UserApp Version 3.7.0 Patch F Build 37688

Our primary use of UA is as a public facing white / yellow pages, mostly
anonymous / guest access. The "yellow" pages is for our various
departments. It's just a simple page, with one portlet (SearchList).

On the back end of this in eDirectory, each "department" is an object
with its name (OU=Information Services), a Telephone Number, an Email
Address, and a URL.

The search works fine, but is, I'm told by our user support people, too
difficult to use. Their example is our "Biology" department. If you go to
the Department Search, and search for "name starts with biology", you get
no results, because our "Biology" department is really named "Biological
Sciences". We have a similar problem with our "Center For Access-Ability
Resources", which everybody knows as the "CAAR" department.

For obvious reasons, I can't rename all departments in to what people
actually call them. It also seems unlikely, if desirable, to get people
to use the actual names vs. convenient shortenings of the names. And the
UA SearchList doesn't have "kinda like" or "do what I mean" search
options. So I see the problem with this system.

They've noticed that people will find what they want, if you get them
"close enough", and have asked me if I can find a way to change this page
to have an index across the top. They're looking for something that,
mocked up, would look like:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
---------------------------------------------------
Search for Organizations / Departments
Item Category Expression Search Term
Name starts with

[Search]

[ ] Advanced Search

where each of the letters would be a clickable link to the results of
searching for "name starts with a", "name starts with b", and etc. down
through the alphabet.

I'm told that people searching for "biology" might, by looking at the "b"
page, notice that "biological sciences" is kinda like "biology" and is
therefor the one that they probably wanted in the first place. People
looking for the "CAAR" office might notice that "Center for Access-
Ability Resources" is there, and might even guess that that's what they
wanted.

I can see their point, I guess, but I'm at a loss as to how to make the UA
do this. SearchList has most of the functionality, but can search terms
be forced in to it from elsewhere like this? If so, how?


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David Gersic dgersic_@_niu.edu
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