CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

A Comparison of the User Interface Features of the Free Versions of MEDLINE on the Internet World Wide Web

Date of Award

2000

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Marlyn Kemper Littman

Committee Member

Getrude W. Abramson

Committee Member

Maxine S. Cohen

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to increase the understanding by librarians of searching the MEDLINE database, one of the world's most important databases for accessing scientific, technical. Medical. And health care information, within the context of searching the database on the Internet the Internet is a relatively new paradigm for delivering databases to users and most vendors or commercial databases have or are moving their applications to the Internet World Wide Web. MEDLlNE has been made available by several vendors free of charge via this medium, each of which offers a unique user interface to access the database. Seven free implementations of MEDLlNE were found. A comparison was made of these seven user interfaces including search capabilities and unique features. Results are presented in a matrix that allows direct graphic comparison.

Results of the comparison showed that there are significant differences between the users interfaces studied. It was concluded that primary differences exist in the search capabilities offered. The display of search results, help, documentation and training. And the additional information provided on the site. It was not possible to conclude that one user interface was better than another in terms of optimizing search results or ease of use. It is recommended that librarians run actual searches using these different interfaces to choose a preferred implementation once chosen. it is recommended that future searches be performed using the same version so that a thorough familiarity with interface features may be attained. It is then necessary for the user to remain current with vendor documentation. Additional study is needed to determine the effectiveness of information retrieval using each interface.

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