Healthbase Australia - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Why is Healthbase Australia different to a Search Engine?
- How does Healthbase Australia obtain data about sites?
- How do I best use the search facility
- Why doesn't Healthbase find this/my site?
- Tell me more about "Metadata"
Why is Healthbase Australia different to a Search Engine?
Healthbase Australia is not just another search engine
and there are some fundamental differences you should know about if you
intend to use Healthbase extensively.
- Healthbase stores specific pieces of metadata about health-related
internet sites. It does not store information obtained from the content
of individual pages, which are often irrelevant, outdated or non-existent.
- The metadata stored, is at minimum, a description and a list
of keywords about the site.
- The metadata is stored in a relational database, which can be accessed
and updated readily by Healthbase Australia librarians.
- Healthbase excels in finding sites that contain quite a deal of information
about a subject, rather than a passing mention of a word. So used in conjunction
with traditional search engines, Healthbase provides a good first line
tool for finding internet sites about health-related topics.
- Healthbase Australia is focused on sites of relevance to Australia, but is
planning to extend Healthbase to be totally international - for instance,
Healthbase already stores the language that the site uses. This means that
you will be able to search Healthbase for sites that contain section
written in say, Spanish.
How does Healthbase Australia obtain data about sites?
Healthbase Australia does not trawl the internet looking for
sites and then extract as much information as possible. Instead, Healthbase
contacts sites which it has been informed contain health-related information.
Healthbase goes to the site and looks at the home page, or the main page of
a topic area and obtains any metadata which the authors have placed
in the HTML headers (<META> tags). The contents of relevant metadata
are placed into a cataloguing form which a trained operator edits manually if
necessary. Many sites do not contain metadata keywords. In this case, the
Healthbase librarian will examine the site, and determine an appropriate
set of keywords. This is obviously a labour intensive exercise for
Healthbase to undertake - it would be far better if sites ensured their
own metadata was accurate and up to date.
How do I best use the search facility
The search facility has been designed to be easy, yet powerful to use. There is
a text field where you enter one or more words you wish to search for. You can treat
two or more words as one by placing double quotes around them, e.g. "general practice".
This will only find sites where the keyword has specifically been entered as:
"general practice". Other ways to search for sites that deal with general practice
might be to enter general practice and select the "all" button. This will
find sites that deal with general practice but not those that have keyword
entries such as general practioners. To find the latter, enter something like:-
general practi. Healthbase will then find sites with keywords that start
with general practi if you have selected "all". In the case where you have
selected "any", then Healthbase will find all keywords matching general plus
all keywords starting with practi.
Try not to use plurals in searches. e.g. if you wanted to find all the Divisions of General
Practice in Australia, enter division general practice with the "all" words button
pressed, since no one division would likely have a keyword "divisions".
Why doesn't Healthbase find this/my site?
A Healthbase search can only find sites that it knows about. If you know of a site or
sites that you wish to be added to Healthbase Australia's database, then please use
this simple form to inform us about it/them!
Tell me more about "Metadata"
Metatdata is data about data. Metadata for internet sites and pages can be used to
store information such as the author of a page, or its creation date or date
of last modification, etc. A number of organisations around the world are working on standard
metadata schemas. The most popular of these is the Dublin Core.
The Australian Government has established a standard, based on the Dublin Core, and which has been
adopted (in principle) by all the Australian states. You can learn more about
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