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Proc AMIA Symp. 2002:954-8.

An assessment of the visibility of MeSH-indexed medical web catalogs through search engines.

Author information

STIM, DSI, Assistance Publique--Paris Hospitals & Département de Biomathématiques, Université Paris 6, Paris, France.


Manually indexed Internet health catalogs such as CliniWeb or CISMeF provide resources for retrieving high-quality health information. Users of these quality-controlled subject gateways are most often referred to them by general search engines such as Google, AltaVista, etc. This raises several questions, among which the following: what is the relative visibility of medical Internet catalogs through search engines? This study addresses this issue by measuring and comparing the visibility of six major, MeSH-indexed health catalogs through four different search engines (AltaVista, Google, Lycos, Northern Light) in two languages (English and French). Over half a million queries were sent to the search engines; for most of these search engines, according to our measures at the time the queries were sent, the most visible catalog for English MeSH terms was CliniWeb and the most visible one for French MeSH terms was CISMeF.

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