Document Type




Embargo Period



search engines, optimization, indexing, abstracting




Library and Information Science


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 - Alta Vista - Excite - Open Text - Yahoo - Magellan - To evaluate these databases from the viewpoint of an indexer/abstracter, three aspects will be examined - collection methods, indexing, and abstracting.

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