Search Engines

In a past lifetime (1985 – 1994) I worked for a succession of companies that provided online searchable databases, primarily indexes of scientific, medcal, and technical literature. In this pre-web world, professional librarians would use obscure search syntaxes to extract information from these databases on behalf of researchers in their companies or institutions. And they … Continue reading “Search Engines”

In a past lifetime (1985 – 1994) I worked for a succession of companies that provided online searchable databases, primarily indexes of scientific, medcal, and technical literature. In this pre-web world, professional librarians would use obscure search syntaxes to extract information from these databases on behalf of researchers in their companies or institutions. And they paid a lot of money for the privelege of doing so.

In that time I learned a lot about the workings of full-text search engines and databases, and it’s the same basic technology that powers today’s internet search powerhouses like Google and Yahoo.

Tim Bray is posting a really good series of articles in his ongoing weblog about how search engines work, some of the problems in the field, etc. I think it would make excellent reading for anyone interested in the topic, better (and easier to read) than any text I’ve seen to date. If I was teaching in the Information School again this year, I’d definitely assign it.

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