As in many other applications, the rapid proliferation and unrestricted Web-based publishing of health-related content have made finding pertinent and useful healthcare information increasingly difficult. Although the development of healthcare information retrieval systems such as medical search engines and peer-reviewed medical Web directories has helped alleviate this information and cognitive overload problem, the effectiveness of these systems has been limited by low search precision, poor presentation of search results, and the required user search effort. To address these challenges, we have developed a domain-specific meta-search tool called Cancer Spider. By leveraging post-retrieval document clustering techniques, this system aids users in querying multiple medical data sources to gain an overview of the retrieved documents and locating answers of high quality to a wide spectrum of health questions. The system presents the retrieved documents to users in two different views: (1) Web pages organized by a list of key phrases, and (2) Web pages clustered into regions discussing different topics on a two-dimensional map (self-organizing map). In this paper, we present the major components of the Cancer Spider system and a user evaluation study designed to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of our approach. Initial results comparing Cancer Spider with NLM Gateway, a premium medical search site, have shown that they achieved comparable performances measured by precision, recall, and F-measure. Cancer Spider required less user searching time, fewer documents that need to be browsed, and less user effort.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Artificial Intelligence
- Human-Computer Interaction
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology