Energy's OSTI expands R&D search engine

An Energy Department search engine for federally funded research and development efforts has expanded its scope to include four new agency databases, and now encompasses over a half-million summaries.

Energy's Office of Scientific and Technical Information runs this search service, called the Federal R&D Project Summaries, with assistance from the Government Printing Office. The search engine connects users to descriptions of federally funded research projects that are either now underway or have been recently completed.

'Our primary customers are [Energy] researchers, who need to be aware of what other agencies are doing in topics of their concern,' said Walter Warnick, director of the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

The site now taps databases from the Agriculture and Defense departments, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Small Business Administration.

The search engine already covered project summaries from Energy, the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

This is the third multidatabase search service managed by OSTI. The office also supports Science.gov (GCN story) and GrayLit, a search engine for four repositories of federal government project reports, from DOD, EPA, NASA and Energy.

Warnick called the technique of searching multiple databases at once 'metasearch,' and said that the agency is on the cutting edge of this technology.

'We think metasearch is a very powerful tool. It allows us to integrate disparate databases very cheaply and in a way that your searches are always as current as the underlying databases,' he said. He also noted that metasearches add very little computational overhead to the databases being probed.

The total cost for developing Federal R&D Project Summaries has thus far run under $10,000, Warnick said. To access these different databases, the site uses search technology developed by Deep Web Technologies LLC of Los Alamos, N.M.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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