An Evaluation of Concept Translation Through Menu Navigation in the MenUSE Intermediary System
The Menu Use (Menu-based User Search Engine) intermediary system was developed as a front-end for end-user searching of bibliographic databases as a follow-on to CANSEARCH. Although initial MenUSE development concentrated on improving access to MEDLlNE, the principles underpinning its design are generally applicable across all databases. The CANSEARCH interface, providing a hierarchy of linked menus of concepts and terms which enables the user to specify the subject of a search, is retained but redesigned. However, the initial domain dependent rule-base for search statement generation has been replaced by a simpler algorithm, searching all combinations of concepts and presenting the user with descriptions and postings for the resulting sets. This makes it easier and quicker to create MenUSE systems for different subject areas, in different databases. MeSH (Medical Subject Headings), a very well developed thesaurus with a high specificity, was used to automatically create the menus in the original prototypes which accessed MEDLlNE. This paper looks at applying MenUSE to access the Computer and Control Abstracts in the INSPEC database, a’n area where the vocabulary is not as well developed as in Medicine. A new prototype, with menus derived from the INSPEC Thesaurus, is described together with the findings of a preliminary experiment to evaluate how easily users are able to translate concepts through menu navigation.
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