Archive for the ‘Website reviews’ Category


Assessing the NHS Evidence

In Website reviews on May 5, 2009 by africker Tagged: , , , ,

As previously reported on this blog – NHS Evidence has now gone live.  So what do people think so far?   Ben Toth likes itFade have put together a quick search guide.  Otherwise blog coverage tends to just be announcements that it has gone live with some idea of what you might find if you follow the link.

The giant blue eye will take some getting used to.  I await the blue coconut ring liquorice allsort promotional items with impatience.

Search itself is fast and, on early testing, provides good results.  Results for a search on a health management topic were excellent with an impressive selection of relevant fulltext source documents retrieved (With SCIE Online to the fore) .   The filters / navigators are a good idea but will need careful examination to be clear on how they work. 

Output options are currently limited but this is in line with the style of searching NHS Evidence is set up to support ie immediate satisfaction.  Worth noting is the fact that all search terms and settings are present in the URL returned post search and it is infact this that is shared if you try and email results.  

A good development would be inclusion of search terms in the page title element (a well known search engine does this).    This would constitute a simple visible history for searchers.

The links through to the rebadged Health Information Resources (AKA the National Library for Health) are a little clumsy in terms of the way they manage the Athens journey.  The link for Athens login, for example, places the user at the registration form with a small section of text for those already registered.  These flows will definitely be improved as the site develops.

A useful future development would be some background thesaurus mapping (similar to the complexity hidden by a simple search in PubMed).  This would be particularly useful if it could support disambiguation to prevent some of the pitfalls of keyword based searching. 

A promising start.


Spotify – throw your music collection away

In Web 2.0 & all that,Website reviews on April 19, 2009 by Alan Lovell Tagged: , , ,

How cool is Spotify?

Well, it’s cooler than me, that’s for sure, though of course that’s not saying too much. Still, it’s pretty darn cool, and I’m sure you already know all about it. In case you don’t, go there and click the Get Started button and before you know it you’ll be able to listen to just about any music album you can think of for free. It streams, very efficiently, though your browser and the interface looks like iTunes, so we’re all pretty familiar with it by now I would’ve thought. You get adverts, but only one every 30mins or an hour or so, and the adverts are short and generally more diverting than your usual radio adverts. Or you can pay £9.99 a month and get it all advert free. Who needs a music collection? I listened to Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me by The Cure yesterday for the first time for years, and I’m delighted to report that it still sounds just like heaven…

Update: apparently Spotify is only available at the moment as a beta in “Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Norway, Spain and Sweden. ” Don’t shoot the messenger.


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.


MelZoo search is not a MeToo.

In Web 2.0 & all that,Website reviews on January 13, 2009 by Alan Lovell Tagged: , , , , ,

MelZoo is a surprisingly usable (meta-)search engine that gives you a split screen result that allows the user to see full and easily readable, scrollable and clickable previews of pages before you actually click to go to them. It’s not the first search engine to try this approach of using previews, SearchMe and Exalead spring to mind, but it does it better and more quickly than others (though it appears not to ‘do’ PDFs). It’s a meta-search engine, with all that entails, so you don’t really know what’s going on behind the scenes (though do you ever?), you get fewer results, and you’ll likely get fewer interesting, unusual or ‘leftfield’ pages, but it’s quick and effective and, while not beautiful, is certainly worth investigating.


(your own) Tabbloid

In Uncategorized,Web 2.0 & all that,Website reviews on December 7, 2008 by Alan Lovell Tagged:

Got your RSS feeds clugging up your email or your reader? Got a long commute that’s wasted reading some trashy free newspaper telling you stuff you really don’t want to know about Brittney or Amy? Well, now you can create and print out your very own newspaper from your favourite RSS feeds; Tabbloid does the biz. How clever.

(Note that the service is provided by hp – the makers of print cartridges and printers. How clever.)


PubReMiner; a nice PubMed ‘added-value’ tool

In Website reviews on September 25, 2008 by Alan Lovell Tagged: , ,

PubReMiner is a nice little tool that will help you find MeSH and other terms quickly for a bunch of references in PubMed without clicking Display:MEDLINE all the time. So let’s say I’m about to do a search on dyspepsia and am looking to get some pointers on what synonymous terms I can use. Well, I can go to PubReMiner and put in, say “dyspepsia[ti] AND review[pt]”, and PubReMinder will go off and search PubMed and quickly and clearly come back with a breakdown of the resulting hits showing you the frequency of MeSH terms, the text terms, the most common authors, journals, countries and substances. The ‘authors’ list might be useful for finding commentators, experts etc., the ‘journals’ may tell you where you want to try and publish in the field or maybe which journals are useful to consider “table of content” searching, while of course text and MeSH terms will help you in planning any searches you might be considering. So, to come back to our search for dyspepsia, PubReMiner quickly points me in the direction of keywords such as “Helicobacter, gastroesophageal reflux, endoscopy, anti-ulcer agents, gastritis, peptic ulcer” etc. It’s nice. I like it. The best thing to do is just to try it out, though should you like to know more Laika has written a clear and longer review.


Search engines, environmental

In Website reviews on September 2, 2008 by Danielle Tagged: , , , , , , ,

I had a look at Blackle and it is quite easy on the eyes with its (apparently) energy-saving black background. I wonder if, with GooglePreview [a Mozilla add-on that inserts website previews into the search] these black-background search engines still save as much energy? They may need to finesse their algorithyms to take into consideration the often white backgrounds of these previews.

I think saving energy with the software we use and the websites we visit is an interesting idea that deserves more investigation. Especially since an older Google Blog posting suggests that they have tested Blackle and have not found it to save energy.

Thank you to AltSearchEngines for your posting on this.