Browse Categories

 

Browse Categories

With these settings, you can:

  • Create new browse categories from search results or lists
  • Add, remove, delete, edit, or re-arrange browse categories
  • Schedule browse categories
  • View browse category information and usage data

  

Browse Categories are one of the most visible and useful tools for your discovery layer! Dive in and experiment with creating your own, or check out examples from our live partner sites for inspiration.

  

Getting Started

Permissions

In order to create, edit, and manage browse categories, a user must be assigned a role that includes the necessary permissions.

The following permissions are related to browse categories:

 

Local Enrichment

Administer All Browse Categories: Allows the user to view and change all browse categories within Aspen Discovery.

Administer Library Browse Categories**: Allows the user to view and change browse categories for their home library within Aspen Discovery.

Administer Selected Browse Category Groups**: Allows the user to view and edit only the Browse Category Groups they are assigned to.

** NOTE: The Administer Library Browse Categories and Administer Selected Browse Category Groups permissions are not compatible with one another at this time. For administration purposes, assign only one or the other to any given role depending on what you want the user to access.

 

Primary Configuration - Library Fields

Library Browse Category Options: Configure library fields related to how browse categories are configured in Aspen.

 

Primary Configuration - Location Fields

Location Browse Category Options: Configure Location fields related to how Catalog results and searching is configured in Aspen.

 

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The Differences Between Lists and Browse Categories

There are a few key differences between lists and browse categories.

Who Can Create Them

Lists can be created by all Aspen users. User lists can be public (to be shared out via link or email) but will never be discoverable in the catalog. Staff with public list creating permissions in Aspen are able to make their lists public and searchable/discoverable in the catalog.

Browse categories can only be created by staff who have browse category creation privileges. But, there are three browse categories that appear automatically based on logged in user behavior - those are Your Lists (once a user creates a list), Your Saved Searches (once a user saves a search), and Recommended For You (once a user gives items a star rating).

 

Where They Appear in Aspen

Lists

Lists for users can be accessed in multiple areas. 

For staff with public list creating permissions in Aspen, the lists they have made searchable will appear in Aspen's "in Lists" interface along with the New York Times lists that come in via API.

 

Lists are stored for all users in My Account > Your Lists.

This can be accessed via the dropdown menu under the user's name. 

 

 

Lists can also be found within the user account along the left-side menu.

 

Your Lists can also appear as a personalized browse category (just for the user to see):

 

When a user is scrolling the catalog, if an item appears on a list, it will show within Appears on these lists in the Grouped Work Display. 

 

Depending on the search, the list might show in the Explore More box.

 

If lists are created and turned into Browse Categories by staff with permissions to do so, they will appear with your other Browse Categories on your main browsing interface. Common examples of this are taking the New York Times lists and turning them into Browse Categories or turning a state reading list or other award list and turning them into browse categories.

 

If lists are created and turned into Collection Spotlights (carousels) by staff with permissions to do so, then you may see them featured on your library website or a custom page built with Web Builder

 

Browse Categories

Browse Categories are only found publicly on your main browse interface. Typically this is your Aspen URL landing page (unless you are using Web Builder as a home page).

 

An entire list of Browse Categories that have been created in the system can be found by staff with permissions in Aspen Administration > Local Catalog Enrichment > Browse Categories

 

How Do I Find the Source of a Browse Category?

Browse Categories can be created from a list or a search.

To see the source of any given browse category, click on the magnifying glass and hyperlink above the browse category covers. This will bring you into either the search results or the list that was used to create that browse category.

Browse Categories based on searches are more dynamic - when new titles are added to your collection that match the search related to that browse category, the browse category will automatically update. 

Turning a list into a Browse Category might make sense if it is a read-alike list, a best sellers list, or a regional awards list. These Browse Categories will not update unless the source list has been updated.

 

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The Differences Between Browse Categories and Browse Category Groups

In your Aspen Administration settings > Local Catalog Enrichment, you will see two settings related to browse categories:

Think of Browse Category Groups as the browse category layout. This is what is showing on your catalog left to right top to bottom.

You can move the sort order up and down here to re-order your browse categories.

You can delete browse categories when you are done featuring them or add browse categories when you want to update the look of your catalog browse category view.

Think of Browse Categories as a database of all the browse categories that have been created that you can pull from. This area is searchable, has some basic statistics, you can set start and end dates and you can also delete browse categories forever when you no longer want them on your Aspen server.

Copy Browse Category Groups

This feature is likely to be used for consoritial configurations. In order to allow library-level admin to customize their Aspen catalogs without affecting any other catalogs, they will need their own Browse Category group per library system.

