Monday, April 7, 2008

Hurray for Librarians

I like being a librarian, I especially like being one when I read stories like this - Health Database Blocked Searches on 'Abortion' - and see that librarians have improved information access for researchers using the database POPLINE, a database of reproductive health literature from around the world.

For reasons that remain somewhat unclear to me, though it looks like someone was scared, the medical database POPLINE made the decision to set 'abortion' as a stop word sometime in February. A stop word is a term, like 'the,' 'of,' or 'a' that a search engine can be asked to ignore in order (usually) to increase the efficiency of a database search. Librarians took notice of the situation when searching the database and finding that searches on abortion topics brought up few or no results. After finding out about the move to make 'abortion' a stop word, they rallied fellow librarians and the media, and POPLINE subsequently made the decision to reinstate 'abortion' as a search term.

And shouldn't all of this mean that now, more than ever, Grey's Anatomy needs a medical librarian?

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