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JSTOR Enhancements: the Beta Search

June 1, 2013

AASL Column, June 2013
Barbara Opar, column editor

JSTOR recently released its “Beta Search”.  This search has been completely redesigned with both a new  search engine and a changed interface. The new search is easily accessible from a link on At the moment, it is being listed as an additional option in order to avoid disrupting regular research workflows on the site. JSTOR looks to develop this search further:

  • Refining the new interface with facets that allow easy narrowing/broadening of searches
  • Improving relevance rankings with results that more closely match search terms
  • Incorporating new features, including auto-suggested search terms and spell checking
  • Enhancing the search results view to support evaluation of relevance including the ability to preview article and book details directly from the search results list

Beta Search will incorporate what staff are calling “topic modeling” to enhance discovery of content. Unlike standard searching on JSTOR where searches can be focused only within disciplines assigned at the journal level, the Beta Search will use text analysis techniques to automatically assign one or more topics to an article. JSTOR feels that this enhancement will help searchers find relevant content that may be outside of their main disciplinary area.

Read more about the Beta Search (including the application of topic modeling) at

  • Features and News
  • News
  • AASL
  • Association of Architecture School Librarians

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