“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
– Arthur C. Clarke
Sometimes the changes we release on Europe PMC are not immediately obvious! For the last few months we’ve been working hard to migrate our search to a technology called Solr. Our search has been using a Lucene-based index and customised query handler for several years. It was starting to feel the strain of the increasing number of search queries on Europe PMC (we have over 1 million unique users per month), and was proving cumbersome to maintain.
Our new search using Solr may not be “magic”, but it’s faster, nimbler and easier to maintain. You might notice some subtle improvements including:
Based on our current testing, searches are on average 20 times quicker using Solr than using the previous search engine. We will continue to test and monitor the performance of Solr.
In the graph below Solr is represented by the red line and our previous search engine is represented by the blue line. You can see over a trial period that http:// requests were processed by Solr more quickly than requests to the previous search engine.
|Graph showing duration of http:// requests, comparing Solr search with our previous search|
Improved title searching
If you search for part, or all, of an article title using a free text search, articles which have matching titles will appear high up in your search results. It should therefore be much quicker and easier to find articles by title.
Popular content sets are quicker to load
In the past you may have noticed that the popular content set filters (which allow you to filter results by full text articles, open access, reviews, patents, books and documents) are slow to load on our search results page. With the Solr search the filters load much more quickly.
Author profiles are updated more quickly
If you have claimed articles to your ORCID record, your Europe PMC author profile will be updated more quickly than previously. Claimed articles should appear in your profile within 30 minutes, rather than within 24 hours.
The Solr search provides a strong architectural foundation for Europe PMC, which will make it easier and quicker to introduce new search features. We will announce any future developments on this blog.
If you have saved searches you may notice that the number of new results for your search seems different. That’s because Solr has a different way of handling synonyms, so it is possible that you will have more, or less, articles for your search term than the previous search
If you have any feedback about the new search, please let us know using the feedback link at the bottom of the website, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.