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Search engines vs Directories

Posted by plosmedicine on 30 Mar 2009 at 23:47 GMT

Author: Steve Schlein
Position: retired (lawyer)
Institution: none
Additional Authors: none
Submitted Date: October 22, 2005
Published Date: October 27, 2005
This comment was originally posted as a “Reader Response” on the publication date indicated above. All Reader Responses are now available as comments.

In response to Dr. Al-Ubaydli's article, "Using Search Engines to Find Online Medication Information, " PLOS Medicine Volume 2, Issue 9, September 2005:

I am not a doctor, but I just finished reading your article, "Using Search Engines to Find Online Medical Information."

There is a feature of Google - its Directory - which was not mentioned in the article. Unlike a search engine, the Directory only features web sites which are selected by people. The websites are arranged into subject categories.

The idea of a directory, as I understand it, is to offer the best websites with comprehensive information on a particular subject. (Google seems more serious about this than Yahoo, another directory which people often confuse with a search engine.)

Google's search engine does a fantastic job of finding specific information, but its Directory might be a good place to start if someone is looking for comprehensive web sites on breast cancer, for example.

Steve Schlein

Competing interests declared: None