Cutting-edge search improves access to the National Physical Laboratory’s online resources.

The client

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is one of the UK’s leading science and research facilities. It is a world-leading centre of excellence in developing and applying the most accurate standards, science and technology available. NPL occupies a unique position as the UK’s National Measurement Institute and sits at the intersection between scientific discovery and real world application. Its expertise and original research have underpinned quality of life, innovation and competitiveness for UK citizens for more than a century.

The challenge

NPL required Box UK to provide a cutting-edge search system that would improve the overall quality of the results being returned on their public-facing website. Additional bespoke development was required to provide advanced search options, including specialist searches for certain content types including publications and FAQs.

This system also needed to be seamlessly integrated into their existing web space, powered by our in-house developed Amaxus® Content Management System. The project sought to enable NPL to provide their users with higher quality, more relevant information from their searches.

Our solution

For this project we used Solr, an open source enterprise search platform. We implemented custom features including matched-term highlighting, and developed a backend search manager providing a usable interface from which NPL’s administrators can define synonyms and specify ‘similar’ search terms to ensure all content is more easily findable.

We also extended the breadth of searching available – the ‘advanced search’ feature now looks at categories, specific data types, and fields within custom content types, enabling users to refine their search terms. The Solr system and all additional functionality could be seamlessly integrated into their existing Amaxus-powered site.

The outcome

Our harnessing of the power of Solr has provided NPL with incredible search performance, and the bespoke development work ensures that information is quickly and easily accessible. Our experience developing with Solr has enabled us to use its capabilities to find data behind the scenes in Amaxus much more quickly. We are able to apply these same concepts to future projects, using the power and efficiency of Solr to power increased searching functionality for our clients’ web spaces.

Key services

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