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Data searching

More information about the United Kingdom will be available to researchers through libraries and other sources because of new technology implemented by Chadwyck-Healey, an electronic publisher of humanities and reference resources in Europe.

Chadwyck-Healey has selected an intelligent search solution from Excalibur Technologies for KnowUK, one of its flagship online publications. More than 700 public libraries in the United Kingdom subscribe to KnowUK, making the service available free of charge to a population of more than 10 million. Universities, schools, corporate libraries, cultural centers and other organizations also subscribe to KnowUK, which contains a database of more than 620,000 reference documents.

Explains John Taylor, VP of technology and development at Chadwyck-Healey, “The average person on the street will be able to sit at the library’s desktop PC and ask natural language-based questions like, ‘List all of the doctors in London who specialize in hereditary heart disease.’ People looking for this kind of information want it quickly, they want to know that it is comprehensive and, most importantly, that they don’t have to compile specially constructed terminology to get an answer to their question.”

In choosing the new system, Chadwyck-Healey wanted to provide easy and free public access to the resources of its Web-based reference service. Other criteria were natural language processing, scalability and multiple language support.

Excalibur also is providing search technology for the recently launched KnowEurope, an information service about the institutions, people, policies and processes of Europe.

Chadwyck-Healey assembles large amounts of information from disparate sources and molds them into coherent publications and services that are easier to use and offer more value to users. The company became part of Bell & Howell Information and Learning in 1999.

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