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Proceedings Paper

Build great web search applications quickly with Solr and Blacklight
Author(s): Ron DuPlain; Dana S. Balser; Nicole M. Radziwill
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Paper Abstract

The NRAO faced performance and usability issues after releasing a single-search-box ("Google-like") web application to query data across all NRAO telescope archives. Running queries with several relations across multiple databases proved to be very expensive in compute resources. An investigation for a better platform led to Solr and Blacklight, a solution stack which allows in-house development to focus on in-house problems. Solr is an Apache project built on Lucene to provide a modern search server with a rich set of features and impressive performance. Blacklight is a web user interface (UI) for Solr primarily developed by libraries at the University of Virginia and Stanford University. Though Blacklight targets libraries, it is highly adaptable for many types of search applications which benefit from the faceted searching and browsing, minimal configuration, and flexible query parsing of Solr and Lucene. The result: one highly reused codebase provides for millisecond response times and a flexible UI. Not just for observational data, NRAO is rolling out Solr and Blacklight across domains of library databases, telescope proposals, and more -- in addition to telescope data products, where integration with the Virtual Observatory is on-going.

Paper Details

Date Published: 19 July 2010
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7740, Software and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy, 774011 (19 July 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.857899
Show Author Affiliations
Ron DuPlain, National Radio Astronomy Observatory (United States)
Dana S. Balser, National Radio Astronomy Observatory (United States)
Nicole M. Radziwill, James Madison Univ. (United States)
National Radio Astronomy Observatory (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7740:
Software and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy
Nicole M. Radziwill; Alan Bridger, Editor(s)

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