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Faceted Searching Using SOLR

With the new SAMHDA Web site, SAMHDA has enhanced searching our data holdings using SOLR. SOLR offers the following advantages:

Faceted searching alone is a significant improvement.




The SAMHDA site features two types of searches: variables and study descriptions. By default, you search the variables in the studies.



Variables



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In the screen above, I've done a search on "methamphetamine." The results page lists all the studies that have variables on methamphetamine, sorted by the number of matching variables. I'm not sure I want to limit myself to one study just yet, so I'm going to click on "Find matching variables in all studies" atop the page to return a list of all variables.



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This returns nearly 2300 variables, which is a bit more than I want to page through. Looking to the right, I can see several facets for narrowing my results. Since I'm interested in looking at relatively current data, I select "2000-2009" under "Filter by Time Period." You'll note that it provides an indication of how many results I'll find. I've also sorted by "Time Period (newest)" to pull the most current variables to the top of the list.



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Now that I've selected a facet, it no longer appears on the right, and I can see "time period:2000-2009" just above my search results. If I were to click on the "X" next to it, it would re-execute the search, removing that particular term. Thus I can narrow my search quickly by selecting a link to the right, or expand my search by removing a previously selected filter/facet. I can see a really good candidate in the list: "Ever used methamphetamine."



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Clicking on the variable label takes me to a screen with additional information, including the full question text, responses, and frequencies.



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Scrolling further down the page, I can see additional options. The option "view the study home page" will take me to the main entry point for the study, where I can read more on the sample, download the data files (in SAS, SPSS, or Stata format), and perform online analysis.



Study Descriptions



You can also search the study descriptions if you're looking for a particular study, investigator, or agency. If you click on the "Go" button without entering a search term, it automatically returns all studies.



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Thus I can see that SAMHDA has 134 different studies. Looking to the right, I can see more facets, some of which are not available for variables. The subject facet gives a broad description of SAMHDA's holdings in this case. The "more" link expanded the facet from the top 5 terms to the top 15. A "less" link appears if you want to shrink the list again. There's a "view all" link at the bottom of the list, which I'll now follow.



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The "view all" link returns a comprehensive list of all the subject terms assigned to SAMHDA studies, along with a count of how many studies were thus tagged. The book icon enables you to go to the thesaurus entry for that term if you want to find broader, narrower, or related terms, and clicking on the word itself performs a search for that term.



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I've selected "cocaine," which returned 29 results. The subject facet no longer appears, and so other facets have risen to the top. I can use the other facets to narrow my results further by geography, time period, investigator, series, or recency (added to the site).

2010-06-10