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Excellence in Evaluation: Early Landmarks at the National Library of Medicine

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Title: Excellence in Evaluation: Early Landmarks at the National Library of Medicine
Author(s): Rapp, Barbara A.
Subject(s): Lancaster, F. Wilfrid (Frederick Wilfrid), 1933-
Abstract: F. Wilfrid Lancaster has earned a reputation for greatness in the evaluation of information storage and retrieval systems. Many of his extensive contributions stem from his early experience with the National Library of Medicine (NLM) MEDLARS system. His evaluation of the MEDLARS Demand Search Service in 1966 and 1967 was an important landmark as one of the earliest evaluations of a computer-based retrieval system and as the first application of recall and precision measures in a large, operational database setting. In 1971, his evaluation of the MEDLARS AIM-TWX system was an important study of early online systems and their direct use by end users. This paper summarizes Lancaster’s two major evaluations of the MEDLARS system, including the information environment at the time and their impact in the field of information science. Examples of Lancaster’s other evaluation work with information retrieval systems are provided, followed by discussion of the textbooks that grew out of his evaluation experience and expertise. The article closes with comments from current and former NLM staff regarding Lancaster’s time at NLM or his influence on their own career.
Issue Date: 2008
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Citation Info: In Library Trends 56 (4) Winter 2008: 859-887
Genre: Article
Type: Text
Language: English
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/9497
ISSN: 0024-2594
Publication Status: published or submitted for publication
Rights Information: Copyright 2008 Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois
Date Available in IDEALS: 2009-01-22
 

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