Thursday, July 2, 2009

Web Searching, Search Engines and Information Retrieval

Lewandowski, Dirk. Web searching, search engines and information retrieval [Electronic version]. Information Services and Use, 18(3), 2005.

Abstract :

The web contains a vast collection of information and the convenient way to navigate it is by using the search engines. This article focuses on studies conducted on Web searching specifically on search engines as information retrieval tools. Factors such as web coverage and content, up-to-dateness of databases, the invisible web and spams are considered challenges to web indexing. It also provides a preview of how users search the web and the process of document ranking by search engines, and later made an overview on how to measure the quality of search engines.

Three(3) things i learned from reading the article :

1. It is interesting to know that that the indexible web contains at least 11.5 billion pages, not including the invisible web and the search engine market is an open market but only shared by a few companies and dominated by just one, Google.

2. According to studies, search engines does not follow an update cycle, thus making the information older aside from the fact that the web do not index a large volume of high quality data on the invisible web making it hard for user's to acquire a much reliable source of information. Free information is often outdated (Ex. Google Scholar)

3. The article looks into a broader view that web searching is still limited considering the large volume of indexed information on the web and that the quality of search engines does not only depend on the number of indexed materials but on the quality of documents it contains and the behaviour of user's towards it.

Upon reading the article, I would agree that authentic and high quality information is still hard to find. I just realized it when it took me so long to find an article that suites my reading assignment. I am quite disappointed after searching the entire Google engine looking for a current and reliable article about information retrieval but I found nothing or some are too technical for a Librarian. The vast search results (hits) made me sick until such time that I resorted to open access databases. The realization is the product of a hands-on experience and the RA played a great role. Search engines as information retrieval tools are fast and convenient but too much reliability would result to a shallow take on the needed information, with questionable authority and an outdated source of information. Although this take is quite pessimistic, I still believe that recent developments on this field would add to answer the more complex problem in information searching. As an information professional dealing with different queries, I would consider quality over the quantity of information.

The future is going digital and I think that search engines will play a vital role on the online digital library project of MEGA. Making it on the web would mean greater visibility and maximizing the company’s earning potential. It is the best way to reach the global market. It is probably the biggest contribution of the web to companies looking for promotion avenues. Going global however would question the accessibility of information, thus giving free information is still far from reality.


  1. This is what I mean by participative learning. You are at the center of all the learning activities in class. The best way to learn is to be involved in the learning process. I hope the RAs are helpful on this aspect. Cheers!

  2. You and your readers may appreciate some of the articles I've written about the Deep Web:

  3. I'll find time to check it. Thanks for the link