewhere at UF).
- As records were matched by OCLC number, 852
fields for location/call number data were inserted.
- Certain fields (subjects, especially MeSH)
the first record were identified and added.
- 856 field(s) were all kept and a code for the
university was put in.
- The next institution's records were then
compared. If the record was a unique OCLC number, then the whole
record was kept so that it could be the starting point for merging with
next institution's records.
- The process continued through the 11 separate
What records in SUL
OPACS are not yet in the FCLA Endeca OPACS?
time, daily updates reflecting any record changes made in local SUL
are not set up to run. As of
April 23, 2007, the plan is for baseline updates are occur weekly; this
has generally been happening..
How current is the
status (and other item level) information that displays in the FCLA
retrieved dynamically from the underlying Aleph system data (Oracle);
always up to
OPAC Project differ from the North
Carolina State University OPAC Project?
|NCSU needed to
data only from its own
FCLA has gathered data from 11 separate SUL catalog databases
and de-duped records when the OCLC number matched. This data will
be used to provide both a Union Catalog and the separate institutional
As of December 1, 2006
the NCSU Endeca OPAC had 1,116,688 records; FCLA’s Union Catalog had
6,788,481. UPDATE: As of January 16,
2007, there were 6,806,461 records in FCLA Endeca; as of March
12, 2007 there are 6,940,316; as of April
22, 2007 there were 7,033,645.
|Relationship to the Integrated Library
initial Endeca is very closely integrated with its SIRSI system OPAC.
a user is seeing Endeca screens; other times they are seeing SIRSI
screens. FCLA’s Endeca is displaying results data only from
exported from Aleph and stored in
Endeca; Aleph OPAC screens are not seen. NOTE: At present, some functionality that
can be done in Aleph
cannot be done in FCLA Endeca.
NCSU Endeca OPAC Full Record
display is actually its SIRSI OPAC record; the FCLA Endeca Full Record
is displaying data stored in Endeca.
date and other item
information displayed on FCLA Endeca
being dynamically generated from invisible links to the underlying
Aleph system. Due date information appearing on NCSU Endeca results
screens is updated daily, but not dynamically; so there may be
different availability information showing on the NCSU Endeca results
and the real-time SIRSI full record.
has also developed the ability for users to renew and request holds on
checked out items through the Endeca OPAC interfaces for the individual
institutional catalogs (but not the Union Catalog); this is also
accomplished by dynamically connecting to Aleph data from within the
close integration of
NCSU’s Endeca and SIRSI interfaces, the search and headings
browse functionality from the
system that dislays allows for more traditional library search options
that are still being developed in
Both NCSU and FCLA have also included an Advanced Keyword Search form
(including a separate Boolean search form) for
searching its Endeca
FCLA has developed an initial Browse Headings functionality for Title,
Author, Subject, and Series Title (available only in the institutiional
catalogs initially). NCSU's browse options are using SIRSI
functionality. This traditional access using structured
headings will evolve and be featured more in FCLA Endeca with more use
Headings in FCLA Endeca Full Records are clickable to redirect a
search. These redirects in the NCSU OPAC are in SIRSI.
FCLA is adding the ability to search its Endeca data by various numbers
(e.g. OCLC number).
|Classification Browse Options:
developed an LC classification breakdown for browsing search results.
FCLA also uses this and has added classification breakdowns for NLM and
is working on
a Dewey option as well.
FCLA Endeca offers the option
to "Hide" or "Show" the classification
|Results Processing Options
has developed the Add to List, View
List and Check All <on this
page> functions available on its Endeca OPAC Results List, as
well as the related Email and Print and
RefWorks functions. NCSU's OPAC has similar functionality
on the Full Record (which is from its SIRSI system).
An RSS feed being is tested.
is that whenever new items are loaded into Endeca, and you are
subscribed to the feed that includes the item, brief information and a
link to the record will appear in your RSS feed reader. For any search
combination of facet navigation done, there is a corresponding RSS feed
that will work with Web-based feed readers.
|SFX Links Included:
||The FCLA Endeca
OPAC results list includes an SFX link for all records having an ISSN.
This is generally
working, but some SUL
use link resolver products other than SFX and it's not yet clear
whether those separate products can be accommodated. It may be a local
decision whether or
not there is value to including the SFX links.
How has the
Endeca OPAC user interface been developed? How have indexing and
decisions been made?
