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The new “Bento Box” approach to displaying library search results on our website takes its name from the popular and often elaborately prepared Japanese lunches.

Starting today, if you search for a book, article, film, or other library resource on our website, you may notice something different.

We’ve changed the way search results appear in the library catalog, subdividing them into different groups according to the type of media (books, articles, images, etc.) and related tools and services (library research guides, library website links, and other resources). If you search for “Civil War women soldiers,” for example, you don’t just get results for books we have on that subject, but also links to related scholarly articles, images of women in the Civil War from databases and digitized archival collections, links to historical documents in the Rubenstein Library, helpful research guides, and more.

This unified approach to displaying and segmenting search results is commonly referred to as the “Bento Box” method, because of its resemblance to the popular and often elaborately prepared Japanese lunch boxes. It is designed to provide a quick, easy, and more intuitive way to find the information you need.

Bento searching was pioneered by our library colleagues down the road at NC State, and it has started catching on at other libraries around the country. It has the benefit of helping users gain quick access to a limited set of results across a variety of resources, services, and tools, while providing links to the full results.

We made an announcement about rolling out Bento over the summer. But in fact we’ve been developing, testing, and documenting our progress for over a year, and we greatly appreciate all the feedback our users have given us along the way. Your input has helped us design a better, simpler, more intuitively organized search interface for Duke students, faculty, and researchers.

Don’t like it? You also have the option of setting your default search options on our homepage if you find that Bento searching doesn’t meet your needs. Just click on the little gear icon on the bottom left corner of the search box on the library homepage. If you spend more time searching for journal articles rather than books, you can set “Articles” as your preferred search tab, and it will appear as the default every time you visit our site. You can change and customize your default search settings at any time.

Make My Default Search

Use the gear icon to change your default search to Articles, Books & Media, or All.

So give it a spin and let us know what you think! Use our feedback form to tell us how we’re doing or report a problem or issue.

 

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