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Searching the 'Deep Web' - Is Infovell What We Need?

Posted Sep 22 2008 4:35pm

When health librarians and information retrieval experts begin to locate information in the deep web - where do they begin? This week, some health librarians were taking a good look at Infovell - whose byline is "stop surfing, dive into the deep web" ( seestory ).

Using Google and/or Google Scholar may be a good start for getting into the grey literature but what about getting at the unindexed reaches of the deep web?

Some librarians suggest that less than 0.2% of the web is 'indexed' and a lot of valuable information is never returned from traditional search tools. The question of what search tool to use in these instances is a perennial one for health librarians.

What would be optimum?

A search engine that would cull references from open-access repositories such as PubMed Central, and even patent and trademark information would be a good start. However, any meta-tool should also search across scholarly journal websites such SAGE, Oxford University Press, Taylor & Francis, Annual Reviews, Mary Ann Liebert Publications, and others - such as Open Medicine.

Is Infovell - called "the world's research engine" - the answer?? It apparently is able to pull together billions of pages currently unindexed by other search engines like Google and Yahoo - and it provides access to content in diverse areas in the life sciences, medicine, patents, industry news, and other reference content from expert sources.

In addition to just functioning as a search engine, Infovell will deliver news to your email, PDA, or other mobile device such as the iPhone.

The team from Infovell is showing off their search tool (see this video) and how they suggest to use it to to research medical conditions - a common search on Google but one that does not always bring success to consumers and patients. This is because Googling often returns results to popular sources of general information such as the Mayo Clinic, WebMD or online support groups - and that is sufficient for most users. However, to access evidence-based medical information, consumers will want to read through actual journal articles that doctors read.

More and more information is free

Not all information is free - and even though Infovell is trying to uncover more of what is free from the deep web, it is a subscription-based service. Because Infovell is offering to retrieve scholarly information and slapping on a price tag to access it - why would we be interested in it? I'd like to tell Infovell that I would like a 30-day free trial (advertised starting September 22nd) to see if it's worth the money.

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