Judging Search Engines

David Brake - LSE MSc Coursework for IS470 - Information Systems


This literature review compares academic views of search engines from a variety of disciplines, progressively widening the breadth of issues considered to emphasise the importance of the wider social context of web searching. It surveys current concerns in each field and points out significant gaps in research, ranging from a lack of such basic information as the current amount of data available on the Internet to the lack of a significant corpus of political theory that covers the technical and social issues.

Length: 5000 words

If you would like a copy of the paper please contact me. It is available for publication and it is free to read and circulate for non-commercial use - I would like to know why it interests you and would welcome comments.


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Brin, S. and L. Page (1998) "The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine", Computer Networks and ISDN Systems, 30 (1), pp. 107-117(11).

Broder, A. and K. Bharat (1997) A Technique for Measuring the Relative Size and Overlap of Public Web Search Engines Last accessed: Dec 16  Last updated: Address: http://decweb.ethz.ch/WWW7/1937/com1937.htm.

Chu, H. and M. Rosenthal (1996) "Search Engines for the World Wide Web: A Comparative Study and Evaluation Methodology". in American Society for Information Science, Baltimore, MD, USA,Oct 19-24, pp. 127-135,

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Elkin-Koren, N. (2001) "Let the Crawlers Crawl: On Virtual Gatekeepers and the Right to Exclude Indexing", University of Dayton Law Review, 26 (Winter).

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Holscher, C. and G. Strube (2000) "Web Search Behavior of Internet Experts and Newbies", Computer Networks, 33 (1), pp. 337-346(10).

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Introna, L. D. and H. Nissenbaum (2000) "Shaping the Web: Why the Politics of Search Engines Matters", The Information Society, 16 (3), pp. 169-185(17).

Lawrence, S. and C. L. Giles (1998) "Searching the World Wide Web", Science, 280 (5360), pp. 98-100.

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Loosen, W. (2002) The Second-Level Digital Divide of the Web and Its Impact on Journalism First Monday Last accessed: Dec 18 2002  Last updated: August 2002 Address: http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue7_8/loosen/index.html.

Macrone, M. (2002) "Google’S Compromising Position". in Wired, 10.11).

MaKinster, J. G., R. A. Beghetto and J. A. Plucker (2002) "Why Cant I Find Newtons Third Law? Case Studies of Students Use of the Web as a Science Resource", Journal of Science Education and Technology, 11 (2), pp. 155-172(18).

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Olsen, S. (2002) Google Sued over Site Ranking CNet Last accessed: Dec 18, 2002  Last updated: Oct 22, 2002 Address: http://news.com.com/2100-1023-962913.html.

Oppenheim, C., A. Morris and C. McKnight (2000) "The Evaluation of Www Search Engines", Journal of Documentation, 56 (2), pp. 190-211.

PBS (1997) Life on the Internet: Timeline Last accessed: Dec 17, 2002  Last updated: 1997 Address: http://www.pbs.org/internet/timeline/index.html.

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Phua, V. (1998) "Towards a Set of Ethical Rules for Search Engines" London School of Economics London.

Searls, D. (2002) Bigger Bang Last accessed: Dec 18, 2002  Last updated: Dec 10, 2002 Address: http://doc.weblogs.com/2002/12/10.

Sullivan, D. (2000) Numbers, Numbers -- but What Do They Mean? Search Engine Watch Last accessed: Dec 18, 2002  Last updated: March 3, 2000 Address: http://www.searchenginewatch.com/sereport/00/03-numbers.html.

Zittrain, J. and B. Edelman (2002) Localized Google Search Result Exclusions Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard Law School Last accessed: Dec 4th  Last updated: October 26, 2002 Address: http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/filtering/google/.