Finding Skin Disease Pictures on the Web

10 11 2009

eric_118_gray_biggerGuest author: Eric Rumsey (@ericrumsey on Twitter)
Librarian and Web Developer at University of Iowa
Creater and Keeper of Hardin MD

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When looking for skin disease pictures on the Web, the first step is to search for the specific disease terms of interest in Google Image Search. You will likely find something, but don’t assume that it comes close to being everything — Very likely it doesn’t! In my experience, it will have somewhere in the range of 10-30% of everything on the Web. In particular, it will not have images from what I consider to be the single most comprehensive, reliable site for skin disease pictures — DermNet.com, by  Alan N. Binnick & Thomas P. Habif, Dartmouth Medical School.

Though Dermnet.com is a large site, with high-quality pictures, it does not appear in Google Image Search, apparently because the tagging/metadata is so sparse. Indeed, the pictures on the site are virtually without any accompanying text. They are classed by disease, but not by any other characteristics, e.g. age, gender, or anatomical region.

A relatively small subset of the images in Dermnet.com are included in Hardin MD, where the tagging/metadata is more complete, making them easier to search. These images are included by special arrangement with people at Dermnet, who have given us permission to include them in Hardin MD.

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