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Introducing Advanced Search with Usage Statistics

2007-10-31

This month, Connexions introduces an improved content searching interface. This advanced search tool allows users to sort search returns by a number of metrics, expand or collapse details in the search results, and even view usage statistics for Connexions modules and courses.

Figure 1: Access advanced search through the "view statistics" link in a Connexions author profile page.

Search and Browse

This interface can be accessed in a variety of ways. A Connexions user can click on the "view statistics" link in an author profile page (Figure 1). This takes the user straight to the advanced search statistics view for that author's content (see below for more information on this view). Alternatively, to access the advanced search features, a user may search for material as normal in Connexions - either through the content browsing interface in Figure 2 (choose the "Expand this Information" link in the "View" box) or content keyword search in Figure 3. Results are returned in the detail view shown in Figure 4. In this view, Connexions users have access not only to the names and authors of modules and collections matching their criteria, but they can also examine a selection of the metadata associated with each item, such as the it's keywords and revision history. To hide this more detailed information, users can click on the "Compact" link under the "View" heading in the search return box (Figure 4).

Figure 2: Access advanced search through Connexions' content browsing interface.

Figure 3: Access advanced search through Connexions' content searching interface.

Figure 4: Search results detail view.

Sort (by Popularity, Language, Keywords etc.)

Results in the search return can be sorted by a variety of fields using the "Sort by" drop-down box shown in Figure 5. Options for the sort include module popularity, language, revision date, title, and type.

Figure 5: Search results display options.

Get Statistics about Popularity and Viewership

Finally, module and collection usage statistics can be found by clicking on the "Statistics" link under the "View" heading in the search results box. This gives you the view shown in Figure 6. Statistics include total views, views per day, and popularity percentile and rank in the Connexions repository. These statistics can either cover the module or collection's entire history (the "All Time" link under the "Statistics" heading) or the most recent week of activity (the "Recent" option). As already mentioned, this statistics view is also available by clicking on the "(view statistics)" link on an author's member profile page (Figure 1).

Download a Spreadsheet

Additionally, these statistics can be downloaded as a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to a user's local machine using the "Download Spreadsheet" link found under the "Statistics" heading.

Figure 6: Search results statistics view.

We encourage Connexions users and authors to experiment with this exciting new search interface to see what all it has to offer.