Searching the Web: General and scientific information access

Steve Lawrence, C. Lee Giles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


The World Wide Web has revolutionized the way people access information, and has opened up new possibilities in areas such as digital libraries, general and scientific information dissemination and retrieval, education, commerce, entertainment, government, and health care. There are many avenues for improvement of the Web; for example, in the areas of locating and organizing information. Current techniques for access to both general and scientific information on the Web provide much room for improvement; search engines do not provide comprehensive indices of the Web and have difficulty in accurately ranking the relevance of results. Scientific information on the Web is very disorganized. We discuss the effectiveness of Web search engines, including results showing that the major Web search engines cover only a fraction of the "publicly indexable Web." Current research into improved searching of the Web is discussed, including new techniques for ranking the relevance of results, and new techniques in metasearch that can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Web search. The creation of digital libraries incorporating autonomous citation indexing is discussed for improved access to scientific information on the Web.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-122
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Communications Magazine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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