Information Today
Volume 18, Issue 7 July/August 2001
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Northern Light Teams with Search4Science, University of Pennsylvania

Northern Light Technology, Inc. has announced that it has teamed up with Oslo, Norway-based Search4Science to launch an enhanced online search service that's focused on the specific needs of scientists worldwide. Northern Light has also announced that it joined with the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) Library to create a portal for the university's 248,000 alumni.

Dynamic Search, Search4Science's patent-pending technology, now presents search results using Northern Light's patented classification technology. Dynamic Search encourages the user to add words to a query by presenting appropriate synonyms as well as relevant words or concepts for limiting the search. In addition, Dynamic Search learns from the behavior of users by continuously updating synonyms and encouraging searchers to use terminology contributed by others.

Northern Light further enhances the search experience by organizing search results into labeled folders, grouped by subject, type, source, region, and language. These Custom Search Folders guide the user to a set of focused results and, when a specific folder is opened, a new subset of the original search results is presented; it's limited only to the topic of the selected folder. With only a few mouse clicks, a user can drill down to targeted results.

According to the announcement, by combining the two technologies, the new Dynamic Search assists the user in building a better search initially and encourages more efficient access to targeted results from a large search set. Over the last few months, the initial scientific database of synonyms has grown from 50,000 to more than 235,000, all the result of user input during searching. According to the announcement,Search4Science expects that this evolutionary process will continue and that the quality of the user experience will continue to improve as users suggest relevant synonyms and limiting words.

Penn's Alumni Portal
Penn's Alumni & Friends Portal ( includes a link to content-rich Web sites organized by subject, as well as to thousands of e-journals and e-newspapers. "Penn's librarians regularly review new Web sites and electronic journals with the same careful approach that they take to acquiring new books and printed journals," said Paul Mosher, Penn's vice provost and director of libraries.

"A key element of the Friends & Alumni Portal is its link to millions of full-text articles," said Adam Corson-Finnerty, Penn Library's external affairs director. "That's where our partnership with Northern Light Technology comes in. They have negotiated arrangements to supply full-text information online for over 7,100 magazines, journals, and newspapers exactly when you want it. We could never have negotiated such contracts on our own. It would have been too staff-intensive and too expensive."

Source: Northern Light Technology, Inc., Cambridge, MA, 617/621-5194;

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