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Pre-Populating Searches on your Public Resource Directory

Public-Resource-Directory-2nd-option

Note: This blog describes a process that helps you or your web developers create guided searches of your iCarol Public Resource Directory. While this is still relevant to users of that version of the Public Resource Directory, as of July 3, 2017 a new version of the Public Resource Directory includes a built-in Guided Search builder. Learn more…

Passing parameters from your website to your Public Resource Directory (PRD) is a great and easy way to help guide your users to helpful resources. This feature is included in the Public Resource Directory add-on at no additional cost.

Guided searches can save time, help your users find what they need, and if you use the 211 Taxonomy, can help improve your statistics by encouraging exact Taxonomy searches. Webmasters can pre-load the Public Resource Directory public search page by sending search parameters in the URL hyperlink.

A current example of a client who does this is http://montana211.org/. They put a custom search box on their main page, which was developed by their webmaster. When a search is conducted by a PRD user, they generate a URL for the resulting page. Not only can search terms be passed to the Public Resource Directory (PRD), but other search filters such as location can be passed to the initial search.

Another client who uses pre-populated searches is http://www.211oc.org/211oc-guided-database-search.html. The guided search enables the public users to choose a general category, and then presents them with a list of more specific categories. Once a more specific category is chosen, the public resource directory is pre-populated and the user is presented with a list of appropriate search results.

Basic PRD URL vs. Populated URL

Example of Basic PRD URL:
http://www.icarol.info/Search.aspx?org=2229

pre populate search public resource directory

This link will open the PRD in a new tab/window, with empty search criteria. A user will then have to enter a search term, choose geographic filters to refine their search, and initiate the search by clicking search (or choosing from the drop down list).

Example of a populated PRD search URL:
http://www.icarol.info/Search.aspx?org=2229&country=United%20States&stateprovince=NY&city=Rochester&county=Monroe&Search=food&
sort=Alphabetical&pst=Coverage&NameOnly=True

guided search pre populated public resource directory

This link will open the PRD in a new tab/window, but will include populated specific search criteria. iCarol will also complete the query before the page loads for the user, removing the extra step of clicking “search”. The user can change any of the filters or search terms to further refine sequential searches.

How to read the Populated URL

The parameters are passed within a defined section of the URL, and by programming the hyperlinks from your website to the pre-populated URL, you can pass these criteria to the PRD. Search parameter starts with the field name, includes an equals sign (=), then includes the parameter value to pass. Each parameter is separated by an ampersand (&). Example: &Search=food&sort=Alphabetical& You can get the populated URL by completing a search in your PRD system, and copying the URL from the address bar. For a more dynamic approach, your webmaster can use text boxes or drop down boxes to help guide a user’s input.

Understanding Available Parameters

Org – Org is your Organization number, the unique number used by iCarol to represent your system

http://www.icarol.info/Search.aspx?org=2229&country=United%20States&stateprovince=NY&city=Rochester&county=Monroe&Search=food&
amp;sort=Alphabetical&pst=Coverage&NameOnly=True

Country – Geographic Filtering for Country

http://www.icarol.info/Search.aspx?org=2229&country=United%20States&stateprovince=NY&city=Rochester&county=Monroe&Search=food&
amp;sort=Alphabetical&pst=Coverage&NameOnly=True

StateProvince – Geographic Filtering for State or Province

http://www.icarol.info/Search.aspx?org=2229&country=United%20States&stateprovince=NY&city=Rochester&county=Monroe&Search=food&
amp;sort=Alphabetical&pst=Coverage&NameOnly=True

County – Geographic Filtering for County

http://www.icarol.info/Search.aspx?org=2229&country=United%20States&stateprovince=NY&city=Rochester&county=Monroe&Search=food&
amp;sort=Alphabetical&pst=Coverage&NameOnly=True

City – Geographic Filtering for City

http://www.icarol.info/Search.aspx?org=2229&country=United%20States&stateprovince=NY&city=Rochester&county=Monroe&Search=food&
amp;sort=Alphabetical&pst=Coverage&NameOnly=True

PostalCode – Geographic Filtering for Zip/Postal Code

http://www.icarol.info/Search.aspx?org=2229&country=United%20States&stateprovince=NY&city=Rochester&postalcode=14603&county=Monroe
&Search=food&sort=Alphabetical&pst=Coverage&NameOnly=True

pst – [Coverage | Physical | All ] – Filter resources based on coverage area (“Resources serving”), physical location (“Resources within”), or omit this parameter to use your systems default.

http://www.icarol.info/Search.aspx?org=2229&country=United%20States&stateprovince=NY&city=Rochester&postalcode=14603&county=Monroe
&Search=food&sort=Alphabetical&pst=Coverage&NameOnly=True

Search – [Food] – Is the actual search term you want to find using the filters above. This can include the name of a specific resource, a general concept or phrase, or be specific such as a customized category or taxonomy term.

http://www.icarol.info/Search.aspx?org=2229&country=United%20States&stateprovince=NY&city=Rochester&postalcode=14603&county=Monroe
&Search=food&sort=Alphabetical&pst=Coverage&NameOnly=True

Sort – [Alphabetical | Proximity] – Is the sort order that the results will display in.

http://www.icarol.info/Search.aspx?org=2229&country=United%20States&stateprovince=NY&city=Rochester&postalcode=14603&county=Monroe
&Search=food&sort=Alphabetical&pst=Coverage&NameOnly=True

NameOnly – [True | False] – Set your search type to “Search Names” or “Search All Fields”, or omit this parameter to use your system default.

http://www.icarol.info/Search.aspx?org=2229&country=United%20States&stateprovince=NY&city=Rochester&postalcode=14603&county=Monroe
&Search=food&sort=Alphabetical&pst=Coverage&NameOnly=True

If your organization wishes to use this feature, or if you have any additional questions on how to use it, please submit a case to the iCarol Support Team via the Online Case Submission Tool, found in your Help menu.

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