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I just got back from an exhausting but very enjoyable 5 day trip to the Bay Area where, as usual, I crammed in as many activities and meetings as possible.
I started out visiting a couple of colleges with my college-bound daughter who is planning to major in Biology (I’m sure that she’ll also be taking some chemistry courses as well). Then I visited friends, customers and prospects in my old haunting grounds (I lived in Silicon Valley most of the 80’s and the early 90’s). On Monday night one of my most senior employees drove 3 hours from Paradise (a small lovely town with a very cool name in the foothills of the Sierras) to have dinner with me in Fisherman’s Wharf. We took a cable car (his first in 30 years) to get from downtown to the Wharf area.
Lest I forget to mention, I did manage to squeeze in an afternoon this past Tuesday (April 4, 2017) at the 253rd National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS). Let me digress for a minute. Speaking at the 253rd meeting of ACS got me curious as to when and where ACS held its first such meeting. So late Friday afternoon/evening I recruited Grace, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Librarian at Stanford University to help me answer this question. Although ACS was formed in 1874, the first of these twice a year meetings wasn’t held until August 6-7, 1890 in Newport, RI.
Back to my talk, I was invited to present the paper – Unique One Stop Access to a Multitude of Chemical Safety Resources to a workshop put on by CHAS (Chemical Health and Safety) Division of ACS. The paper summarized and demonstrated two gateways (a Stanford version and a publicly available version) that my company developed, working closely with Grace, that aggregate Chemical Safety information.
Please check out the public gateway at:
and do send me feedback through the blog on how we can improve the gateway.
Finally, as I have been reflecting on the work in Chemical Safety that we’ve done it’s become clear that what we’ve done is most of the way towards being a powerful resource to help accelerate Chemical Research in general.
I was pleasantly surprised and pleased when I woke up one recent morning to an email message from Nick Dimant, Managing Director of our partner PTFS Europe. My company and PTFS Europe were partners-in-crime in a unique (hopefully to be repeated many more times) collaboration at the University of the Arts, London (UAL).
Nick had sent me a copy of – An innovative approach to discovery (available here), a feature article in the June 2016 issue of Update, the monthly magazine of CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) by Karen Carden, Resources & Systems Manager, Library Services, UAL and by Jess Crilly, Associate Director, Content and Discovery, Library Services, UAL.
Carden and Crilly explain in their article in detail their justification and approach to implementing their Library Search solution which “brings together two separate products into (what looks like) a single interface for the user where they can search across our print and e-resources.”
Carden and Crilly discuss their selection of Explorit Everywhere! back in 2013 (which of course I love) in:
“After a great deal of research, discussion and testing we opted for an unusual – especially in the UK – next generation federated search tool. Like most libraries in the sector we had experienced first generation federated search, but found that this was quite a different experience.”
The authors describe UAL as a specialist university. What this means to me is that as a specialist university focused on the arts, a lot of the databases that UAL subscribes to are not mainstream databases and thus not included in the Discovery Services but easily federated by Explorit Everywhere!.
We give another example in Federating the Unfederatable of a specialist library, this time a defense/international policy focused university where Explorit Everywhere! provides the one-stop discovery of all the sources important to the library patrons, many not available through the Discovery Services.
If you’d like to read further on our Explorit Everywhere! solution at UAL check out these blog articles: Customer Corner – Paul Mellinger presentation, Promoting Explorit Everywhere! at UAL, and Faceted Navigation – UAL example.
I and some of my staff have had the pleasure to work closely with Grace Baysinger, Head Librarian and
Bibliographer of the Swain Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Library at Stanford University, to develop a unique research gateway focused on chemical safety.
My relationship with Grace goes back two decades when I developed SciSearch@LANL, a precursor to Web of Science for Los Alamos National Laboratory and Grace was our customer representative at Stanford.
More recently we have worked closely with Grace on development of xSearch (Stanford’s name for Explorit Everywhere!, our largest federated search implementation.
I have asked Grace to give us an overview of this important chemical safety resource that we have developed together.
While chemists are one of the most intensive users of information, many are unfamiliar with chemical safety resources they should consult before working in the lab. Chemists consulting materials safety data sheets or safety data sheets (MSDS/SDS) discover that they often have “NA” or not available for physical properties that they need for their lab work.
Grace’s goal in working with Deep Web Technologies was to develop a research gateway that provides access to a wide collection of information sources focused on chemical safety. This gateway uses federated search technology, the ability to search multiple sources at one time, which helps users find the information they need more effectively and efficiently. It is possible to view results visually, move to a particular resource in the search results, and to set up an alert to be notified when new information is published on a topic. Common search terms include chemical name, CAS Registry Number, and searching topics using keywords. If a resource contains InChI or SMILES values for a chemical substance, it may be used as a search term too.
