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Web search engines. Part 1

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1 Author(s)
Hawking, D. ; ICT Centre, CSIRO, Canberra, ACT

In this article, we go behind the scenes and explain how this data processing "miracle" is possible. We focus on whole-of-Web search but note that enterprise search tools and portal search interfaces use many of the same data structures and algorithms. Search engines cannot and should not index every page on the Web. After all, thanks to dynamic Web page generators such as automatic calendars, the number of pages is infinite. To provide a useful and cost-effective service, search engines must reject as much low-value automated content as possible. In addition, they can ignore huge volumes of Web-accessible data, such as ocean temperatures and astrophysical observations, without harm to search effectiveness. Finally, Web search engines have no access to restricted content, such as pages on corporate intranets. What follows is not an inside view of any particular commercial engine - whose precise details are jealously guarded secrets - but a characterization of the problems that whole-of-Web search services face and an explanation of the techniques available to solve these problems

Published in:

Computer  (Volume:39 ,  Issue: 6 )