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Doody’s New Literature Update Service for Libraries: Precision Search
Lorna Springston
Director of the Library at Ball Memorial Hospital
Muncie, Indiana

This spring, Doody Enterprises (DEI) is introducing a new service for libraries called Precision Search. It is a high-powered search engine that allows patrons to efficiently search the last three years of articles added to the Medline® database. Lorna Springston, Director of the Library at Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie, IN, part of the Indiana University Health network, has been the principal beta tester of Precision Search. The service is scheduled to go "live" this week at her institution after extensive testing. DEI interviewed Lorna to get her perspective on this new search service.

DEI:What is Precision Search?

Lorna: Precision Search is a new search tool for the Medline® database. Its hallmark features are its clean interface and its use of topics to deliver precise results with minimum effort on the user’s part. Precision Search is part of the MedInfoNow suite of literature update services for healthcare professionals and health sciences librarians.

DEI: What makes Precision Search so effective?

Lorna: Precision Search uses faceted searching to quickly narrow the context of a key word search. Specifically, when someone does a key word search and retrieves a list of articles, the topics associated with those articles appear to the right of the search results. These topics represent MeSH-specific searches. This innovation of linking topics to key word searches is unique to MedInfoNow.

DEI: Who is Precision Search for?

Lorna: Precision Search is primarily for the “unsophisticated” searcher, someone who wants recently published articles on a subject and doesn’t have the experience or time to conduct a complex search at PubMed.

DEI: How will Precision Search be used at your hospital?

Lorna: We will encourage everyone who is not a "power searcher" to begin their literature searches at Precision Search. If they don't get satisfactory results, we will tell them to bring their search requirements to one of the reference librarians who will help conduct the search at PubMed or at another appropriate journal article database.

DEI: Why do you need another search interface for Medline®?

Lorna: We didn’t need another search interface, and we weren't looking for one. But when we saw how powerful and simple Precision Search was, we envisioned that it would serve as an "entry-level" search engine, ideal for uncomplicated searches of the medical literature.

DEI: Precision Search is touted as both a search tool for patrons and a workflow tool for librarians. How does it improve the librarian's workflow?

Lorna: It will be a great aid to our workflow. It will relieve my staff of doing less complicated searches, allowing them to concentrate on activities with a higher impact for the whole community, like managing complicated knowledge networks, designing new web pages, and reaching out as liaisons to special groups within our medical center.

DEI: How does the user get access to Precision Search?

Lorna: We will place a link to Precision Search on our library web page that lists all the other databases and electronic resources we subscribe to or license. The user simply clicks on the link and the Precision Search tool pops up, entirely contained in a modal window. Once users have obtained the information they are seeking, they simply close the modal window and they are at the same web page on our site as they were when they started their Precision Search.

DEI: Can users access full text of articles they are viewing at Precision Search?

Lorna: We participate in the PubMed LinkOut program and Precision Search is entirely compatible with LinkOut. Precision Search is tied to our IP range, so anyone accessing Precision Search from campus or from our proxy server can link directly from an abstract in Precision Search to the full text of the article, as long as it is in our collection.

DEI: Are there other notable features of Precision Search?

Lorna: The other notable feature is personalization. Users are able to select topics that they want to be automatically updated on. Once they select their topics and complete a short registration form, they can receive weekly email alerts about articles just added to Medline® in those topics. They also can go to the Precision Search website and enter their personal user code and view the latest journal literature in any of their topics.

DEI: How time consuming is it to deploy Precision Search on your website?

Lorna: This is one of the truly liberating features of Precision Search. I'm the webmaster of the library website, and the application program, with just four lines of html, takes less than 15 minutes to deploy on any web page.

DEI: Will you have usage statistics?

Lorna: Doody Enterprises will provide usage statistics for Precision Search on a monthly basis, including the number of searches conducted, the number of abstracts viewed, the number of articles requested through LinkOut, and the number of personalization requests that users make.


For more information about Precision Search, including registering for a webinar that demonstrates this new tool, write

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