Testing a Cancer Meta Spider

Hsinchun Chen, Haiyan Fan, Michael Chau, Daniel Zeng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)755-776
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Human Computer Studies
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Education
  • General Engineering
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Hardware and Architecture


Dive into the research topics of 'Testing a Cancer Meta Spider'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this