Every Web search starts with two queries. One is X. The other one is “who knows X the best?” Because finding X is not enough if the author of that page does not know X himself/herself. This will immediately resonate with you if you ever searched for medical, legal, or financial information for a serious case.
This was called the “credibility” criteria in the old world-order which has progressively vanished in the new age of Internet search engines. You enter X, and get the same “popular” perspective without distinction of credibility. You may recognize some of the sources, but are you an expert yourself about these things?
Ironically, there is a science for this. It is the science of libraries and librarians. That’s their job. They know what is credible, trustworthy, and commercially-unbiased.
So how does Hakia leverage librarian expertise? They say it is by indexing “quality sources” which are “taken from the Medical Library Association recommendations.”
That’s a great idea of where to start, but anyone could accomplish the same by making a Google CSE like this one. The Google Health Co-op greatly surpasses Hakia’s effort here by including a greater number of recommended sites and greater value from having more authoritative recommenders than just the MLA.
Also interesting is that Hakia has created a little micro-portal for each of the following sites:
PubMed – http://pubmed.hakia.com
World Health Org – http://who.hakia.com
ClinicalTrials.Gov – http://clinicaltrials.hakia.com
Centers for Disease Control – http://cdc.hakia.com
The National Cancer Institute – http://nci.hakia.com
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute – http://nhlbi.hakia.com
Mayo Clinic – http://mayoclinic.hakia.com
familydoctor.org – http://familydoc.hakia.com
Healthfinder – http://healthfinder.hakia.com
HIV InSite – http://hivinsite.hakia.com
Kidshealth – http://kidshealth.hakia.com
Medem – http://medem.hakia.com
MEDLINEplus – http://medlineplus.hakia.com
NOAH – http://noah.hakia.com
American Cancer Society http://acs.hakia.com
Cancer Care, Inc. – http://cancercare.hakia.com
Oncolink – http://oncolink.hakia.com
Women’s Cancer Network – http://womenscancernet.hakia.com
American Diabetes Assc. – http://ada.hakia.com
diabetes123 – http://diabetes123.hakia.com
Children with Diabetes – http://childrenwithdiabetes.hakia.com
The Diabetes Monitor – http://diabetesmonitor.hakia.com
Joslin Diabetes Center – http://joslinharvard.hakia.com
National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases – http://niddk.hakia.com
American Heart Association – http://aha.hakia.com
Congenital Heart Information Network – http://tchin.hakia.com
March of Dimes – http://marchofdimes.hakia.com
These are also interesting, but superior results could be achieved using existing tools. Rather than searching Hakia’s portal for the American Heart Association for myocardial infarction, we could more easily search Google for myocardial infarction site:americanheart.org and make use of Google’s further refinements from there.