An unintended consequence of specialization in science is poor communication across specialties. Information developed in one area of research may be of value in another without anyone becoming aware of the fact. We describe and evaluate interactive software and database search strategies that facilitate the discovery of previously unknown cross-specialty information of scientific interest. The user begins by searching MEDLINE for article titles that identify a problem or topic of interest. From downloaded titles the software constructs input for additional database searches and produces a series of heuristic aids that help the user select a second set of articles complementary to the first set and from a different area of research. The two sets are complementary if together they can reveal new useful information that cannot be inferred from either set alone. The software output further helps the user identify the new information and derive from it a novel testable hypothesis. We report several successful tests and applications of the system.

full paper