To copy a browse category group, go to Aspen Administration > Local Catalog Enrichment > Browse Category Groups > click into the browse category group you'd like to use as the "template" > click Copy at the top. 

 

This will open a new Browse Category grouped called Copying {Name of other Browse Category Group}.

Aspen will copy everything over except for the Name and the Libraries and Locations the Browse Category group is attached to.

 

 

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Adding New Browse Categories from Search Results

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Browse Categories from a search can only be made from the regular catalog search and with facets in the regular search results, not from Advanced Search

Managing Browse Categories

Create Subcategories for a Browse Category

Adding Sub Browse Categories to an Existing Browse Category from the search

If you want to add a sub category to an existing browse category, the original browse category will turn into a container for the sub category.

So, the results of the original browse category will not show and now the results of the first sub browse category will be there instead.

Example: I already have an On Order browse category with all my On Order Items. I realize I have a lot of On Order items that I want to split into sub browse categories so that users don't have to keep scrolling.

 

I limit my search down to On Order items that are movies. I then create an On Order Movies browse category and make it a sub browse category to my On Order Browse Category.

 

Once I click Create Category, On Order Movies will now be the defult view when I click on On Order. Because On Order has become the parent (or container) for the sub browse categories, the results in the first screenshot are no longer there. 

If I were to delete On Order Movies (and other browse categories connected to the On Order browse category), then the orginal On Order results would return since it was a browse category previously.


 

Create a Browse Category "Container" for your Sub Browse Categories

Let's say you have mentally mapped out all your browse and sub browse categories. For example, you know that you want a browse category that says New Items and then underneath you want New Books, New Movies, and New Music. 

In this case, you could go to Aspen Administration > Local Catalog Enrichment > Browse Categories > Add New

In this example, I name my browse category New Items and leave everything else blank and save. By default, a blank browse category will work like a blank search in Aspen.

 

 

Now that my New Items browse category container is created, I can work on creating my sub browse categories and assigning them to the New Items browse category.

 

 

Once I have them all set, I'll want to add them to the main Browse page for public viewing. To add New Items, I go to Aspen Administration > Local Catalog Enrichment > Browse Category Groups > Add New > Select New Items > Save

 

Now, your browse category container and sub browse categories will show!


 

Add Sub Browse Categories to Browse Categories after all have already been created

If you missed the steps above or want to create sub browse categories from existing browse categories at a later date, go to Aspen Administration > Catalog/Grouped Works > Browse Categories > click into the browse category that you want to be the main category > scroll down to where it says Browse Sub-Categories > click Add New > from the dropdown select any sub browse categories you want to attach to the main category. Order them from top to bottom - left to right - how you'd like them to show.

When you are ready to make them live, you can go to Browse Category Groups and add the main browse category. This will add the main category and any applied sub-categories.

Edit Browse Category Contents

Perhaps you've set up a browse category and realize the results aren't looking the way you'd like. No problem! Here's how to edit an existing browse category that was created with search results.

If your browse category is built from a list, just edit the list contents to change what appears for the browse category.

 

  1. Navigate to the browse category you wish to edit and click the text link above the cover images.

 

  1. You're now seeing the search results with the filters used to create this browse category. From here, you can adjust any of the search filters until you have the desired results.
  2. When finished, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click Add to Browse.
  3. Since this browse category already exists, click Update Existing.

 

  1. Select the browse category you wish to update from the dropdown list. Make sure you're selecting the correct list for the correct library!
  2. Click Update Category and your browse category will immediately reflect your changes.

 

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Delete a Browse Category

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Delete a Browse Category Forever

If you go to Aspen Administration > Local Catalog Enrichment > Browse Categories > click into a Browse Category > Delete then this will delete the Browse Category off the entire server. This browse category is gone. The quickest way to retrieve it is to reproduce it.

Delete a Browse Category from the library Home Page

If you go to Aspen Administration > Local Catalog Enrichment > Browse Category Groups > click into a Browse Category Group > Find the Browse Category from the Dropdown > Delete then this only deletes/removes the browse category from the home page. The browse category will still be available to re-add in the future if you want to reuse it.

Schedule a Browse Category

In Aspen Administration > Local Catalog Enrichment > Browse Categories > click into a Browse Category, there is a Start Date to Show and an End Date to Show calendar option. 

This is a great feature to use to schedule browse categories ahead of time on special topics, holidays, seasons, or progams. Once set up, Aspen will automatically turn these on/off on the start and end dates. For things like holidays or seasons, you could then choose to use them again next year by re-scheduling them once they expire. 

