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Finding Nutrition Information on the Web: Coverage vs. Authority

Susan G. Doran, Samuel de Ycaza, Caroline M. Eastman, and Bernard J. Jansen

Sparking Synergies: Bringing Research and Practice Together @ ASIST '05 (ASIS&T 2005)
Westin Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina, October 28 - November 2, 2005


The ability of different types of web sites to provide relevant information in response to queries in the area of nutrition is investigated here. Nutrition related queries from users of the Excite search engine were posed to a number of nutrition Web sites in order to assess whether or not topical matches were found. The queries were also submitted to four general-purpose search engines. Surrogate users were used to assess the actual relevance of topical matches. Matches were retrieved for about 36% of the queries on the nutrition sites; the range for different sites went from a low of 8.6% to a high of 68.6%. For the general search engines, matches were retrieved for about 92% of the queries. Almost all of the topical matches in both cases were judged relevant.

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