ERIC Number: ED411859
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996
Smart Systems, Smart Searches.
Brunelle, Bette S.
Almost overnight, the World Wide Web has made the solution of "classic" information retrieval problems a pressing commercial goal. The various information retrieval solutions being offered on the Web are quite familiar to the librarian. The various Web search sites make use of "traditional" inverted indexes, manual indexing, automatic indexing based on statistical models, relevance ranking, and document clustering. All of these statistical techniques have been used, usually along with a "traditional" Boolean Search engine, in various commercial information retrieval software products, and each has its strengths and drawbacks. This paper examines some of the strengths and weaknesses of the different search systems in terms of Web searching. The paper looks at the following search systems: Alta Vista, Yahoo!, InfoSeek, and Excite. All of the current Web search systems are hampered by the sheer size and diversity of the Web, which makes it difficult to add value to "documents" in the tradition of indexing and quality control, and also hampered by the Web's stateless nature which makes refining searches cumbersome and time-consuming. The search systems described have different strengths; depending on the search and the searcher, it might be better to opt for precision (Yahoo!); the large number of terms indexed (Alta Vista); the browsing serendipity of related documents (InfoSeek); or the all-around performance of clustering techniques (Excite). (Author/SWC)
Descriptors: Access to Information, Computer Software, Computer Software Evaluation, Evaluation Methods, Foreign Countries, Indexing, Information Retrieval, Information Seeking, Information Sources, Librarians, Relevance (Information Retrieval), Statistical Analysis, User Needs (Information), World Wide Web
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom