[Air-l] Looking for good search-engine literature (Ben Peters)

Jay Hauben hauben at columbia.edu
Tue May 16 20:13:02 PDT 2006

Hi Ben,

I too am at Columbia.

If in your search you are interested in the history of the retrieval 
question and its possible future, you might find the article, 
Libraries of the Future 1945-1965 interesting reading. You can see it 


It looks at the visions of Vannevar Bush, John Kemeny and JCR 
Licklider asking the question, how can the whole corpus of knowledge 
be accessed returning the highest possible degree of relevancy. All 
three of the visions included considering how the human brain works. 
Licklider's answer in 1962 was the search had to be more semantic than 
syntactic. More recent work is cited especially that of Bruce Schatz, 

"Information Retrieval in Digital Libraries: Bringing Search to the 
Net". In: Science (Washington, DC). 275 (1997) 17. 327-334. Online at 

For me, the question of how to successfully search the whole corpus of 
knowledge is the most important question for digital library research.

Good luck with your research.

Take care.


> Date: Tue, 16 May 2006 00:24:01 -0600
> From: "Ben Peters" <bjpeters at gmail.com>
> Subject: [Air-l] Looking for good search-engine literature
> To: air-l at listserv.aoir.org
> Hi,
> I'm Ben Peters, a doctoral student at Columbia struggling with how to study
> search-engines. There's the problem of plenty: searching search-engines
> produces a library of material with no card catalog. There's the problem of
> self-reflection: studying search-engines through search-engines makes one
> pause to consider. Must one remove herself from the medium in order to study
> it (and other second-order issues)? But how else can one study a subject so
> young, except by using it to study itself? And there's the problem of
> posterity: search-engines seem to be evolving so quickly, with the web they
> index, that one struggles to step back from detailing a close search-engine
> genealogy to view the larger historical role search-engines may be having
> upon society. The species of search-engines is as important as their
> specifics manifestations.
> Plus I'm sure there's at least a billion other problems I haven't happened
> upon yet.
> Anyway, I've got a month to devote to this topic right now. Someone throw me
> an anchor, please: citations to institutions, people, books, articles,
> sites, or any related discussion would be hugely appreciated.
> Pleasantly perplexed,
> Ben

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