Comparison of Retrieval Performance of Eleven Online Indexes Containing Information Related to Quaternary Research, an Interdisciplinary Science

Lura E. Joseph


Interdisciplinary research offers increasing information challenges for researchers and scholars as well as for librarians. Quaternary research is an example of a highly interdisciplinary area incorporating research ranging from geochemistry and microbiology to planetary science. This study compares retrieval performance of eleven online indexes that can be used for Quaternary research, and discusses three others. Recall, precision, and overlap and uniqueness were analyzed using search results (12,896 records) from the eleven databases for the publication year 2000. A broad search strategy was used in order to recover most of the relevant information from the databases for the whole discipline for one publication year in order to avoid problems encountered when using sampling and example searches. Implications for interdisciplinary research in general are discussed, and federated searching is suggested.

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