Moving soon from prototype to production, the Stanford University version of the chem safety gateway will be a collaborative effort between the Stanford University Libraries and Stanford Environmental Health and Safety. This gateway has 60+ information sources that includes SDS/MSDS, safety data, syntheses and reactions databases, citation databases, full-text eBooks and eJournals, plus a number of Health & Environmental Safety (EH&S) websites. While the SDS/MSDS and safety data resources form the core of this collection, curated databases such as Organic Syntheses, Organic Reactions, Science of Synthesis, Merck Index, Reaxys, and the e-EROS (Encyclopedia of Reagents for Organic Synthesis) include protocols and safety information that is useful to bench chemists. eBooks and eJournals are full-text searchable, allowing researchers to find property and safety information in handbooks and methods and protocols in journal articles. EH&S websites from selected universities plus websites for the ACS Committee on Chemical Safety, ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety, and the U.S. Chemical Safety Board will help users discover information such as training materials, standard operating procedures, and lessons learned. Search results for a chemical name search also include the “Chemical Box” from Wikipedia in the right column.
At the ACS National Spring 2016 Meeting held in San Diego, Grace and colleagues from Stanford’s EH&S Unit gave a presentation on Using a chemical inventory system to optimize safe laboratory research in a Division of Chemical Health and Safety symposium. The first part of this presentation covers ChemTracker and the latter part (starting on slide 23) shows screen shots of the Stanford Chem Safety Gateway. Slide 24 has a list of the resources being searched in the Stanford gateway. For a current list of resources, please see Grace’s recent blog entry, Chemical safety resource gateway available.
Grace then helped the DWT team develop a public version of the Chem Safety Gateway that is available to test-drive at:
This public site searches a subset of the sources that are searched at the Stanford site as DWT is not able to search subscription sources through their public site.
Please test-drive the public version of the Explorit Everywhere! Chem Safety Gateway and give Abe feedback as to how useful it is to be able to search a broad set of chemical safety resources at the same time. Be sure to register (not required to search) to use the Alerts and MyLibrary features. Did you find that the gateway returned relevant results? What sources (subscription or public) would you add to make this gateway even better? Do you have any other suggestions for improving the gateway?
Please email your feedback to email@example.com
This past weekend I was writing an email message to one of our new customers. I was sending this customer, as promised,
some example uses of Search Builder, our Explorit Everywhere! tool that makes it easy to create custom search widgets that can be dropped on any web page.
I started my quest for Search Builder widgets by going to the library website of one of our favorite customers, the University of the Arts, London (UAL). UAL is one of our favorite customers, in part, because they do a lot to promote Explorit Everywhere! to their faculty and students across their 6 colleges.
I digress, but last December (2015) I had the pleasure to attend the User Conference for one of our partners, PTFS Europe, and at this conference Paul Mellinger, Discovery Manager at the UAL Library gave a wonderful presentation on their implementation of Explorit Everywhere! and followed that with a guest article on the Customer Corner section of our company blog.
Back to the task at hand, I went to UAL’s Library Subject Guides page and found that they have created 39 subject guides on subjects such as Beauty and Cosmetic Sciences, Graphic Design and Jewellery, subjects that parallel the way that they have organized the sources that we federate for them. If you go into many of these subject guides then click on the e-Resources tab you’ll see at the top left of the page an Articles Plus Search widget (this is what UAL calls Explorit Everywhere!). Each of the widgets on the various e-Resources pages searches a different, appropriate subset of all the sources that we federate for them.
Then to top it off, I came across the Articles Plus Help subject guide (which I had not seen before), a wonderful guide, nicely organized into tabs for Simple Search, Advanced Search, Search Results and Tools and Navigation. Also added recently to this subject guide is a 3 and a half minute video tutorial on Articles Plus. This is why we love UAL!!
Customer stories are the lifelines of Deep Web Technologies. We revel in hearing how an unassuming
researcher shortened their workday and redirected their energy toward other tasks. Or how a Nursing Instructor had allotted an hour for an article search and his task was complete in sixty seconds! The story below comes from our friend Anita Wilcox at the University College Cork Library.
I met a friend of mine in the library last week who I haven’t seen for ages! In the course of catching up on gossip she told me that she was studying for a Health & Safety course in UCC and had been looking for a case report relevant to her group project. She had gone through all the printed law reports and had searched all the major law databases individually, but couldn’t find the case! So I gave her a one minute quick tour of Explorit Everywhere! (we call it Searcher here). She didn’t know the name of the case or when it was heard/reported. I showed her how to do an Advanced Search limiting only to law specific databases and using keywords, and then limiting to topics on the results screen. I was in a hurry, so I left. Within a minute I got a text from her saying she found the case! Now, that’s what I call a miracle! A whole day’s search was resolved within minutes by searching through Explorit Everywhere!.
