The goals of this study are: to evaluate the merits of a newly developed health information retrieval system; to investigate users' search strategies when using the new search system; and to study the relationships between users' search strategies and their prior topic knowledge.
The paper developed a new health information retrieval system called MeshMed. A term browser and a tree browser are included in the new system in addition to the traditional search box. The term browser allows a user to search Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) terms using natural language. The tree browser presents a hierarchical tree structure of related MeSH terms. A user study with 30 participants was conducted to evaluate the benefits of MeshMed.
The paper found that MeshMed provides a user with more choices to select an appropriate searching component and form more effective search strategies. Based on the time a participant spent using different MeshMed components, the paper identified three different search styles: the traditional style, the novel style, and the balanced style, which falls in between. MeshMed was particularly helpful for users with low topic knowledge.
A new health information retrieval system (MeshMed) was designed and developed (and is currently available at http://184.108.40.206/meshmed). This is the first study to explore users' search strategies on such a system. The study results can inform the design of future clinical‐oriented health information retrieval systems.
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