QuickSearch is a toolkit for easily creating custom bento-box search applications
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kbeswick Merge pull request #23 from dsteelma-umd/configurable_loaded_links
Make "loaded_link" and "no_results_link" more configurable
Latest commit 3c130f4 Aug 28, 2018



Note: This code has recently been converted to a Rails Gem Engine. It is encouraged that you use this version, but if you are looking for the original release of QuickSearch as a standalone Rails project, it can be found here: https://github.com/NCSU-Libraries/quick_search/tree/pre-gem

Build Status Gem Version

QuickSearch is a customized federated search tool designed to connect people to a variety of library resources, services, and tools. QuickSearch is designed to complement and increase use of existing dedicated library resource discovery tools, such as the catalog, electronic resource search, and subject guides/portals, by directing people to them via an intuitive search interface. The aim of QuickSearch is to provide people with a quick and easy way to find the information they need.

For more information about NCSU Libraries' QuickSearch and the history of the project, see: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/projects/quicksearch

For NCSU Libraries' implementation of QuickSearch, see: http://search.lib.ncsu.edu


  • Single search with bento-box style results
  • Modular
    • swap out searcher modules and themes easily
    • choose from a variety of existing searchers or create your own
  • Best Bets
  • Search analytics


This code has been extracted from the code we have been running in production, but still should be considered an early release.


The aim of QuickSearch is to make it very easy to get up and running.

Follow these instructions to install QuickSearch for development.


  • Rails 5.0
  • Ruby 2.2.2+ or 2.3.x
  • MySQL development headers (mysql-devel package on CentOS, libmysqlclient-dev on Ubuntu)
  • qtwebkit development headers (qtwebkit-devel package on CentOS, libqtwebkit-dev on Ubuntu)


Create a new Rails app, cd into the directory:
rails new my_app


cd my_app
Add quick_search-core gem to your Gemfile:
gem 'quick_search-core'

For development, use: gem 'quick_search-core', git: 'git://github.com/NCSU-Libraries/quick_search.git'

Run 'bundle install'
Run the QuickSearch installation generator:
bundle exec rails generate quick_search:install

The generator will install the generic QuickSearch theme, and some searchers that will work out of the box. For more information on further configuring QuickSearch, see: Configuring QuickSearch

Start the server:
rails s
QuickSearch will be available at http://localhost:3000/


Find more in-depth documentation about QuickSearch in the docs directory

Customizing QuickSearch

QuickSearch is built in a modular way, and is easy to modify or extend. For more in-depth documentation about this, see:


Here are a list of searchers that have been created for QuickSearch so far. Feel free to submit a pull request to add to this list.

Searcher Line to include in Gemfile to install Repository
arxiv gem 'quick_search-arxiv_searcher' quick_search-arxiv_searcher
wikipedia gem 'quick_search-wikipedia_searcher' quick_search-wikipedia_searcher
OpenLibrary gem 'quick_search-open_library_searcher' quick_search-open_library_searcher
Placeholder gem 'quick_search-placeholder_searcher' quick_search-placeholder_searcher
Summon gem 'quick_search-summon_searcher' quick_search-summon_searcher
NCSU Libraries' Catalog Coming soon
ContentDM gem 'quick_search-contentdm' quick_search-contentdm


Theme Line to include in Gemfile to install Repository
Generic Theme gem 'quick_search-generic_theme' quick_search-generic_theme

Running the Tests

In order to run the tests, you'll need to have Xvfb installed. If you are on CentOS, you can run:

sudo yum install org-x11-server-Xvfb

On Ubuntu/Debian:

sudo apt-get install xvfb

To set up the testing database, run:

RAILS_ENV=test bundle exec rake db:schema:load

Then, to run the tests:

bundle exec rake test


There are still some TODOs left in terms of extracting this code from our production codebase:

  • Improve documentation

Bugs, Feature Requests, etc.

To report bugs, or request features, please use GitHub issues. We also welcome pull requests!


Here are the people who have contributed code to this implementation of QuickSearch (listed in alphabetical order)

  • Kevin Beswick
  • Nushrat Khan
  • Cory Lown
  • Jason Ronallo
  • Ryan West