Federated Searching should enable users to easily discover and search multiple, disparate information resources, and to manage and further use results of searches for scholarly inquiry. It can help users discover a wide array of resources on their own, and help librarians encourage students and faculty to use the rich array of quality resources available to them. Users either do not know about the resources or avoid them because they are scattered among publishers and vendors, organized by traditional disciplines, accessible via many different access points, and searchable by inconsistent protocols. These barriers to access and use have led to a "Google it" mentality, no matter what the topic or purpose.
For the past three years, the Dartmouth College Library has been involved in the ARL Scholars Portal federated search development project with six other ARL libraries and Fretwell-Downing Inc. Dartmouth, along with three other participants, recently decided not to extend participation in this trial project. It is apparent from this work and our work with other federated searching projects that we should continue to explore federated searching options for our users. The marketplace for federated searching products is quite active and several new vendors have entered the market during the past few years. This seems the appropriate time for us to revisit this topic.
We've included a clarification of some terms for this charge, specifically the distinction between "cross searching" and "federated searching".
"Cross Searching" is becoming fairly common. We define cross searching to be a search on multiple databases, usually by one vendor, that are configured in a standard way. Some examples of cross searching are EbscoHost (Academic Search Premier, Business Source Premier, Regional Business News, MLA International Bibliography, Newspaper Source and Medline), and WilsonWeb (Applied Science Abstracts, Essay & General Lit, Library Lit & Info Science, Art Full Text, General Science Abstracts, Readers' Guide Abstracts, Art Retrospective, Humanities & Social Sci Retro, Readers' Guide Retro, Biography Index, Humanities Abstracts, Short Story Index, Biological & Agr Index Plus, Legal Periodicals & Books, Social Sciences Abstracts, and Book Review Digest Plus).
"Federated Searching", on the other hand is a fairly new technology. Federated searching is the ability to search across multiple and disparate database; these databases can be produced by multiple vendors and these databases can contain very different information from each other. A search on the Dartmouth Library Government Information Portal is a federated search since it is searching across disparate collections.
As these technologies mature, the boundaries between cross searching and federated searching are blurring. For example, the ISI Web of Knowledge platform is a combination of both, though the results of the cross search and the federated search are still distinct and not integrated.
The Federated Searching Exploration Group (Team FSX) is charged with exploring options for providing an easy means for our users to discover and search multiple, disparate resources, and manage the results of these searches. The group will consider current cross search systems already available to Dartmouth users, and how those might be part of a solution.
The final result of Team FSX's work will be a report including the following:
The group will report its findings to the Digital Library Group (DLG).
July 2005: Preliminary Report to DLG; status report and plan for proceeding.
Charge approved on May 11, 2005 by DLG.
Mary LaMarca, Co-chair, Digital Library Services
Reinhart Sonnenburg, Co-chair, Reference Bibliographer - German, Classics, Linguistics, Humanities
Barbara DeFelice, Head of Kresge Physical Sciences Library
Tom Mead, Informaton & Education Services Librarian, Biomedical Libraries
Mark Mounts, Business & Engineering Reference Librarian, Feldberg Library
Fran Oscadal, Reference Bibliographer - History, General Social Sciences
Mina Rakhra, Cataloging and Metadata Services Librarian
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Last Updated: 4/19/17