New Developments in Search Engines, Copyright, and More. (News Break Update)

By Hane, Paula J. | Information Today, February 2003 | Go to article overview

New Developments in Search Engines, Copyright, and More. (News Break Update)


Hane, Paula J., Information Today


The main focus of our attention over the last month or so has definitely been the sad state of affairs at RoweCom/ divine and the ensuing panic among its library and publisher creditors. We monitored the listservs and press releases and also followed telephone and e-mail contacts to chase the developing situation as reported in several NewsBreaks on our Web site. The summary of what we knew at press time is reported on p. 1.

The ramifications of this will be huge--even if by some miracle all the subscription money is recovered and sent on to the publishers. The trust between librarians and subscription vendors has evaporated. After the RoweCom/divine debacle, many libraries are considering direct subscriptions, despite the hassles that might entail.

Search Engine News

This has been an unusually busy time for search engine news, including ongoing rumors about a possible Google IPO. In the January 2003 NewsLink, I covered Fast Search & Transfer's (FAST) enhancement of its AlltheWeb showcase site (http://www.infotoday.comfnewslink/newslink0301.htm).

One exciting development is the official launch of eBizSearch (http://www.ebizsearch.org), a new, specialized engine that Web search guru Gary Price has called a "must see." eBizSearch finds and indexes documents about e-business, e-commerce, and closely related topics. It crawls the Web sites of universities, commercial organizations, research institutes, and government departments to retrieve and catalog academic articles, working papers, consulting reports, magazine articles, and published statistical facts.

eBizSearch was developed by the eBusiness Research Center at Penn State's Smeal College of Business. "Focused and specialized search engines like eBizSearch will be some of the most important of future search technologies," said Lee Giles, associate director of research at the eBusiness Research Center.

Giles was one of the creators of CiteSeer (http://citeseer.nj.nec.com/cs), the popular computer science search engine that is now known as ResearchIndex. This autonomous citation-indexing tool uses machine learning and domain-specific algorithms. eBizSearch is based on the CiteSeer technology platform.

Rather than sifting through reams of potentially irrelevant information, eBizSearch focuses tightly on relevant data. This feature makes its results more productive for those who are interested in ebusiness. Users can search by document keywords as well as by citation. The citations' context is displayed so that a user can immediately discern the impact of the work. The search engine was also blazingly fast in my sample tests.

HotBot's Hot

Terra Lycos launched an entirely new version of HotBot that includes a new interface and customization features. With its addition of Google and Teoma--and its previously offered FAST and Inktomi--the engine now conveniently connects users to the four primary search catalogs on the Internet. HotBot allows users to type in a search term once and then choose a catalog. After reviewing the results, they can then retrieve any of the other catalogs' results with just one click.

HotBot's new features let searchers build a custom home page that contains the advanced search filters they designate, select how they want search results formatted and presented, and "skin HotBot" using cascading style sheets. The HotBot home page does not have any advertisements; contextual ads are presented on the results pages.

A Lycos representative said that specialty catalogs, such as Google's News Search, were deliberately not included at the new version's launch to keep HotBot clean and simple. However, some might be added in the future. HotBot does not provide a simultaneous metasearch capability, since this would remove control from the user. In his SearchDay newsletter, Chris Sherman said the "newly reinvigorated HotBot has regained its position as an essential tool for all serious Web searchers. …

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