Read more from Anita in her blog post on Why a Federated Search.
Our customers are often surprised that they can limit to specific sources or categories of sources to know exactly what they are searching. Researchers have control over their searches, rather than searching “everything” and wading through ambiguously ranked results, weighted to a publisher’s content. Explorit Everywhere!, through a transparent interface and search of information puts our researchers into the driver’s seat. It’s a powerful tool, for power-researchers.
“WorldWideScience.org is the result of years of research and innovation. Although the underlying technology itself is exciting, published an article entitled, “Advancing Science by Overcoming Language Barriers.” The article discussed the rise of WorldWideScience.org and its role in bridging language barriers using Microsoft’s machine translation.
In late June, Deep Web Technologies updated WorldWideScience.org, just in time for the WorldWideScience Alliance meeting in Germany. Responsive design is now an integral part of the application making it much easier to add new features now and in the future. The spotlight enhancements include:
- Mobility: WorldWideScience.org is now mobile and can now be accessed from any device. When a user goes to the application on a mobile device, the interface will automatically adjust to their screen size, making it easier to search and view results.
- Localization: While WorldWideScience.org has been a multilingual application for years, allowing users to translate results into their language of choice, now, when a user chooses English, Spanish, French or Portuguese, WorldWideScience.org will automatically update the interface text to the selected language too.
There are a host of other small improvements to WorldWideScience.org. This upgrade is setting the stage for future enhancements such as MyLibrary, the ability to save results for future reference, and additional language localizations. Take a look from your smartphone or tablet and let us know what you think!
WorldWideScience.org isn’t the only application recently updated. Science.gov received a facelift recently as well.
African research is on the rise, doubling the amount of research in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)-based fields between 2003 Worldbank). While at this point, African researchers produce only 1 percent of the world’s research, the quality of that research is measurably improving. And that’s where the United Nations Economic Commision for Africa (UNECA) is stepping in to help. UNECA launched their Explorit Everywhere! federated search application this month, aiming to improve opportunities for scientific discovery in Africa as part of their ASKIA Initiative:
“The Access to Scientific and Socio-economic Information in Africa (ASKIA) Initiative is under the Public Information & Knowledge Management Division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. It defines a framework for bringing together scientific and socio-economic information for the African community, including scientists, researchers, academics, students, economists and, policy-makers, over an interactive online portal acting as a one-stop shop to such knowledge and associated information from/on Africa. The overall goal of the initiative is to strengthen knowledge discovery and access by tapping into global scientific and socio-economic knowledge on and from Africa.”
The launch of UNECA’s customized Explorit Everywhere! application offers users a rich digital search experience from any screen, and the ability to search and translate results into four different languages. The next-generation ASKIA portal, based on responsive design, offers an innovative multilingual search experience to African users.
With an estimated 120 million people in Africa speaking French, an additional six African countries speaking Portuguese and English as the dominant http://askia.uneca.org/askia/
If you’re a FEDLINK librarian, you probably know Science.gov. Perhaps you’re familiar with WorldWideScience.org, the E-Print Network or National Library of Energy. What you may not know is that the technology behind all of those searches is yours truly, Deep Web Technologies.
DWT just made it a whole lot easier for FEDLINK libraries to provide a single search box for their patrons to access their subscription databases. Through FEDLINK, federal libraries can purchase DWT’s next generation Explorit Everywhere! federated search at a reduced price, bringing top-notch, intuitive features directly to their users. With a focus on accessibility, ranking and speedy return of results, librarians can watch the queries roll in through our statistics module, or simply download metrics every month to show a successful ROI.
Ready to get started? Check out our page on the Federal Library & Information Network Contracting/Vendor Products & Services pages and read our Press Release here. We welcome your library to our “State of the Search”.
Happy customers? That’s our specialty. Here is one: the oldest circulating law library in New York City, the New York Law Institute
In April, NYLI deployed their new, customized federated search to consolidate their holdings into a single search. Members can take the law…erm…search into their own hands by logging in from the NYLI home page to search both print and online resources.
We wanted to create a Google-like experience for our members. We realize that time is of the essence in today’s firms and anything that we can do to facilitate fast and seamless access to our resources is always our goal”, said Ralph Monaco, Executive Director, NYLI.
It was a pleasure to collaborate with NYLI for their new federated search!