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.