Next, add the Browse Category to your Browse Category Group in the order that you want it to show and it will appear and disappear on the start and end dates that you have set.

Browse Category Statistics

To see how favorable (or unfavorable) your Browse Categories are, there are some statistics for Browse Categories that you can find in Aspen Administration > Local Catalog Enrichment > Browse Categories and scroll over to the right of the table. 

Times Shown - How many times that Browse Category was loaded. Each Browse Category has its own URL so each time one of these pages loads, it would be considered 1 Time Shown. 

 

Note: The Browse Category that is first will trend much higher statistically because it will count as a Times Shown every time someone accesses your library catalog home page

 

 

Titles Clicked - How many times someone clicked on a title in that Browse Category

Dismissed - How many times someone has clicked xHide on that Browse Category. This feature is available to logged in users so that they can customize their Aspen home screen.

If you are using Aspen LiDA, the Dismissed stats from the app will also be included here. However, Times Shown and Times Clicked DO NOT account for LiDA.

 

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Troubleshooting: My Browse Categories Are Not Showing Any Results

If your browse categories are not showing any results, check the facets and/or list that the browse category is based of.

You can see the source of a browse category by clicking on the magnifying glass and hyperlink.

This will take you into the list or search the browse category was based off of.

Troubleshooting

For a browse category based off of a list, double check that your list wasn't deleted and that you have more than 3 items on that list.

For a browse category based off a search, double check the facets that are applied to the search:

  • If you have recently made translation changes to your audience, shelving location, locations, collection codes or format mappings (Exp: A browse category was using a shelf location of Juvenile Fiction and then I updated the shelving location translation map from 'Juvenile Fiction' to 'Children's Room'), this will break exisitng browse categories that are using the previous filter(s) and can no longer match to those value(s).
  • You may need to try adjusting your time frame or filters to pull in more search results into your browse category.

Fixes

If you do find yourself in a situation where the mapping changed and it effected your browse categories you can fix your browse categories with either one of these approaches:

  • From the search results page, remove the old filters from the browse category and re-apply the new filters. Then, update the browse category by going to Search Tools > Add to Browse > Update Existing > find the exisitng browse category from the dropdown > Save.
  • In Aspen Administration > Local Catalog Enrichment > Browse Categories > click into the broken browse category > Default Filters. Here you can adjust the word value of the filter that was expdated. (Exp: My format mapping said 'Books' but I changed it to 'Book' and broke this browse category. In format:Books, I changed it to format:Book and this fixed the browse category)

 

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Types of Browse Categories

Create a "List of Lists" Browse Category

Creating a "list of lists" is a great way to display all your lists of a certain category together. For example, your New York Times Lists or your "Staff Picks" lists.




Creating a List of Lists from the "in Lists" Search Results

First, switch the search index from "in Library Catalog" to "in Lists." Leave the field empty and click Search to retrieve all available lists, or enter in a specific search term if desired. From here, you can narrow down the lists by creator. In this example, I want to make a list containing all New York Times lists, so I can narrow down my results by selecting "The New York Times" in the "Created By" facet.

 

Then, just like you would creating any other browse category, either scroll to the bottom of search results to find your search tools or look for Search Tools at the top of your search and select Add to Browse.

 

 

Hit Create New and give your new browse category a name.

 

 

After clicking Create Category, your browse category will be immediately added to your Browse page.

 

 

The lists will display in a tiled view with a preview of the book covers on that list. The background color will match your Theme settings.
Additionally, you may add custom cover images to the lists by clicking into each list, clicking Edit, and either uploading a list cover from your device or by image URL.

 

 

Creating a "List of Lists" By Selecting Lists Individually

Another way to create a list of lists is to navigate to an individual list in the Lists search results, or by navigating to the Your Lists section of the user account. Click the Add to List button. When prompted for the list name, either select an existing list or create a new list that will house all of your desired lists. In this example, we're calling the list Summer Reading Lists, and we'll add several different staff lists that align with the Summer Reading theme.

 

 

 

Once you've picked all the lists you'd like, navigate back to Your Lists in the user account, click on the "master" list (in this case, the list we titled "Summer Reading Lists"), click Edit, and then click Add to Browse

 

 

You now have a curated lists of lists!

 

Ways to Show Off New Items in Browse Categories

Using Publication Date to Show off New Items

Using an asterisk * in a the search bar can be a great tool for wildcard searches in Aspen. But did you know you can also use a * in Aspen's facets? If you need a little help to specify a range when you are searching try a * in the search.

