One increasingly popular solution to the problem of information overload is the niche search engine, designed as a customized knowledge management tool to meet the needs of information seekers with similar interests. By limiting web crawling to a specific subject area, the niche engine is able to crawl deeper and more discreetly than commercial counterparts. This exploratory technology assessment study sought to examine differences in information search and retrieval patterns between commercial and niche search engines in areas of debated or uncertain healthcarer treatment. Findings suggest that while information found within the niche search is generally more trustworthy, niche searches leave out many reliable sources which are retrievable through commercial search engines. Also, consumer-friendly (non-technical) resources were found to be more prevalent using commercial search engines, suggesting greater relevance for the layperson within this domain.
- Information retrieval
- Technology assessment