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Archive for the ‘Search’ Category

Most of us are familiar Google Scholar: a freely available subset of Google that indexes the world’s scholarly literature across a range of disciplines. With its database of over 389 million documents including articles, citations and patents, it has become an indispensable resource for scholars and researchers across the globe. Which is why we recently added Google Scholar integration to 2dSearch, thereby offering a tool of immediate utility to anyone wishing to search the world’s scientific literature in a systematic manner.

Now, we’d always known that despite its extensive index, searching GS is subject to the ‘secret sauce’ of Google’s search algorithms, and that this can compromise the ability of users to formulate sophisticated, reproducible searches. But what we perhaps didn’t realise was just how limited that support is. In particular, GS seems to support only 1 set of synonyms (i.e. a substring with terms separated by OR). For example, the following search string would seem to parse correctly:

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Last month I announced the line-up for Search Solutions 2018, to be held at BCS London on November 27. This year we’re also offering a Tutorial Programme, which will run the day before. The programme consists of three half day-tutorials:

  • 09:30-13:00 Designing Search (Dr. Tony Russell-Rose, 2dSearch)
  • 14:00-17:30 Text Analysis with GATE (Diana Maynard, University of Sheffield)
  • 14:00-17:30 Reproducible and Replicable Search for Research Methods in Systematic Reviews, (Farhad ShokranehUniversity of Nottingham)

I’ve appended further details of my tutorial below. Full details of pricing and registration are available on the Search Solutions website. Note that the closing date for bookings is Friday 23rd November 2018. Hope to see you there!

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If you were tasked with designing a universal framework for search query formulation, where would you start? Well, you could start from a command-line paradigm. After all, that’s the approach adopted by most query builders and ‘advanced search’ forms. But convention aside, is that really the best place to start? Personally, I am not convinced – IMHO command line approaches reflect the days when searches were conducted via remote terminals to subscription databases, and in that respect, they represent the past, not the future. Moreover, using Boolean strings to articulate complex information needs suffers from a number of fundamental shortcomings, in particular regarding scalability, efficiency and transparency. So what’s the alternative?

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A couple of days ago I published a piece on Medium called “Searching PubMed just got smarter“, in which I talked about how we’ve added PubMed integration to 2dSearch, thereby offering a tool of immediate utility to anyone wishing to search MEDLINE in a systematic manner. The service has only been live a week or two, but the post did seem to strike a chord with a number of people. And some of that commentary got me thinking about various issues around reproducibility (with regard both to scientific research and to searching methodologies). But it also raised an issue around transparency, and the degree to which the formalisms we use to express information needs can scale to accommodate new use cases and requirements.

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IRSG logoJust in case you missed it, here are details of the latest issue of Informer, which came out on this week. As usual, lots of good stuff, with a mix of conference reviews, feature articles, news and updates in the world of IR. For further details see the Informer website. Or if you fancy becoming a contributor, get in touch!

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Here’s a quick preview of the final programme for Search Solutions 2018. Don’t forget that the deadline for early bird registration is October 31st. Hope to see you there!

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irsgJust a quick reminder that nominations for the 2018 BCS Search Industry Awards close on November 1st. So if you’re thinking of applying, or nominating someone, now is the time to submit your application. Further details below. Hope to see you at the awards ceremony!

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