Over the past while, users and librarians here at NLI have given us some feedback about problems with author searches in our Vufind instance. Eoghan has asked me to summarise these problems and suggest some solutions in order to kickstart a discussion about how to improve author search in Vufind. Since this would involve relatively core changes to the way that Vufind does search, we'd prefer to have some feedback from other developers before working on our own solution.
Summary of issues:
1) At present only Main Authors - Personal Name (MARC 100) are indexed in the author field in Solr. Since MARC records only permit one main author, this has the disadvantage of relegating second authors to the 700 field and thus the author2 field in Solr. The 700 field (Added Entry - Personal Name) is the same used for other contributors such as illustrators, donors etc. This additional relationship information is typically defined in the $e field, although second authors will not receive an entry in the $e field. This is means that second authors will not receive query boosting and will effectively be ranked the same in results as donors, illustrators etc. Similarly, where Main authors are Corporate Names or Meeting Names (MARC 110,111), they will be defined as Author2 in Solr instead of author. This problem also carries over into faceting. Since only main authors are used in faceting, it is not possible to facet by Corporate Name or second author.
2) When searching for authors, users who enter only the initial for the first name, e.g. "Lee, J." for Joseph Lee will not receive any results. This is because Solr doesn't have any tokens for the initials.
· When $e of 700 is blank or value denoting authorship, index in Solr author field
· When 700$e contains value denoted contribution (e.g. illustrator) index as author 2
· when 700$e contains other values not related to authorship (e.g. donor) don't index as an author but possibly index elsewhere
This would require making author multi-valued which presumably would have a knock-on effect for both PHP logic and Smarty templates, and would require tweaking the search weightings. The script could use the LOC relator terms/codes  as a basis, but should be able to lookup a user-specified list of terms/codes too.
Looking forward to hearing from you,
National Library of Ireland
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