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Peer-to-peer (P2P) systems are application-layer networks that let networked hosts share resources in a distributed environment. An important attribute of P2P networks is the ability to efficiently search the contents of other peers. In this article, the authors survey existing search techniques for information retrieval (IR) in P2P networks, including recent techniques that they propose. They also present a realistic experimental evaluation and comparison of these techniques, using a distributed middleware infrastructure they designed and implemented.