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EBSCOhost Integrated Search - Configuration Best Practices

When configuring your EBSCOhost Integrated Search (EHIS) connectors, there are several things to keep in mind to ensure that your users get the most out of the Integrated Searching experience. This best practices guide offers configuration tips to ensure the most useful results are accessed, while optimizing searching performance.

We will look at considerations for:

  • Configuring database groups.
  • Managing the number of connectors in a profile or database group.
  • Defining Tier 1 and Tier 2 resources.
  • Managing the length of the result list page.


Configuring Database Groups

Creating database groups allows you to limit resources to a specific to a subject, which helps to focus your users’ research and return better results.

When creating database groups, it is important to:

  • Ensure groups are subject-specific. Broad categories or expansive subject areas can be challenging as performance and usability are compromised.

  • Avoid using a “general” database group.


Managing the Number of Connectors in a Profile or Database Group

The number of connectors in a profile has a direct impact on searching performance. More connectors in a profile will lead to longer wait time as search results are retrieved from each connector.

When adding connectors to a profile or database group:

  • Limit groups to a maximum of 30 sources.

  • Group sources carefully. Be mindful of which resources are slower and take longer to post.


Defining Tier 1 and Tier 2 Resources

When defining your Tier 1 and Tier 2 resources, maintain a balance between the best sources and searching performance. This will ensure users see the most relevant information first, and searching speed will not be compromised.

Keep the following points in mind:

  • Users wait for all Tier 1 sources to finish searching before being able to use the result list.
  • Tier 1 database results appear in the initial result list while Tier 2 sources continue to load without affecting the search experience.
  • Tier 2 sources will be viewed less frequently.
  • Ideal Tier 2 resources would be:
    • Slower resources that may negatively impact performance.
    • A news-heavy database that would push more relevant, scholarly results out of reach.
    • A non-textual rich content source that would not return highly-relevant items.
    • General mixed-topic resources.

When assigning database tiers, be sure to:

  • Choose the best and fastest sources for Tier 1.
  • Choose subject-specific resources for Tier 1.
  • Limit Tier 1 sources in order to reduce the amount of time users see the “Progress Screen.”
  • Designate news and “general” sources as Tier 2.
  • Order Tier 1 and Tier 2 resources as you would like users to see them in the Integrated Search panel.
  • Customize Tier 1 and Tier 2 database descriptions that users see in the Integrated Search panel.
integrated search panel


Managing the length of the Result List page

Proper configuration can help ensure optimal performance and usability.

Keep the following points in mind:

  • Result list length is determined by either the number of results per page, or the number of sources to be searched.
  • Try to keep the list of results and the list of sources in the EHIS panel at about the same length. (See Recommended Setup Image)
  • Number of results per page:
    • 10 results is the standard and is recommended.
    • 20 results per page is OK.
    • More than 20 results per page can negatively impact performance and usability.