When building a "New" item search or browse category, I like to use the * in the Publication Date facet. In this example. I'm looking for any items published from 2021 and beyond.

Using Add in the Last Date to Show off New Items

To show off titles recently added to your catalog, you can use the Added in the Last facet.

You might also want to try using a combination of Added in the Last and Publication Date.

Adjusting the Sort Order of New Browse Categories

The sort order is very important when spotlighting New items. By default, Aspen sorts by Best Match. For new browse categories, it is best to sort by either Publication Year Desc or Date Purchased Desc.

The order results show in the search results are the order the browse category titles will display left to right. As new items are added to the catalog your browse categories will automatically update.

First result in the search with Sort by Publication Year Desc

First title in the browse category

 

 

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Create a Rotating Browse Category Collection

This tip comes from a great idea we saw on one of our partner sites! The Owen Public Library, a part of Wisconsin Valley Library Service, has set up a "Spotlight Collection" browse category that has rotating subcategories. By setting this category as the first to show in their browse categories, users are frequently exposed to new options and collections to explore.

You can achieve this by creating a browse category 'bucket' like "Spotlight Collection" or "Favorites" and then adding subcategories to this 'bucket' browse category.

Then, set a start and end date for each subcategory, and they will automatically change throughout the year. You could create several dozen in one session, set them and forget them. Based on the dates you set, the subcategories will pop up and expire throughout the year. Think of all the possibilities! Holidays, timely topics, collections related to programs and events - the options are endless.

Customizing Browse Categories

Change Cover Image Style

To adjust the cover image layout of cover images, go to Aspen Administration > Themes & Layout > Themes > Cover Image Style.

You can select from:

  • Border/Picture Frame
  • Shadow/Floating

 

Border/Picture Frame

 

 

Shadow/Floating

 

Browse Category Size and Layout Options

Additional browse category customization options came out in the 22.07 release.

 

Browse Category Image Size

In Aspen Administration > Theme & Layout > Theme > click into the theme you want to modify > scroll down to Browse Categories, libraries now have the option to choose between Medium and Large cover options for their browse categories. To choose between the sizes, select Medium or Large from Browse Category Image Size.

 

 

Browse Category Image Layout

Right below the new size dropdown, you will see a new set of options called Browse Image Layout. From here, you can choose between Masonry and Grid.

The masonry layout is based on columns. Unlike other grid layouts, it doesn't have fixed-height rows. Basically, Masonry layout optimizes the use of space inside the page by reducing any unnecessary vertical gaps.

To better understand the new options, here are sample screenshots of the new combinations.

 

Medium Size - Grid Layout

 

 

Large Size - Grid Layout

 

 

Medium Size - Masonry Layout

 

 

Large Size - Masonry Layout

 

Set Default View to Grid View (Instead of Cover) for Browse Categories

Users have the option to switch their view between Covers (default) and Grid within a browse category by toggling between these two buttons:

 

 

Libraries can also choose to make their browse categories default to Grid view for all users. 

To make this adjustment, go to Aspen Administration > Local Catalog Enrichment > Browse Category Groups > click into your library setting > Default Viewing Mode > Show as Grid.

 

Browse Category Color Options

There are a number of different color options in Aspen Administration > Theme & Layout > Theme > click into the theme you want to modify > scroll down to Browse Categories.

From here, libraries can set colors for things such as the Browse Category Panel, the Browse Category Background and even the color for when a Browse Category is Selected or Deselected. Changes in Theme & Layout are applied instantly so you can test a variety of different combinations and also quickly revert back if you want to undo anything.

In Capitalize Browse Categories, you can choose from Default, Maintain Case, or Force Uppercase for the font sytle of the browse category.

Removing Cover Outlines with CSS

With just a little CSS you can customize just about all aspects in Aspen! You can apply custom CSS in your Aspen Administration > Theme > Additional CSS.

A short little snippet to remove the boxes around the covers is:
.browse-thumbnail {border:none;}

 

Medium Size - Masonry and Grid Layout: with CSS Applied and No Ratings

 

 

Large Size - Masonry Layout: with CSS Applied and No Ratings

 

 

Large Size - Grid Layout: with CSS Applied and No Ratings

 

 

Note: These examples are with ratings turned off. The cover images for browse categories will change if you turn off ratings. You can turn on/off ratings in Aspen Administration > Catalog/Grouped Works > Grouped Works Display Settings > Catalog Enrichment > Enable User Ratings.

