VALISblog

Vast Active Library and Information Science blog. From a recent library science graduate in Wellington, New Zealand. A focus on reference and current awareness tools and issues, especially free, web-based resources.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Quick search roundup  
 
Google News comes out of beta, and adds a new feature - personalised search (automatically generated recommendations, based on stories you've read previously). (Official Google Blog).

Greg Linden has comments.

Healthline is a new medical search engine. It claims to "search the web's best health sites". It claims to "understand the words and phrases that both medical and non-medical people use; so, for example, if you search for "brittle bone disease", we know you're thinking about "Osteogenesis Imperfecta"." I can see both good and bad in this approach. While these two terms may have the same meaning, the information needs of a user who searched on the first term would be very different from those of a user who searched on the second.

More disappointingly, it contains links to sites that are misleading at best and dangerous at worst - for example the Scientologist propoganda site http://www.notodrugs-yestolife.com appears high in the rankings in a test search I ran.

In defence of Healthline, they offer a feature called 'trust mark', which appears beside search results that have been certified as being of a high quality. And the FAQ lists a contact address where you can suggest a site, or suggest that a site be removed from their database.

The Financial Times is (unsurprisingly) critical of Quaero, the new French/German search engine that will attempt to challenge the big American search engines. But with a budget of 300 million euros as against 1 billion dollars or so (for Google), does it have a chance?


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