In order to help FCLA make
progress on this initiative as quickly as possible, NCSU generously
shared many of their Endeca setup and configuration files. Significant
similarity in screen layout can currently be seen in the NCSU and FCLA
Endeca search entry and Results List screens. FCLA staff have modified
or added presentation code as needed; for example they have needed to
add a display for the Full Record (since NCSU Endeca displays it's
SIRSI record rather than Endeca data). Some aspects of the existing
FCLA Aleph OPACS as well as the old WebLUIS OPAC presentation have also
been used as a guide for aspects of the initial FCLA Endeca user
had also made many
about what fields of bibliographic, holdings and circulation data to
to its Endeca and even more decisions about how Endeca should index
fields; many of these decisions were used by FCLA so rapid progress
could be made in developing it's Endeca prototype. The decisions made
regarding SUL-wide indexes and local indexes in advance of migration to
Ex Libris Aleph in recent years have not been applied to the FCLA
How will the user
interface for FCLA Endeca
FCLA staff members now have
some experience in setting
and making it work with SUL data, but there is still much to learn
about how to control Endeca
what all the Endeca options may be.
SUL PSPC OPAC Subcommittee (and it's LIBOPAC-L listserv that is open to
all SUL staff who wish to participate in OPAC development discussions)
will play a
significant role in the development; various other SUL committees and
will also be consulted as appropriate. As committees reach consensus on
modify the initial prototype.
When will the FCLA
Endeca OPACS be made
available to library users?
27, 2007 Update:
Each of the State University Libraries will
decide when the new catalog
is ready to be featured as its primary library catalog. As the
of a library system upgrade, the current library catalogs will be
changing in each of the libraries over the next few months (some in
July 2007, and others in August, September, and October - see schedule
in the next FAQ below). It is hoped
that the new catalog will be considered ready in time to prevent
needing to learn and use the changed version of the old catalog.
21, 2006 message from FCLA's Michele Newberry to LIBOPAC-L and FCLLIST
about planning for the impact of upgrading Aleph (including the Aleph
OPAC) from Version 15.5 to Version 18 beginning in July 2007 and
continuing into the Fall Semester. The
ENDECA STATUS section indicates:
"The v.18 Aleph
OPAC will not be identical to v.15.5 largely because the customized
re-write it. This will mean that the Aleph OPAC will change once the
university is upgraded which, for some, could be near the beginning of
or in the middle of Fall term. For this reason, the CSUL (Council of
State University Libraries -- i.e. the Library Directors) decided to
make Endeca the primary user interface. As such, this requires an
implementation plan that gives library staff a relatively stable Endeca
interface early enough to develop training materials. The plan:
1. The Union
Catalog will be opened up to users as a "prototype" early in the
Spring term to get feedback on functionality, the interface and system
Not yet opened up
to users as of April 22, 2007 while the SUL OPAC Subcommittee and FCLA
staff work to enhance the interface, and upgrade equipment to insure
feedback will be collected by and prioritized by the OPAC Subcommittee
which will work with FCLA to implement the needed changes.
Usability testing is being planned.
institution catalogs will continue in development through the Spring
term with the goal of having them available to users in a "soft"
rollout about the beginning of Summer term.
4. By Fall 2007,
Endeca should be ready to go fully live throughout the SUL as the
primary user interface
with the Aleph OPAC utilized as an alternative.
FAQ Content as of December 1, 2006
date has been set.
At this time the
thinking is that the first public use of Endeca will likely be to fill
need/desire for a SUL Union Catalog (since there is currently no union
catalog for our Aleph OPAC data). Once there has been a determination
of general system readiness, (e.g. is response time acceptable when many
users are connected), advertising it could begin.
Certainly, it is
hoped that any significant problems with the system will have been
identified and solved before promoting it as a production system.
Ongoing discussions (including on LIBOPAC-L) about the prototype
functionality and interface elements will inform the decision about
making it generally availabile for library users. Since the prototype
already includes essentially all records from all the SUL catalogs, it
is believed that testing response time and other "readiness" issues
should enable determining basic system readiness reliably; this could
lead to an earlier decision to begin promoting its use.
Beginning use of individual
SUL Endeca OPACS will also depend on a determination of general system
readiness as well as on local discussions and decisions about how to
feature their Endeca OPAC and their separate Aleph OPAC (i.e. until the
Aleph OPAC can be eliminated).
