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Customer Stories

1M+
Accessible Reports
130+
Annual Surveys
20
Years of Searchable Data

The Challenge

Researchers and residents need fast access to the millions of documents and data that the Census Bureau produces. Existing search suffered from a clunky interface, and search result relevancy was lacking, leaving users frustrated.

Our Plan

Lucidworks and the Census Bureau partnered to deliver a user-friendly solution that was fast, scalable, responsive, and relevant that could quickly expand to searching additional parts of the site.

The Results

A new search app that uses categories and faceting makes finding agency data and documents easier than ever. Auditing dashboards provide administrators with insight into what users are searching for and what reports they’re accessing.

‹ ALL CUSTOMERS

How the U.S. Census Bureau Uses Fusion to Bring People and Data Together

The Census Bureau is the leading source of data about the American people, business, and the health of the U.S. economy. Every ten years, the Census Bureau oversees a nationwide census, which helps direct billions in federal, state, and municipal funding along with allocating seats in the House of Representatives. After collecting the extensive amounts of data included in the census, making this data and the resulting reports available to politicians, business leaders, and residents is crucial. The search function on the Census Bureau’s website offers a key portal into this information.

Connecting Citizens and Data

“We have a lot of data, documents, and reports available on our site,” said David G. Johnson, Website Support Manager at the Census Bureau. “Our site search has to meet both the needs of researchers at government agencies as well as everyday people looking for data and statistics about the world around them.”

The existing site search for census.gov was a conventional, full-text search that returned results matched to the documents and data, but suffered from a clunky interface and presentation. Parts of the site would require users to click through several pages of chronological archives to navigate to what they were looking for. Findability was further complicated as metadata and tags were not being included in the ranking of a query’s results.

The search team was familiar with Apache Solr and its compatibility with their in-house content management system. They looked at Lucidworks Fusion as a solution since it was built with an Apache Solr core and also offered a broader range of prebuilt components that would speed up development. Along with Fusion, the team considered Elasticsearch, but in the end preferred Fusion’s exposed services and architecture, which gave them more flexibility to tune relevance over Elastic’s more primitive “black box” approach.

The new search application built with Lucidworks Fusion provides much more flexibility for users to filter and target their searches faster.

US Census search app

Categories and faceting also assist users in quickly getting to the information they are looking for.

The application also includes robust dashboards for auditing and logs so content owners know what users are looking for— and if they are successfully finding what they need. The new solution connected to the agency’s existing single sign-on architecture and security infrastructure.

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