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Thursday, February 09, 2006

There is no perfect search engine yet – Experts

Remmy Nweke in Malta

Speakers at the on-going international workshop on contemporary diplomacy and information and communications technology (ICT) in Malta, have declared that there is no perfect search engine yet for online enthusiasts.

Information Management Connoisseurs, Messrs Stefano Baldi and Ed Gelbstein, made the declaration that there is no perfect search engine on the web yet, even as they counselled diplomats on the use of weblogs, which is gradually gaining momentum globally.

Search engine is a computer’s software that compiles documents, most commonly those on the World Wide Web (WWW), and the contents of these documents, according to online encyclopaedia Encarta.

It works by way of responding to a user’s entry or query, then searching the lists and displaying a compilation of documents called web sites that match the search query.

Some search engines include the opening portion of the text of web pages in their lists, but others include only the titles or addresses also known as Universal Resource Locators (URLs) of web pages.

Additionally, some search engines occur separately from the www, indexing documents on a Local Area Network (LAN) or other system.

These experts who dealt on Information Management at the workshop, agreed that perfect web search engine is yet to emerge that would be satisfactory to all Internet enthusiasts, but the fact, remains, that better things are coming on their ways.

“There is nothing like the perfect web search engine,” said Mr. Baldi, stressing that using search engines means users should know which of them to choose from the several that exist today, which probably best serve their need.

Information for diplomats, he said, should be readily available when required so as to keep the diplomat well informed of what is happening around the world, especially through the Internet and concerning his or her constituency, even as the information must be accurate.

Time, he said, is part of the ideals that make knowledge finding and management successful.
For Mr. Gelbstein, cyber space comprises Internet and extranets, www, non-Internet Protocol (IP), and deep web, noting that the sea of knowledge and hostile tribes of hackers and online terrorists also exist.

According to him, over 70 million websites currently exist as at December 2005 while there are about nine billion pages on the web by mid-2005 with about 15 per cent of these web pages covered by the Google search engine.

“Now, nobody counts anymore how many pages there are, while estimate for the deep web is between 50 and 100 billion pages and web servers counts over 600 billion,” he said.

On top of these are the blogs, electronic mail (emails), chat rooms among other forums on the Internet.

Mr. Gelbstein equally said that accessing the visible web, that those outside the deep web, users especially diplomats in a contemporary society should identify what kind of search they need to make because there exist general search engines, specialised search engines, meta crawlers, portals and directories, as well as intelligent agents made up of Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary (RSS) among others.

“There are four types of search tools, namely search engine, directory, meta crawler and intelligent agent,” he said.

He advised participants to think out of the box if they are to get anything good when searching on the Internet.

“To get something best out of a search engine, you must think out of the box, that ‘s outside the literary formula,” he declared.

Mr. Gelbstein maintained that those looking for some information online should explore a wide range of sources to find out more about whatever topic they seek for by drilling down for more details.

On the burgeoning weblog, he warned that as long as individuals are free to operate blogs including diplomats, they should be cautious, citing a recent case of a Croatian diplomat who was recalled from the United States because of undue inputs he made into his weblog and was reported to the superiors by an Internet observer.

Diplomats must be able to distinguish between when to say certain things or make certain contributions, especially on the weblog, he advised.

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