Search plugins for classic

Hi there all;

We at Grand Valley state university have been using our own branch of the SolrSearch plugin to replace native classic omeka searching. This plugin is abandonware, but we’ve managed to keep it going with some in-house work. the problem is that eventually the plugin is going to succumb to code rot, and so we wanted to see if there were alternatives that replace native omeka searching with something more fully-functional. in particular, we like the capability for faceting searches it offers, and the highlighting (shows where and in what fileds your search terms appeared, as well as a snippet showing it in context). I see an solr plugin for omeka-s, but we are not running Omeka S.

I noticed there’s an AvantSearch plugin on the official plugins page (Omeka Classic - Plugins). The description of this makes it seem like it might be an alternative, but I note that it doesn’t seem to have been updated since 2019. Are those plugins abandonware too? I didn’t see anything else on the list that looked like it replaced native search with a better alternative-does anyone know of any alternatives I might be missing?

I’ve been maintaining a fork of SolrSearch we use at BGSU:

Last December, I worked on updating the plugin to better support PHP 8 and change the core to Solr 8 (due to that version being used by ArchivesSpace). I’ve also pulled in bugfixes I’ve found in other forks, though I have noticed that several of them are diverging quite a bit from how the original version worked.

As it is clear the Scholar’s Lab original has been abandoned, I would be all for centralizing work on a specific fork, particularly if it meant maintainers contributing from several organizations.

I’ve not personally used AvantSearch, but on its GitHub releases page, it does have an update as of February this year:

You may also want to look at this page provided by DanielKM, which covers a more exhaustive listing of Git repositories related to Omeka Classic:

AvantSearch has not been abandoned – I continue to support it for my own users and try to provide advice to others who want to use it. However, I am no longer supporting AvantElasticsearch which is what provides facet searching for AvantSearch. This is because Amazon AWS OpenSearch (originally called Elasticsearch) has become unaffordable and new releases are sometimes not backward compatible. It is simply too costly, in fees and effort, to use AWS OpenSearch, upon which, AvantElasticsearch, and in turn, AvantSearch, depend.

thanks so much for all this information-it’s really helpful.

@kloor: Do you have any sense of how many people are still using this plugin? The idea of working on a central branch is interesting-it really depends on how many people have resources that we can interest in working on it.

@gsoules : So you can actually use the plugin without elasticsearch-it just won’t provide faceting?

It’s hard to say how many people are still using SolrSearch. Here is a list of forks on GitHub sorted by when they were last updated:

Yes, you can use AvantSearch without AvantElasticsearch. If you are quick, before July 1st, you can see the same site running with and without elasticsearch. The without site says “Digital Archive Light” in the header. Some time after July 1 I’ll be deactivating AvantElastich search on the “with” site.

With elasticsearch
Without

Both sites support PDF searching (thanks to the February 2024 release of AvantSearch), but there is no hit highlighting without AWS because elasticsearch provides that feature.

Be aware that the Avant plugins are fairly sophisticated, but a solid PHP/MySQL developer who is familiar with how Omeka plugins work should be able to maintain and/or customize them. I have no plans to abandon AvantSearch, but like the release notes say, use it at your own risk.

I hope this is helpful. Let me know if you have more questions.