Is See Also really useful?
It’s true that the See All feature doesn’t give special weight to titles or to bolded text. That might or might not increase the accuracy of the list of suggestions of similar documents. (Many people use cryptic document names as titles, which would probably reduce the accuracy, however.)
Nevertheless, I find See Also does make an extremely useful research assistant.
Example: I just used See Also while viewing an article on a gene-altered bacterium that resulted in new properties (in this case, creating an altered strain of e coli that smells like mint and banana). The See Also list included several very relevant references on synthetic biology. This in a database with more than 20,000 documents, many of which are very large PDF files. As I do use meaningful titles, a quick inspection lets me identify documents in the list that I might want to pursue. So DT Pro did a very good job.
Example: Here’s the See Also list for a recent paper titled “Global Loss of Biodiversity Harming Ocean Bounty”:
Impacts of Biodiversity Loss on Ocean Ecosystem Services – Worm et al. 314 (5800): 787 – Science
Status and Trends of Amphibian Declines and Extinctions Worldwide
PLoS Biology: Troubled Waters: The Future of Global Fisheries
Biodiversity Effects on Soil Processes Explained by Interspecific Functional Dissimilarity
Ecosystem-Based Fishery Management
My Way News - Overfishing May Harm Seafood Population
Ecology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ecology for a Crowded Planet
Biodiversity Research Still Grounded – Hendriks et al. 312 (5781): 1715 – Science
Ecological Linkages Between Aboveground and Belowground Biota
Environmental Politics Bibliography
OCEANOGRAPHY: Microbes, Molecules, and Marine Ecosystems
Effectiveness of the global protected area network in representing species diversity
Comparative Risk Resource Guide Third Edition, 1997
How Extinction Patterns Affect Ecosystems - Raffaelli 306 (5699): 1141
SUSTAINABILITY: Resolving Mismatches in U.S. Ocean Governance – Crowder et al. 313 (5787): 617 – Science
Surgeon General Secondhand Smoke.pdf
That’s the unedited list of See Also suggestions. I think it’s pretty darned good! The lowest ranked item, the Surgeon General’s report on secondhand smoke, is the least relevant – but contains information about lung cancer incidence in the fisheries industry and also relationships to ingestion of salted fish.
If I were a journalist writing an overview of potential fishery problems, every single one of the suggested contents (except the secondhand smoke document) would provide useful information to help understand and develop the topic. I looked at each article in the list; it’s really a great reading list on the topic.
Better search operators?
I agree with you, Peter. That’s why version 2 will have the same search operators and query formulation that are currently in DEVONagent and EasyFind. I’m especially looking forward to proximity operators, which will include NEAR/n, BEFORE/n and AFTER/n.
But I’ll note that with a bit of trickery one can already do searches such as combining an exact phrase AND x and NOT y. How? Do the PHRASE operator search first. Replicate the results to a target group created for that purpose. Then search that group for the term x and replicate the results to another target group. Now – you guessed it – search for term y and delete the search results. (That will be so much more straightforward in 2.0.)