Discovery interface

The very first versions of Muscat developed by the RISM-UK from 2002 (see the history of the project) were essentially a discovery interface for their data. The cataloguing side of Muscat was only developed later with the overarching idea being to avoid developing twice the same search functions that needed to be provided both to the end-users and to the cataloguers.

Considerable developments had to be made in the improvement of the cataloguing side of Muscat because data production is significantly more complex than data publishing. For example, data production requires user access to be fully controlled and data integrity to be constantly ensured. Nonetheless, the discovery interface in Muscat has remained in use from the beginning on.

An example installation of the discovery interface of Muscat is freely accessible for the RISM Switzerland dataset, including the advanced search option.


The current version of Muscat uses Blacklight for its discovery interface. Blacklight is an open-source project initiated by the Library of Virginia in 2007. It is used by numerous libraries, including Stanford University, Europeana, Yale University, the Bodleian, or Columbia University. The Blacklight project can rely on a solid community of user institutions and developers that meets annually with recurrent support from the Princeton University Library.


Faceted search

The discovery interface features a standard faceted search that enables search results to be refined interactively. The drop-down facets are dynamically updated according to the current search results. Each facet can also be navigated from a popup modal window where the list can be sorted alphabetically or according to the number of matches. See also the visualization page for a description of the map view of the search results.

Advanced search and search history

The advanced search interface allows for incipits search and complex filter combinations. For example "-" can be used to exclude terms, and expressions "OR", "AND", and "NOT" and parentheses can be used to create complex boolean logic filters. A search history is also available for quickly retrieving previous search results. See also the incipit display and searching page for more information about the tools and search algorithms.

Date range facet

Dates are an important search criteria for music sources and the discovery interface includes a dedicated facet for it. A slider and form fields make it easy to adjust the upper and lower date range limits. A clickable histogram view of the results is displayed in the facet.

Embedded images

Images uploaded to Muscat are displayed inline as an image gallery directly in the discovery interface. See the page about images for more information about it and for the support for displaying inline images served by libraries via IIIF thanks to the Diva.js high-resolution image viewer.

Responsive design

The discovery interface features a fully responsive interface that works equally well on computer screens, tablets or even small mobile devices. The facet search and browsing the results remain easy even on small screens.

Filtering by number of copies

In Muscat discovery interface it is now possible to filter by number of copies for the prints. This makes it possible, for example, to retrieve a list of prints inventoried only in two libraries, or the list of unica for a particular library.

Multiple languages

Muscat is multilingual and so is its discovery interface. It is currently available in English, German, French and Italian. The Muscat development team itself added the Italian translation to Blacklight (5.14). Other languages can easily be added by loading translation files into the system.