Web Dragons

Web Dragons

Inside the Myths of Search Engine Technology

1st Edition - November 3, 2006

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  • Authors: Ian Witten, Marco Gori, Teresa Numerico
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080469096

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Web Dragons offers a perspective on the world of Web search and the effects of search engines and information availability on the present and future world. In the blink of an eye since the turn of the millennium, the lives of people who work with information have been utterly transformed. Everything we need to know is on the web. It's where we learn and play, shop and do business, keep up with old friends and meet new ones. Search engines make it possible for us to find the stuff we need to know. Search engines — web dragons — are the portals through which we access society's treasure trove of information. How do they stack up against librarians, the gatekeepers over centuries past? What role will libraries play in a world whose information is ruled by the web? How is the web organized? Who controls its contents, and how do they do it? How do search engines work? How can web visibility be exploited by those who want to sell us their wares? What's coming tomorrow, and can we influence it? As we witness the dawn of a new era, this book shows readers what it will look like and how it will change their world. Whoever you are: if you care about information, this book will open your eyes and make you blink.

Key Features

  • Presents a critical view of the idea of funneling information access through a small handful of gateways and the notion of a centralized index--and the problems that may cause
  • Provides promising approaches for addressing the problems, such as the personalization of web services
  • Presented by authorities in the field of digital libraries, web history, machine learning, and web and data mining
  • Find more information at the author's site: webdragons.net


Those interested in or who need information on today's fast-changing landscape of information access, who use search engines daily and may be affected by web spamming, selective access to information, or the problems of monopolistic control of information – just to name a few. Typical readers would be those in the software business, in particular in search engines, web content management, knowledge management, web advertising, and the law and ethics that surround this field; professionals in information science; librarians; and anyone that is interested in the ways in which the increasing amount of information will become accessible to us.

Table of Contents

  • Preface

    1. Setting the Scene
    According to the Philosophers
    Enter the Technologists
    The Information Revolution
    The World-Wide Web
    So What?
    Notes and Sources

    2. Literature and The Web
    Changing Face of Libraries
    So What?
    Notes and Sources

    3. Meet the Web
    Basic Concepts
    Web Pages: Documents and Beyond
    Metrology and Scaling
    Structure of the Web
    So What?
    Notes and Sources

    4. How to Search
    Searching Text
    Searching in a Web
    Developments in Web Search
    So What?
    Notes and Sources

    5. The Web Wars
    Preserving the Ecosystem
    Increasing Visibility: Tricks of the Trade
    Business, Ethics, and Spam
    The Anti-Spam War
    So What?
    Notes and Sources

    6. Who Controls Information?
    The Violence of the Archive
    Web Democracy
    Privacy and Censorship
    Copyright and the Public Domain
    The Business of Search
    So What?
    Notes and Sources

    7. The Dragons Evolve
    Private Subnetworks
    The User as Librarian
    Your Computer and the Web
    So What?
    Notes and Sources



Product details

  • No. of pages: 288
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Morgan Kaufmann 2006
  • Published: November 3, 2006
  • Imprint: Morgan Kaufmann
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080469096

About the Authors

Ian Witten

Ian H. Witten is a professor of computer science at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. He directs the New Zealand Digital Library research project. His research interests include information retrieval, machine learning, text compression, and programming by demonstration. He received an MA in Mathematics from Cambridge University, England; an MSc in Computer Science from the University of Calgary, Canada; and a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Essex University, England. He is a fellow of the ACM and of the Royal Society of New Zealand. He has published widely on digital libraries, machine learning, text compression, hypertext, speech synthesis and signal processing, and computer typography. He has written several books, the latest being Managing Gigabytes (1999) and Data Mining (2000), both from Morgan Kaufmann.

Affiliations and Expertise

Professor, Computer Science Department, University of Waikato, New Zealand

Marco Gori

Professor Gori's research interests are in the field of artificial intelligence, with emphasis on machine learning and game playing. He is a co-author of the book “Web Dragons: Inside the myths of search engines technologies,” Morgan Kauffman (Elsevier), 2007. He was the Chairman of the Italian Chapter of the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society, and the President of the Italian Association for Artificial Intelligence. He is in the list of top Italian scientists kept by VIAAcademy

(http://www.topitalianscientists.org/top_italian_scientists.aspx). Dr. Gori is a fellow of the IEEE, ECCAI, and IAPR.

Affiliations and Expertise

Department of Information Engineering and Mathematics, University of Siena, Italy

Teresa Numerico

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Salerno, Italy

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