• William Hersh
Part of the Health Informatics book series (HI)

Chapters 3 and 4 discussed the content and organization of textual databases. Chapter 3 covered the different types of databases available, while Chap. 4 showed how they are indexed for optimal retrieval. This chapter, which explores the interaction of the information retrieval (IR) system with the user, the person whom it is intended to serve, covers the entire retrieval process, from search formulation to system interaction to document access and/or delivery.

The relationship between the IR system and its users has changed considerably over the years. In the 1960s, users of the only database available, MEDLINE, had to undergo formal training at the National Library of Medicine (NLM) before being allowed access. Searching was done by filling out a form that had to be mailed to the NLM, with a “turnaround” time of 2–3 weeks for the results to be mailed back. In the 1970s, NLM databases could be directly accessed by trained searchers over time-sharing networks, though those wanting...


MeSH Term Relevance Feedback Query Term Information Retrieval System Boolean Operator 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • William Hersh
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medical Informatics & Clinical EpidemiologyOregon Health & Science UniversityBICC PortlandUSA

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