Text: Kaisa Järvelä

New Aila Search to be Launched in Spring

Aila Data Service will soon have a new, improved search interface. After the update, data search results can be filtered by, for example, the language of the data file, data type, data series and availability.

The FSD’s flagship, Aila, will serve users even better in the near future. Aila search will be updated and improved, and the front page of the data catalogue will have a visual overhaul. A new filtering tool will also be added to the catalogue, which allows users to narrow the list of study descriptions by data availability, data file language and data type.


Aila has been the flagship of the FSD since 2014.

–We want to offer users of the FSD’s services improved tools for finding suitable data, questions and variables, explains Information Services Manager Hannele Keckman-Koivuniemi.

The new search will benefit users from both Finland and abroad, because the search, like the whole Aila interface, will be available in Finnish and English.

Simple search, advanced search or expert search

The update will bring with it the possibility to search data, questions and variables by using three different search options.

Simple search, as the name suggests, will allow the user to simply write any search term in the search bar, similarly to searching on Google.

New features will be visible in the advanced search, where the user will be able to search by study title, author, keyword, data series, topic, or nations or time period covered by the study. Search results can also be refined by data type, language of the data file or availability (access conditions).

–I’m very satisfied with how searches can be narrowed in the new interface, Keckman-Koivuniemi says.

Performing advanced searches will be facilitated by an autocomplete feature, which suggests search terms to the users when they begin typing.

In addition to simple and advanced search, datasets can be found by using the expert search feature.

–Expert search allows using complex search queries, such as 'retrieve all datasets that are available according to access condition D and for which there are no special terms and conditions for access', says Software Developer Toni Sissala, who has the main responsibility for Aila search update.

Users can soon search for publications

In addition to data and variables, the user will also be able to search for publications related to research data.

–Thanks to the new publication search feature, publications related to data notified to the FSD as well as their authors can be found more easily than before, Keckman-Koivuniemi says.

A new browsing feature will also be introduced along with the updated interface. This allows the user to browse data series as well as the keywords, topics, authors and research instruments mentioned in study descriptions. Variables can be browsed by data series, topics and research instruments.

–If you browse studies by author, for example, you are be taken to a page that displays all authors and authoring organisations of data found in the FSD holdings as well as the the number of datasets deposited by each author or organisation, Sissala explains.

–When you click the name of an author, the advanced search page is opened, which lists all the datasets deposited by the author. This result list can be further refined, so the user can easily search for, for instance, all data by Anne Konu covering the years 2000-2010.

Search results to provide more information

The new search changes the way search results are displayed so the user will receive more information on their search results than before. The search results will display, among others, data authors, availability, type, time period covered, keywords, data series, and other languages in which the study description is available.

–To sum up, it can be said that all features of the updated search interface will serve our users even better in the future, Hannele Keckman-Koivuniemi concludes.

More information

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