Indexing and Abstracting on the World Wide Web: An Examination of Six Web Databases

By Nicholson, Scott | Information Technology and Libraries, June 1997 | Go to article overview

Indexing and Abstracting on the World Wide Web: An Examination of Six Web Databases


Nicholson, Scott, Information Technology and Libraries


Web databases, commonly known as search engines or Web directories, are currently the most useful way to search the Internet. In this article, the author draws from library literature to develop a series of questions that can be used to analyze these Web searching tools. Six popular Web databases are analyzed using this method. Using this analysis, the author creates three categories for Web databases and explores the most appropriate searches to perform with each. The work concludes with a proposal for the ideal Web database.

The Internet provides a link to many valuable information sources with no centralized database for organization and searching. Many individual Web databases and their attached search engines accessible through the World Wide Web compete to provide subject and keyword access to information available through the Internet. These databases are created by both humans and automated computer programs called "spiders" or "robots." As there is no standard (such as an AACR2R variant) for description of Web pages, each engine provides access in a unique way to a different database. This article will examine the methods used to collect information about the information resources, the indexing used, and the abstracting done as of February 25, 1997, in these six Web databases:

Lycos: http://www.lycos.com

Alta Vista: http://www.altavista. digital. com

Excite: http://www.excite.com

Open Text: http://index.opentext. net

Yahoo: http://www.yahoo.com

Magellan: http://www.mckinley. com

To evaluate these databases from the viewpoint of an indexer/abstracter, three aspects will be examined: collection methods, indexing, and abstracting. The following questions, selected from Auster (1986), Conhaim, (1996), Courtois, Baer, and Stark (1995), Katz (1992), Lancaster (1991), Venditto (1996), and Winship (1995), will be examined for each database:

Collection Methods

* How are sites selected (human/ automation)?

* What selection criteria are used? What types of Internet resources are analyzed?

* What is the scope of searching the Internet for sites?

* How long does it take a site to be included?

* How often are the entries updated?

* How large is the database and how fast is it growing?

Indexing

* Which parts of the site are indexed? Are these parts appropriate surrogates for the work?

* Is a controlled vocabulary used? Is it available to end-users?

* How is the keyword indexing accomplished?

* How can users search the indexed terms?

Abstracting

* What is included in a displayed citation?

* Can the user discern where the citation came from?

* How valuable is the displayed citation in assisting a user to predict usefulness?

* Are there descriptions, abstracts, or reviews presented for the site? How are they created?

Summary

* For what type of searching is this database suited?

* For what type of searcher is the search engine created?

* How could the database/search engine be improved?

* How can an author assist the database service in accurate indexing and abstracting?

Lycos

Lycos, the "Catalog of the Internet," is one of the oldest search engines on the Web. It was started at the Center for Machine Translation at Carnegie Mellon University in 1994 (Mauldin and Leavitt, 1994). Lycos is one of the most popular Web databases and was the first search engine available from the Netscape Net Search button (Notess, 1995). It currently shares that honor with Web Crawler, Excite, Yahoo, and Infoseek. Besides the Web database, Lycos provides access to a subject directory, the top 5 percent of the Web, and information on cities, stocks, individuals, and companies.

Collection Methods

Upon request by a user, Lycos sends out a spider that navigates the site, recording information in the database. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Indexing and Abstracting on the World Wide Web: An Examination of Six Web Databases
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.