Some SUL may also
wait to feature their Endeca OPAC until FCLA has put in place routines
for regularly updating Endeca data so that new or changed records will
be available there. Some could wish to delay significantly promoting
use of their Endeca OPAC until more SUL indexing decisions have been
made and applied and further refinements to the user interface have
been made. Some may feel that inclusion of an Advanced Search screen to
FCLA Endeca (as is available in NCSU Endeca) is critical to being able
to promote it over use of their Aleph OPAC. Some SUL may decide to
develop plans for effectively featuring both alternative OPACS so that
the strengths of each OPAC are promoted.
How can I connect
to the FCLA Endeca OPACS?
The FCLA Endeca
Union OPAC view is available to all at http://catalog.fcla.edu
Where can I see other Endeca OPACS?
Links to individual institution OPACS are available below:
- North Carolina State
University Library Endeca Catalog (NCSU)
comparison of the FCLA Endeca OPAC with the NCSU Endeca OPAC go to http://www2.lib.ncsu.edu/catalog/ (new window
- Be aware that because
NCSU has integrated their Endeca
and SIRSI OPACS, more search type options available in SIRSI are
displayed in the drop-down menu there than are available in the FCLA
Endeca OPAC. Only the search types shown at the top of the list
(Anywhere, In title, In Author, In Subject heading, and ISBN/ISSN) are
Endeca search options.
- Also when you click
"Start Over" in the NCSU
OPAC you will be
taken to the main catalog search screen at http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/catalog/
that separates the Endeca and SIRSI search boxes.
- You can click
"Advanced Search" and "Browse" on that main catalog search screen
to see the other Endeca options NCSU has implemented.
- Phoenix Public Library Endeca Catalog
- McMaster University
Library (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada)
- Other Future Endeca
else will I want to
know about searching the FCLA Endeca OPACS?
- There is a brief interactive
tutorial for the FCLA Endeca OPAC at http://www.uflib.ufl.edu/sulopac/endeca/tut1/start.html.
It will lead you through the basics of navigation
using this new new OPAC.
- It is possible to enter terms in the search box
surrounded by "quotation marks" to search for exact phrases and thereby
limit results retrieved.
- Boolean operators (and, or, not) are ignored in
- Truncation using ? or * is not available.
- Without typing any search terms, you may just
click the SEARCH button to begin browsing the entire collection of
records. Just click any terms on the resulting screen to begin
"drilling down" to records of interest.
- The Browser BACK button can be used.
- Endeca seems to do
much better than traditional OPACS (including both our Aleph OPACS and
WebLUIS OPACS) helping users "discover" library collection
resources that they don't yet know about by exposing the words and
metadata in library catalog records; these elements help the user
down" to resources they may find useful by clicking on terms of
that they see on search results screens.
- NOTE: April 22, 2007
-- Endeca relevance seems to have been significantly improved; e.g.
searching for the title "Nature" and "Science" using keyword title
seems to be working well. This had not been the case earlier when the
following was written. "What
does less well is to find records for some "known" items --
especially works that have titles with single words (like the journal
"Nature"), titles that begin with common strings (like "Journal of
..."), and other titles having just a few undistinct words. While
experimentation with some titles shows that they can often be found by
"drilling down" fairly quickly, other cases are very challenging. For
our Endeca OPACS to
completely replace our Aleph OPACS, better ways to address this need we
users have to find "known" items most efficiently certainly need to
there other useful
information about Endeca?
Where can SUL
staff track progress on the FCLA Endeca
- About the FCLA Endeca Project
- The NCSU Endeca Project page at http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/endeca/
includes links to various publications and presentations, their FAQ,
- The Endeca Technologies Inc. home page is at http://endeca.com/;
a link there to Website
Search provides access to a useful demo about "Guided Navigation"
and to some actual customer
Websites (e.g. Home Depot).
- There is an SUL OPAC Subcommittee
Blog and an FCLA Endeca Blog
where FCLA and subcommittee members will be posting information
(minutes, etc.) about what
they still need to work on and where they are with the project. These
are both on the FCLA blog server and include reciprocal links. An Aleph
userid/password is required.
- SUL OPAC
Subcommittee Home Page
- SUL staff may subscribe to LIBOPAC-L and monitor
and/or participate in discussions. To subscribe, send a message to
LISTSERV@LISTS.UFL.EDU with the message
SUBSCRIBE LIBOPAC-L your name
in the body. Nothing should be entered in the SUBJECT. For example:
In consultation with
FCLA staff, last updated May 30, 2007
Public Services Planning Committee (PSPC)
Some Previous Versions of this FAQ
Replaced: 5/12/07 | 5/5/07 | 3/9/07
| 1/17/07 | 1/16/07