BACKGROUND: This paper examines how the adoption of a subject-specific library service has changed the way in which its users interact with a digital library. The LitMiner text-analysis application was developed to enable biologists to explore gene relationships in the published literature. The application features a suite of interfaces that enable users to search PubMed as well as local databases, to view document abstracts, to filter terms, to select gene name aliases, and to visualize the co-occurrences of genes in the literature. At each of these stages, LitMiner offers the functionality of a digital library. Documents that are accessible online are identified by an icon. Users can also order documents from their institution's library collection from within the application. In so doing, LitMiner aims to integrate digital library services into the research process of its users. METHODS: Case study RESULTS: This integration of digital library services into the research process of biologists results in increased access to the published literature. CONCLUSION: In order to make better use of their collections, digital libraries should customize their services to suit the research needs of their patrons.
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