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Infotrieve to Launch Life Science Research Center
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Posted On March 14, 2005
Infotrieve, Inc. (http://www.infotrieve.com), a company that has specialized in document delivery for information professionals in the STM (scientific, technical, and medical) markets, has announced the upcoming launch of a new Web-based "search and discovery" research environment for scientific researchers in biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and other life science-related industries. The new Life Science Research Center (LSRC), which is scheduled to launch on March 25, will let bench scientists and lab workers search the full text of diverse types of content (both core literature—like journals, book chapters, and patents—plus scientific content, such as gene data) and then discover common themes and relationships among the results.
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"Infotrieve's LSRC will have an immediate positive impact by simplifying the search process for pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and other life science-related researchers," said Wes Crews, Infotrieve president and CEO. "Scientists shared with us that they are overloaded with information and that information is in too many places, making the discovery process inefficient and time-consuming. The LSRC streamlines the search process, facilitating faster and more relevant results."

"The LSRC improves scientists' daily workflow by streamlining their ability to search, retrieve, and process the critical STM information that they need," added Jenny Connelly, Infotrieve's director of marketing and product management. "In addition, R&D management and information professionals can use the LSRC as an effective tool in supporting innovation and maximizing existing corporate investments in content."

Connelly said that Infotrieve held two focus groups with scientists. The first, held in March 2004, was designed to hear about the pain points in their research process, such as searching too many separate silos of information. At the second focus group in December 2004, the company showed the LSRC work-in-progress and validated that it fit into the scientists' work flow. A number of changes were suggested that will be incorporated into the product at launch. In addition, a bench scientist from a biotech firm worked for 9 months with Infotrieve as a chief advisor on the product.

At launch, the LSRC will have about 25 million records, of which about 15 million are journal articles from MEDLINE and other sources. The remaining content consists of about 5 million patents from Questel•Orbit databases from 2000 forward, including applications to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), European Patent Office (EP), WIPO Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), and Japan (JP); 1 million genes from Entrez Gene and OMIM (Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man), both from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), a division of the National Library of Medicine (NLM); 7,000 protocols (from lab suppliers plus publishers); and several other content types, including book chapters and conference proceedings. LSRC also will contain information on 890,000 laboratory products that come from Infotrieve's acquisition of LabVelocity, which maintains a database of products that scientists can purchase for their experiments. Current daily news is supplied by YellowBrix, and users will be able to read the full text of all news articles within LSRC.

Articles, books, and patents may be purchased on a pay-per-view basis through Infotrieve's document delivery service when an institution does not have a subscription. LSRC supports linking to full text through Infotrieve's LinkOuts product, and it is OpenURL-enabled and supports external link resolvers, such as SFX.

The integrated product is designed to break down database walls for scientists by allowing them to search across the diverse content. A search can retrieve an article, a patent, a reagent kit, and a gene—and then, with concept clusters and extracted entities, reveal the relationships among the results. Users can search by author, title, year, patent number, and company; they can narrow the search by life science categories and by entities such as organism, gene, disease, or anatomy. LSRC uses UMLS, the NLM's meta-thesaurus, to automatically find synonyms for search terms. LSRC also offers saved searches, alerts, and exporting to citation managers like EndNote.

Concept clustering to pull out common themes from the results records is done on the fly. Infotrieve uses a modified version of Clusterizer software for this. The entity extraction in LSRC uses technology modified from Inxight to access pre-indexed content and authority files. As Connelly explained: "LSRC isn't about more search results. Rather, it is about smarter search results."

Connelly said that, over the next few weeks, the company would be integrating other features to LSRC, including laboratory product procurement, collaboration tools, and electronic laboratory notebooks (ELNs). The latter application was acquired by Infotrieve in its recent purchase of GenSys Software, Inc., provider of the GenSys/ELN.

With the recent launches of Thomson Pharma (http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/nbreader.asp?ArticleID=16320) and Elsevier's Scopus (http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/nbreader.asp?ArticleID=16330), comparisons are to be expected (although it will not be that easy to do). Connelly feels that the products have different focuses. She said that LSRC is tailored for bench scientists and lab workers and focuses on early discovery objectives, while she felt that Thomson Pharma was a tool for executives and one focused on reporting. One difference she noted is that the gene information in Pharma is taken from patents while gene data in LSRC is from NCBI. Scopus covers all the sciences, not just life sciences, and was designed for libraries in consultation with librarians and researchers.

Pricing for LSRC is based on site license plus per-user license fees. Demos and trial licenses will be available. For an additional fee, Infotrieve's federated search solution, ArticleFinder eXtreme, will let users extend the LSRC's search capabilities into other data, including proprietary in-house documents, internal bioinformatics databases, and vertical and specialty databases.

Connelly said the LSRC is the first of Infotrieve's planned research centers. The company expects to add others in the physical sciences, including aerospace and high tech.


Paula J. Hane is a freelance writer and editor covering the library and information industries. She was formerly Information Today, Inc.’s news bureau chief and editor of NewsBreaks.


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