Browse Category Description

In Aspen Administration > Local Catalog Enrichment > Browse Categories > click into a Browse Category, there is a Description field where staff can add any internal notes related to the browse category.  

 

Remove Rating Stars From Browse Categories

Go to Aspen Administration > Local Catalog Enrichment > Browse Category Groups.

From here, click into your library's setting, then under Ratings Mode, select "Do Not Show Rating Stars" in the dropdown menu. 

Stars will be removed from your Browse Categories page, but users will still be able to leave ratings (if enabled) while browsing the catalog and within their account.

 

Personalized Browse Categories

What are Personalized Browse Categories?

Aspen has three personalized browse categories that automatically update based on logged in user activity. These are only shown to the logged in user and not shown publicly like other browse categories.

Recommended for You

Enabling Recommended for You

Libraries in new implementations will have the Recommended for You browse category set up. If for some reason the Recommended for You browse category is not set up or you want to remove it, go to Aspen Administration > Local Catalog Enrichment > Browse Categories.

If you don't see it by searching for it, click Add New.

Fill in the following:

  1. Label - Recommended for You
  2. textId - system_recommended_for_you
  3. Share With - Everyone

Leave everything else as is and save.

Then, go to Aspen Administration > Local Catalog Enrichment > Browse Category Groups and add the  Recommended for You browse category.

Once this is set up, leave as is. Aspen will automatically show this browse category to users as soon as they have rated at least 5 titles. 

Your Lists

Enabling Your Lists

Libraries in new implementations will have the Your Lists browse category set up. If for some reason the Your Lists browse category is not set up or you want to remove it, go to Aspen Administration > Local Catalog Enrichment > Browse Categories.

If you don't see it by searching for it, click Add New.

Fill in the following:

  1. Label -  Your Lists
  2. textId - system_user_lists
  3. Share With - Everyone

Leave everything else as is and save.

Then, go to Aspen Administration > Local Catalog Enrichment > Browse Category Groups and add your Your Lists browse category.

Once this is set up, leave as is. Aspen will automatically show this browse category to users as soon as they start creating lists.

User Experience -  Your Lists

Once a user starts creating lists and adding titles to them, the personalized browse category will automatically populate and users will be able to see it when they are logged in.

The user's 4 lists with the most recent activity on them will show as sub browse categories under Your Lists.

User can use the xHide button if they don't want certain lists to show. If there are other lists to show, those will appear.

Users can see all of their lists in My Account > Your Lists.

 

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Your Saved Searches

Enabling Your Saved Searches

Libraries in new implementations will have the Your Saved Searches browse category set up. If for some reason the Your Saved Searches browse category is not set up or you want to remove it, go to Aspen Administration > Local Catalog Enrichment > Browse Categories.

If you don't see it by searching for it, click Add New.

Fill in the following:

  1. Label -  Your Saved Searches
  2. textId - system_saved_searches
  3. Share With - Everyone

Leave everything else as is and save.

Then, go to Aspen Administration > Local Catalog Enrichment > Browse Category Groups and add your Your Saved Searches browse category.

Once this is set up, leave as is. Aspen will automatically show this browse category to users as soon as they start saving searches.

User Experience - Your Saved Searches

Once a user starts saving a search, they will see a Your Saved Searches browse category when they log in. Saved searches will be shown as sub browse categories. Aspen will display the 5 most recent saved searches, depending on the length of the titles.

Users can view all their saved searches in My Account > Your Searches.

User Experience

What are Browse Categories based off of? Why is this title showing in a certain Browse Category?

To see what a Browse Category is based off of or see why a certain title is showing on a certain Browse Category, click on the hyperlink at the top of the titles next to magnifying glass.

This will take you into either the search or the list that the Browse Category was built from.

When I click on this browse category, it takes me into the search and I see these filters applied:

How can a patron hide a Browse Category from their view?

When a user is logged in, they can choose to hide browse categories if they don't match their tastes/interests.

Example: A user wants to hide browse categories promoting children's materials because they never check out those items.

Hide a Browse Category

To hide an entire browse category, click on the browse category box and click xHide.

Hide a Sub Browse Category

To hide an entire sub browse category(ies), click on the browse category box and click xHide.

Where Did They Go?

When a user has hidden browse categories and scrolls to the bottom of the page (near the footer), they will see a Show Hidden Browse Categories button.

When they click on that, they can see any Hidden browse categories and check the boxes next to those browse categories and click on Show these Browse Categories to pop them back onto the screen.

If the browse categories have been removed from the library (they were deleted or expired), they will no longer see them here as an option. 

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