February 03, 2007

Domain Specific Medical Search Engines: BioAsk & Health InnIndia

If you are a biologist or a medical doctor or a life science researcher, take a look at BioAsk (http://bioask.com), a search tool targeted at life science researchers. . The distinct feature of BioAsk, which mines data from PubMed (a common resource for life science researchers), provides several tools for generating efficient output, with relevant and focused links.

Rather than dishing out several web pages that contain the search string, BioAsk attempts to study the content and helps its user unearth different concepts/entities lying hidden in the various article abstracts.

When you search for a specific string, the service organises the result into clusters based on bio-entities such as protein/gene, disease, drug/chemical and so on. This helps the researcher easily narrow down the output to the area of his research concern.

For instance, if you wish to obtain information on certain aspect of `medicinal plants', say, `pests of medicinal plants', you can invoke a search on `medicinal plants' and then narrow down the output by selecting the relevant chemicals (pesticides) from the cluster `Drug/Chemical'. Besides providing a variety of tools to zoom on the relevant data, the service has some means (like `specialisation filter') to change the order of the output.

http://health.innindia.com provides a custom search engine, built using Google's core search technology, which prioritizes or restricts search results based on websites and pages that has been carefully scrutinized by an expert panel of medical professionals. InnINDIA uses its own panel of Medical Experts, who defines which sites to be indexed & how. The expert panel comprises of medical, bio-medical, pharmaceutical and bio-technology professionals...who would review/scrutinize all relevant sites, before adding those to the index list.

I tried out both, on first impression. BioAsk is slower but more organized. HealthInnIndia is faster powered by Google, has Ads and throws up lots of results like Google does you've to sift through. BioAsk is better for Researchers, HealthInnIndia throws up a lot more of the other sites.

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