Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Week 8 assignment: Mashups & API

I have been waiting 5 days to post this week's assignment because I wanted to review HubMed. It was not until today that I realized HubMed wouldn't work in Firefox and I had to review it with Internet Explorer, which I do not consider acceptable since multiple-browser functionality is key in the 21st century!

I entered my standard not-so-popular search query (Lofgren's Syndrome, something I personally do not recommend having although it's considered the most desirable form of sarcoidosis) side-by-side in HubMed and PubMed and was pleased to see 152 identical results retrieved in the same order. When I tried to resort my results my relevance (something I'm rather curious about, how is this determined?) I received the same dreaded 500 Internal Server Error I did each time I tried searching HubMed in Firefox, which was disappointing. I also wasn't so impressed with the options in HubMed as MyNCBI offers much of the same except for tagging and the proprietary Scopus information for Elsevier subscribers. Perhaps this was all the rage a few years ago but is no longer?

I do like the idea behind creating your own quasi-meta search engine with source information from websites of your choosing using Rollyo though. I would be curious to know more about what algorithms they use to display search results so I can understand their relevance ranking, but I'm also certain their competitors would love to know that as well! A simple search of 'privacy' is difficult to measure the full context of due to its many meanings (patron privacy? privacy policies on websites? outdoor privacy screens thanks to 'sponsored links' aka advertising mixed in with the regular results?) but if there were certain MeSH, jargon or other terms that weren't so ambiguous and commonly mentioned in a select variety of resources this could be a fun & useful way to look for them.

This concludes my assignments for the MLA CE! I will try to update regularly from here on out with various medlib issues, but at the moment I've completed my third day on my first job in my medical library career and it's quite a whirlwind of information. I am hopeful things will settle down later this month!