Internet health information seekers and the Politics of search engine

October 30, 2006

Most of the Internet health informations seekers use search engines to find what they are looking for on the Web. See:

  • Diaz, J. Griffith, R. et al. (2002). Patients’ Use of the Internet for Medical Information. J GEN INTERN MED 17:180-185
  • INEbase (2006). Encuesta sobre Equipamiento y Uso de Tecnologías de la Información y Comunicación en los hogares. Instituto Nacional de Estadística. España
  • Rokade, A., Kapoor, S. Rao, V. Rokade, K.T.V. Reddy, B.N. Kumar. (2002). Has the internet overtaken other traditional sources of health information? Questionnaire survey of patients attending outpatient clinics. Clinical Otolaryngology. Volume 27, Issue 6, Page 526-528

So Internet search engines matter in Internet health information. We may pay attention to these tools.

Introna, L. & Nissenbaum, H. (2000). Shaping the Web: Why the Politics of Search Engine Matters. The Information Society. Vol. 16. nº 3. pp. 169-184 [draft]

Abstract: This article argues that search engines raise not merely technical issues but also political ones. Our study of search engines suggests that they systematically exclude (in some cases by design and in some, accidentally) certain sites and certain types of sites in favor of others, systematically giving prominence to some at the expense of others. We argue that such biases, which would lead to a narrowing of the Web’s functioning in society, run counter to the basic architecture of the Web as well as to the values and ideals that have fueled widespread support for its growth and development. We consider ways of addressing the politics of search engines, raising doubts whether, in particular, the market mechanism could serve as an acceptable corrective.

Keywords: Search Engines Bias Values In Design World Wide Web Digital Divide Information Access

Should we consider ways of addressing the politics of Health Information on the Net as far as Health market mechanism does not work acceptable?