Deep Indexing: A New Approach to Searching Scholarly Literature*

From: “This Week’s News”, Library (May 29, 2008).

Close to 200 attendees took part in a May 20 Library Journal webcast Deep Indexing: A New Approach to Searching Scholarly Literature, sponsored by ProQuest. While a majority of those participating were from the United States, librarians and electronic resource coordinators from 17 other countries also joined in, making it the most “international” of webcasts so far in the LJ series. An archive of the webcast will be available for year from the Library Journal web site, and can be found here.

Carol Tenopir, editor of LJ’s Online Databases column, kicked off the panel by providing background on the research behind the development of “tables and graphs” indexing, now known as deep indexing. Her partner in research, Robert Sandusky from the Richard J. Daley Library, University of Illinois at Chicago, offered his insights on the relevancy of types of searching and indexing for various disciplines, particularly the sciences.

Two practitioners added real-life examples of the advantages to deep indexing as part of the discovery process. Emily Schmitt, a biology professor from Nova Southeastern University, cited the research work she requires of her upper level undergrads and how being able to get to graphs and tables is important to her students, and to their future success in the fields of medicine, science, and technology. The ability to get to enhanced content without making researchers change their habits has been key to the discovery of deep indexed content through CSA databases at the Colorado School of Mines Arthur Lakes Library, reported Lisa Dunn, head of reference. “They don’t want another database-they just want to get everything from the ones they use now,” Dunn stated.

Dunn also emphasized the need for patience, suggesting that at Mines, it can take six months or longer for faculty and students to adopt new data sources, even with the library’s marketing efforts. ProQuest’s Mark Hyer followed up with some nuts and bolts discussion on CSA Illustrata Natural Sciences, the company’s first deep indexed database, and predicted exponential growth in the amount of content that will be exposed due to deep indexing. The Q&A session, open to all attendees reflected a broad range of discussion, from digital object identifier registration to the use of metadata, and deep indexing of open access journals, PDFs, and web sites.
_____________________________________ * I have posted this item as an expression of my strong support of this and related initiatives. In this age of greater diversity of formats of information, including legal, I believe it is very important that law librarians become more involved not only in this type of research but also the implementation of programs and services growing out of these efforts. David Badertscher

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