Mednar.com is a free online medical research site that uses advanced search technology to return high quality results. The site uses federated search technology, which searches previously approved sources in real-time (they are not indexed results like Google or Yahoo). Search results are organized into a summary page, which gives a title and brief summary of each returned item in list form. The summary also cites the source for each entry in the list. Users can check a box next to each result and add it to their alerts, which will email the user if any of the sources add new information on the topic.
The searches on Mednar take a little longer to complete than a Google or Yahoo type search, because of the real-time nature of the searches. Results are usually returned in under 10 seconds. The site returns a certain number of sources at first, then continues searching other sources while the user is browsing the first results. After the second search is returned, users are asked if they want to include the extra results.
Users can easily email the search results by clicking on Email Results. There is a left-hand pane on the search results page which allows the user to filter the search results by Topic, Dates, Sources, Authors and Publications. There is also an advanced search feature which allows for the selection of Sources, Authors, Publications, and Date. The user can also choose to search on All of the words in a phrase of Any of the words in a phrase.Show more screenshots »
Mednar.com was launched in November 2008 by Deep Web Technologies. Deep Web is a search technology company founded by President and CEO Abe Lederman in 2002. Larry Donahue is COO of the company, and Brian Despain is Vice President of Professional Services. The site has thousands of unique visitors daily and has an Alexa page rank well under 1,000,000. The number of users is continuing to grow at a steady rate.
WebMD and MedScape are two of Mednar’s main competitors. The primary differences between these two search services and Mednar are that WebMD and MedScape do not manually approve every source and also do not use the federated search technology pioneered by Deep Web. This means that Mednar returns consistently higher quality results that are primarily aimed at researchers and professionals, but also useful for the average person.
The Mednar site has a nice overall look and feel, although the interface appears somewhat outdated. There is a convenient top menu bar for navigation, and the search bar is shown on every page on the site. Navigation is intuitive and the site is very responsive, with page loads happening almost immediately. The search results summaries are easy to use, with only the most pertinent information shown for each listing. Filtering the results is also easy to accomplish by clicking on links provided for topics, dates, etc.
Registration is required to use the Alerts feature or to Email Results. The registration process asks for username, email address, email format (HTML or Text), and password. Validation of the email address is required in order to use the Alerts feature.
Mednar is free to use. There is no premium membership available to individuals on the site, but the company does offer premium services to businesses, libraries and research organizations. This is done on a case-by-case basis.
Mednar is recommended to anyone who has a need for quality information on a medical subject. Only results from the most respected sources are returned, which is comforting, given the amount of erroneous information that can be found on the Internet when using a regular search engine or one of the other medical search engines. The ability to filter the results makes the site a very useful tool, as do the Alerts and Email Results features. Mednar is also recommended to libraries, medical professionals, universities and other organizations that wish to incorporate the Mednar capabilities into their own site or use it to search the services they are subscribed to.