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Metasearch Technologies In Reference Work, Oai, And Search Navigation Assistance

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Federated Searching

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.909.1 - 9.909.9

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Paper Authors

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Mary Schlembach

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William Mischo

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session Number 2441

Metasearch Technologies in Reference Work, OAI, and Search Navigation Assistance

William H. Mischo, Mary C. Schlembach

Grainger Engineering Library Information Center University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Libraries and librarians will continue to develop and collaborate on access services that better address user information needs. It is important for libraries to focus on providing mechanisms to transform the many distributed digital collections into true “digital libraries” with the essential services that are required to make these digital libraries useful to and productive for users.1 To accomplish this, libraries will focus on providing enhanced gateway and navigation services to guide users through the present distributed, heterogeneous information environment. This distributed scholarly information environment is populated by: silos of full-text repositories maintained by commercial publishers, professional societies; open preprint servers; Abstracting and Indexing (A & I) Services and publisher search and discovery sites; local, regional, and national online catalogs; and publisher, vendor, and library vertical portals, institutional repository systems, and learning management systems. Navigation and database selection functions are extremely important in providing users with more effective and efficient retrieval assistance for these multiple, discrete information resources.2

One technique to provide enhanced access to multiple, distributed information resources is metasearching.3 Metasearch technologies provide simultaneous, asynchronous search capabilities over multiple information resources. Metasearch systems typically employ either broadcast or federated search methods. In a broadcast search, the user search arguments are sent, or “broadcast” asynchronously (all at the same time) to remote, distributed systems and the search results are collected and displayed to the user. In a federated search system, the heterogeneous remote information resources are typically imported or “harvested” (sometimes using Open Archives Initiative or OAI protocols) into a local, central site and the normalized results are placed into a homogeneous database system for search and discovery. The broadcast and federated approaches are not mutually exclusive. Some systems perform broadcast searching over a combination of distributed, heterogeneous systems and systems that are already federated.


Various metasearch system solutions have been developed by libraries, vendors, and information providers for simultaneous searching over online databases, A & I Services, Online Catalogs (OPACs), OAI federated systems, and other information resources.4,5,6,7 Libraries have

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright @2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Schlembach, M., & Mischo, W. (2004, June), Metasearch Technologies In Reference Work, Oai, And Search Navigation Assistance Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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