Collaboration for Internet Rating, Certification,
Labeling and Evaluation of Health Information
15. Oct 2019



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MedCIRCLE - a collaboration of European health subject gateways or rating services - builds on, expands and continues work on rating health information on the Internet piloted within the MedCERTAIN project. Both projects - MedCIRCLE and MedCERTAIN - are complementary semantic web projects with the overall objective to develop and promote technologies able to guide consumers to trustworthy health information on the Internet, to establish a global web of trust for networked health information, and to empower consumers to "filter" or positively select high quality health information on the web.

Whilst tools and procedures allowing health information providers to apply for a transparency mark & trustmark have been developed within the MedCERTAIN project, the MedCIRCLE project expands the self description with metadata concept and third-party rating concept by actively involving existing subject gateways (portal sites/rating services) across Europe, stimulating the implementation of the meta-data vocabulary, demonstrating how interoperability and data exchange between heterogeneous subject gateways/rating services can be achieved, and how decentralised evaluations can be performed and harvested.

MedCIRCLE Project Partners

MedCIRCLE consists of a consortium of three European health portals in Spain, France, and Germany, which are already active in the field of rating/evaluating/accrediting health websites. Two of them are backed by respective professional medical associations, namely the German Medical Association and the Official Medical College of Barcelona.

Building a wider metadata collaboration

MedCIRCLE is hoped to form the nucleus for a wider international collaboration, intending to help people, patients and professionals to identify health information useful to them, e.g. by ensuring interoperability of rating services, identifying common standards for recommending websites and exploring possibilities for decentralised, distributed rating systems by creating a network of evaluators, taking into account the power of the Internet as a networked environment.

MedCIRCLE will further encourage other health gateways, portal sites and rating services to join the collaboration by implementing the metadata vocabulary "HIDDEL (Health Information Disclosure, Description and Evaluation Language)". It is hoped that MedCIRCLE provides a stimulus for other gateways and accreditation bodies to join the collaboration by implementing HIDDEL, thereby weaving a global, collaborative, open semantic web of trust for health information.

It is necessary to build a critical mass and implement the HIDDEL vocabulary on a broad basis on health subject gateways, as well as to continuously help information providers to use the vocabulary to self-describe their services, and educate consumers to understand the significance of metainformation.


The emphasis of the project is therefore on

  1. Implementation of HIDDEL on three existing rating services, providing HIDDEL compliant ratings for approximately 1000 Spanish, German, French, and English language health websites.

  2. Further development and refinement of the HIDDEL vocabulary.

  3. Working towards a formal standardisation of the HIDDEL vocabulary in collaboration with standardisation organisations and committees (TC251/CEN/ISO).

  4. Further development of aggregation procedures for ratings made by trusted organisations

  5. Educating and training subject gateways in the use of HIDDEL and encouraging them to implement metadata on their sites, and utilising their feedback to refine / expand the rating vocabulary.

  6. Educating and training health information providers as well as end-users on the use of HIDDEL.


We think that widespread implementation of the HIDDEL vocabulary will enhance trust among consumers into networked health resources, enable e-health providers to publish disclosure information in a standardized way, will assure interoperability of rating services and gateways, will enable the development of intelligent semantic web applications, and will promote an infrastructure which enables consumers to make informed decisions.


(Last update: 2002-07-03)