Clinical research company Quintiles has launched Clinical Research at http://www.clinicalresearch.com, a Web site that is intended at helping lay people find clinical research.
As a resource in itself, while no documentation/sourcing is provided, it seems to be searching ClinicalTrials.gov alone (not even mRCT!), so it’s probably not something you’re going to be adding to your armamentarium, as there’s no new information here.
However, it’s worth knowing about, not only for if / when it comes up in discussions with end users, but also because it’s another data point of a larger, and more important trend to us as corporate medical librarians & information professionals.
And that is – more and more sources of information are being opened up on the “back end”, whether directly via APIs or through URL strings that are friendly to query modifications (and tools like Pipes). What this means is that it is becoming easier and easier for people to create their own website (with their own branding, logo, etc.) that will do a “custom search” tailored to client needs (for example, Quintiles combined the ClinicalTrials.gov data with Google Maps to have a hybrid results/mapping screen).
Not only is it easy (with a little bit of tech know-how), but it’s largely free.
This can be both an opportunity and a threat, depending on how we react to this technology.
Corporate Librarians – If it’s easy for third parties to do this, can an outside consulting firm / CRO / contractor create these and drive traffic & attention away from your services? Or are you doing this yourself? (Are you well versed enough to be able to do this on your own?)
Independent Information Professionals – This certainly opens up a lot of very low-cost business opportunities to set up custom services for your clients. Are you taking advantage?
*Plug for the PHT Spring Meeting: Taking advantage of technologies such as these will be a focus for the PHT Spring Meeting, April 10-12, 2010 in Philadelphia*