Over the past decade or so, faceted navigation (also known as faceted search) has emerged as one of the most promising methods to overcome the limitations inherent in the traditional query-response model. Indeed, what was originally offered as an optional feature, it has now become a standard requirement for any website with a search functionality. Although faceted navigation has been successfully used in e-commerce interfaces for quite some time, it is only recently that memory institutions have really given it the attention it deserves. This is somewhat surprising considering that faceted classification, as developed by the Indian mathematician and library scientist Shiyali Ramamrita Ranganathan, has long been a familiar technique to them – or at least to libraries. Whatever the reason for the delay, it is praiseworthy that more and more memory institutions are now revamping their search interfaces with faceted functionality to provide their audiences with greater access and discovery experiences to their collections.

Growing evidence shows that interfaces incorporating faceted navigation are especially useful to users with fuzzy, vague or ill-defined needs in mind who require support and guidance in moving towards a more focused search. By seamlessly integrating keyword search with navigation, faceted search interfaces allow users not only to find information quickly and flexibly but also to explore and become familiar with the various dimensions of complex information spaces without the feeling of being overloaded or lost in interaction.

Within this project, three main digital libraries will be designed: