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National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care Technology (NICHSR)

Impact of the Internet
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The newly available resources on the Internet and its World Wide Web vastly increase the tools available to researchers.

The materials moved from library shelves [where they were covered by traditional library catalogs and supplemental cataloging efforts] to Internet sites and other electronic publications. Consequently, user's access has increased because of the new finding aids and tools included in the electronic versions of publications and associated materials.
  • Websites can be searched using search engines—such as Google—or online web-based tools
  • Reports can be searched using tools included in programs like Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat.
  • Some of these programs also offer an automated catalog feature that provides more extensive search capacity.

This material presents its own challenges. Notably, it offers automated indexing which may not account for the inherent structure of the material and may miss important contextual material making it hard to find some sources.

The response is to create new online catalogs. They are the analogs of library catalogs of books and other materials and provide added search capacities.
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