Monday, February 06, 2006

Federated Searching: What's that all about?

If you've never heard of 'federated searching' then you're not alone! And that's not the only phrase that's used to describe this method of searching -- it can be referred to as: cross database searching, metasearching, broadcast searching.

Here's a simple explanation by way of a scenario:
You need to know what the experts are thinking about a current issue outside your area of expertise. You might have an inkling of where to search but not really. What you need is a tool that will guide your selection of appropriate resources based on your topic and then allow you to search across those selected multiple databases via a single search interface. Results should be presented either in chronological order, by database, or combined in a single merged list. Then you should be able to get right to the full-text of the article or book that you think is going to answer your question - right then and there.
What makes 'federated searching' different from using Google, Google Scholar or any web search engine is that instead of world wide web pages, you're searching across the resources of a University library - a myriad of unique, authoritative databases and resources from every discipline.

The Yale University Library is experimenting with just such a federated search tool and we'd appreciate any feedback you can give us.

Here's where you can try this out:
From the Yale University Library's Database and Article Searching page, click on Quick Start or Multi-Database Searching.

Please let me know what you think!


At 7:48 PM, Blogger Chris said...

Thanks for this. Very helpful to those in my library community who are, yes, just now, beginning to learn about the potential of federated searching to enhance search and retrieval. Chris, Vancouver, BC.


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