Bringing lassos back: library groups functionality

Bug #1815815 reported by Mike Rylander on 2019-02-13
This bug affects 1 person
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone

Bug Description

Evergreen has, internally, a concept called "lassos" that allows an administrator to define a group of org units to search that has no relation to the hierarchical org tree. For instance, one might create a group of law or science libraries within a university consortium, or group all school libraries together. Unfortunately, it's been ignored during search code and UI changes over the years and has bit-rotted well past the point of even "expert" use directly via advanced search syntax.

Presented at are specs to resurrect this feature under the name Library Groups, and to extend its functionality beyond the initial use case of always-visible groups by adding context-awareness.

A branch is currently being prepared to implement these specs, and will follow soon. Of note for possible broader discussion as currently implemented:

  * This functionality requires a conceptual refactoring of the various "location-ish" search filters, such as shelving location groups and search "depth", because it only makes sense to use one of these filters in a given search. Specifically, location groups and library groups are now placed together within a new dropdown adjacent to the library selector, and the depth selector lives in this dropdown as well. The motivation for collecting them in a new dropdown is that these three are secondary or subordinate to the search location -- the org unit tells us what location groups, library groups, and depths are relevant or make sense -- and are mutually exclusive between each other. This dropdown is labeled as "Where" in each place it is displayed, but a different term may suit better.
  * Not implemented, but a straight-forward enhancement might be to use this new dropdown only when there are actually Library Groups to render, and otherwise leave location groups in the org tree dropdown and forget about depth selection altogether. However, that has the major drawback of varying the UI even within a single patron session, based on where in the org tree a search is focused.

Branch forthcoming...

Mike Rylander (mrylander) wrote :
Changed in evergreen:
milestone: 3.3-beta1 →
Jeff Davis (jdavis-sitka) wrote :

I gave this a quick test, and the new dropdown seems confusing to me. I don't think it will be obvious to the user why there are two dropdowns for "scope" (broadly construed) or why certain entries appear in one dropdown rather than the other. In the standard case, where no library groups or location groups are configured, we get a new "Where" dropdown in the searchbar containing a "No Restrictions" entry and one or more entries under Search Scope; I think the average user will not know what this stuff means. The Search Scope options also seem unnecessary when the Location dropdown already lets you adjust search scope in a straightforward way; it's confusing to provide the same option in two different ways.

A few possibilities come to mind:

1. Provide the option for a unified dropdown, similar to the current Location dropdown which combines org units and location groups. I don't know if this is technically possible, but I feel like in many common use cases, the new approach exposes complexity to the user that ought to remain hidden.

2. Make the content of the Where dropdown configurable, e.g. make it possible to exclude Search Scope from the dropdown.

3. Provide an option in config.tt2 to suppress the Where dropdown entirely in the main searchbar. (It can already be suppressed on advanced search, where you're more likely to want to expose it.)

I hope this doesn't sound too negative! I think library groups are a great feature. I'll try to make time for more testing, since my consortium has relatively intricate scoping requirements.

Andrea Neiman (aneiman) wrote :

Hi Jeff-- thanks for the feedback! This development was sponsored by PaILS, and they will be testing it over the next few weeks as well. We have not pullrequested this yet since a final branch will be posted after partner testing is complete & I hope you can take a look at that branch, too, when it's ready.

Mike Rylander (mrylander) wrote :

I've force-pushed an update to the branch to address a display issue with location groups in the new UI component, and with a label in the IDL. Same coords.

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