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OSTI Launches SciTech Connect, Consolidates Information Bridge and Energy Citations Database

10 Apr

The Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) has launched SciTech Connect, a new portal to free, publicly available DOE research and development (R&D) results. SciTech Connect incorporates the contents of two of the most popular core DOE collections and employs an innovative semantic search tool enabling scientists, researchers and the scientifically- attentive public to retrieve more relevant information. OSTI plans to gradually phase out its current DOE Information Bridge and Energy Citations products and replace them with the improved search interface of SciTech Connect.

OSTI developed the new resource to help increase access to science, technology and engineering research information from DOE and its predecessor agencies. SciTech Connect represents one of the largest deployments of semantic search by a federal agency to date.

“OSTI historically has been a leader in pioneering the use of new technologies to make more DOE and federal science accessible to more people more conveniently than ever before,” said OSTI Director Walter Warnick. “Now, with SciTech Connect, we are expanding deployment of innovative semantic search technology to make DOE R&D results easier to retrieve and thereby better serve our dual core mission – getting DOE results out to the scientific community and beyond, and getting the community’s results into DOE.”

Consolidated in SciTech Connect, DOE Information Bridge and Energy Citations accounted for approximately half of the 298 million transactions OSTI handled in 2012. OSTI will work to ensure a smooth transition for patrons as it consolidates these two web-based services into SciTech Connect.

Product Scope

SciTech Connect contains all the full-text documents and citations previously found in Information Bridge and Energy Citations Database. Thus, SciTech Connect contains over sixty-five years of energy-related citations created and/or collected by OSTI. There are over 2.5 million citations, including citations to 1.4 million journal articles, 364,000 of which have digital object identifiers (DOIs) linking to full-text articles on publishers’ websites. SciTech Connect also has over 313,000 full-text DOE sponsored STI reports; most of these are post-1991, but close to 85,000 of the reports were published prior to 1990.

SciTech Connect includes technical reports, bibliographic citations, journal articles, conference papers, books, multimedia, and data information sponsored by DOE through a grant, contract, cooperative agreement, or similar type of funding mechanism from the 1940s to today. This collection continues to grow as new scientific and technical information resulting from DOE research becomes available.

The records for the early years represent a comprehensive worldwide collection of nuclear science literature. In addition to reports from the Atomic Energy Commission and other U.S. Government agencies, this collection includes numerous non-governmental publications, as well as foreign and foreign language material. In the mid-1970s, the scope of the database expanded to cover all forms of energy-related scientific and technical information.

Semantic Search

With the release of SciTech Connect, OSTI is expanding its deployment of semantic search, an innovative technology to radically improve the quality and relevance of search results across the majority of its DOE content. Semantic search is a way to enhance search accuracy contextually. Rather than relying on search algorithms that identify a specific query term, semantic search uses more complex contextual relationships among people, places and things. It is an especially effective search approach when a person truly is researching a topic (rather than trying to navigate to a particular destination).

SciTech Connect employs a semantic search technique known as keyword-to-concept mapping. It accepts keyword-based queries and returns concept-mapped queries as in a taxonomy; a search term is mapped to other associated terms, including narrower and related concepts.

In this way, semantic search enables the new SciTech Connect search engine to recognize and make use of the logical relations among concepts in different scientific documents, regardless of whether those documents use standard descriptors to express those concepts. As a consequence, even the casual user easily recognizes the superiority of semantic search results over traditional word/phrase search results in a side-by-side comparison.

SciTech Connect also includes a number of other features, including basic and advanced search; faceting; in-document search; word clouds; and personalization which allows users to save searches, define alerts based on saved searches and create and manage document libraries.

Transition Details

While SciTech Connect will eventually replace DOE Information Bridge and Energy Citations Database, the transition will be gradual and seamless. The transition period should be completed in July 2013. Because SciTech Connect provides improved access to all the information previously available via DOE Information Bridge and Energy Citations Database, OSTI recommends that users bookmark this new product and start using it as their primary access point to OSTI’s collection of DOE research and development results.

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