Top 10 Health Search Engines of 2008 & federated search

In How to work better, Web 2.0 & all that, Website reviews on February 25, 2009 by Alan Lovell Tagged: , , , , ,

I’m shamelessly stealing this from Danni’s Twitter update (see Danielle, I do read them!). I thought that it deserved a little pointer on the blog itself.

“The Top 10 Health Search Engines of 2008, by Hope Leman. It is the time of year for annual “the best…” lists, so here we go with The Top 10 Health Search Engines of 2008. This list is in order of preference of the author of this article.”

Danielle’s not very impressed with them, but then she’s a difficult girl to please. One thing that I find interesting is that a couple of them (Mednar [Biznar is their business federated search tool] and WorldWideScience) are federated search engines; if you’re into that sort of thing (the deep web – it’s all about form filling, don’t you know?). Health Sciences Online might be useful for looking for guidelines and similar material.


8 Responses to “Top 10 Health Search Engines of 2008 & federated search”

  1. At AltSearchEngines we would be glad to post Danielle’s Top Health Search Engines.

    Not to be cheeky, but knowing now what she doesn’t like, I wonder what she does like within this important vertical?

    Danielle? Give it a go?

    Charles Knight, editor

    Cc: Hope Leman

    # danni4info: is not that impressed with these health search engines: February 16, 2009

  2. Great blog. I have just subscribed to Danielle’s Twitter update. Not sure why you think you need to be “in to” federated searching to benefit from Mednar and Biznar. All you have to be to take full advantage of their power is in search of solid information from as many authoritative sources as possible and to want to be able to access such info quickly and with as little expenditure of time as possible.

    I would be interested to read what Danielle would propose as alternatives to them. They seem superb to me. Am I missing something?

    The concept of federated searching used to baffle me. Too abstruse, I thought. But Sol Lederman has blogged about it extensively and makes it clear that it is simply an efficient way to search many sources at once (and sources that are often not indexed by Google and co.) and avoid getting stale results such as Google et al often provide in bulk.

  3. I looked at the medical ones and not at Biznar, I should establish that, first off.

    My thinking was this: I am looking for something to make life and work easier. PubMed isn’t perfect, but I know how to use it. Ditto for Ovid Medline, Embase, etc. I realise there is an initial effort necessary to get used to a new search engine. I considered all of this in my 140 character Twitter summary of the search engines, and it was just my personal opinion.

    I don’t feel Mednar is transparent. I did a search for ‘autism’ and it brought up 199 results under the Pubmed category. The same search in PubMed, directly, brought up 13,444. Why?

    I haven’t spent hours with Mednar because the first 10 minutes didn’t pay off. My way is to search with many tabs open. The federated way is just another option. I am not discounting federated searching. I just don’t partake of it at present. Altsearchengines is a cool blog–you folks do a good job.

  4. BTW, Alan, don’t be silly–you’re not stealing. Inspiration comes to us in many formats! And you can quote me on that.

    Yes, I am a difficult broad to please.

  5. Hi Danielle,

    As the product manager for Mednar, I’d like to take a shot at your question of why there is a discrepancy in results. I just did a search for ‘autism’ on Mednar and with the same results- the ‘Source Status’ link showed me that Mednar returned 199 out of 13,452 on PubMed. So let me clarify- Mednar will pull back up to 200 of the most relevant results from a source. The ‘Source Status’ link can be an invaluable source discovery tool showing which sources are not responding, and which sources found results and how many. But Mednar is not meant to replace your search engines.

    There is one additional feature you may want to try: Alerts. If ‘autism’ is an ongoing search for you in PubMed, you can set up Alerts through Mednar to run daily, weekly or monthly for new information only on PubMed, or any other source/term. These alerts can be delivered to your email inbox or RSS feed.

    Also-Mednar is in for some improvements this year- do you have any suggestions?

    I love hearing feedback! Thanks again!


  6. Hi Darcy,

    Thank you for explaining the discrepancy in results and the 200 results maximum for a source.

    Where I currently work, we use the autoalerts in Ovid for Medline to bring us current studies on heart disease and nutrition. This has served us well and Medline content is similar to Pubmed.

    I will have another look at Mednar and let you know. One thing you wrote piqued my interest–if Mednar is not meant to replace my current search engines, what is the core purpose of Mednar? What is the advantage of taking the time, in addition to searching all I have to search, to search yet another source? I am just curious.



  7. Nice Post..

    I’m pretty sure the results differ every year, it matters with SEO the most..


    Hope my site will be included this

    Thanks and Best Wishes!

  8. RT@ LibrarianGMIT: New useful search engine that returns full PDF scientific articles not subject to access fees:

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