Online Information Retrieval Systems Trending From Evolutionary to Revolutionary Approach

Online Information Retrieval Systems Trending From Evolutionary to Revolutionary Approach

Zahid Ashraf Wani (University of Kashmir, India) and Huma Shafiq (University of Kashmir, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7659-4.ch024


Nowadays, we all rely on cyberspace for our information needs. We make use of different types of search tools. Some of them have specialization in a specific format or two, while few can crawl a good portion of the web irrespective of formats. Therefore, it is very imperative for information professionals to have thorough understandings of these tools. As such, the chapter is an endeavor to delve deep and highlight various trends in online information retrieval from primitive to modern ones. The chapter also made an effort to envisage the future requirements and expectation keeping in view the ever-increasing dependence on diverse species of information retrieval tools.
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Information has been available since the evolution of the world and is being applied every day. McCreadie and Rice (1999) summarize the concept of information that has been proposed over the years in various studies and explains information in four different ways. Firstly, as a representation of knowledge, studies are of the opinion that information is a representation of knowledge. Earlier when there was no concept of internet and digital media, the printed documents were assumed to be the primary representation of information. But with the advent of ICT, this view point has changed from print to the electronic media (Lievrouw, 1988). Secondly, as a data available in the environment, some of the researchers view information in broader paradigms which may include objects, sounds, smells, events, activities, artefacts, even any phenomenon of nature, etc. The data may not convey any message as such but can be informative if interpreted appropriately (Buckland, 1990; Taylor, 1991). Thirdly, as a part of communication process. Various researchers tend to believe that information is a part of communication process among individuals of the society. Social elements play vital role in processing and inferring the information which are not treated as physical or cognitive activities apart from the work of individuals but regular intrinsic activities which constitute the very nature of people while interacting in organizations (Atwood & Dervin, 1982; Solomon, 1997a; Solomon, 1997b; Solomon, 1997c). Lastly, as a resource or commodity. Some researchers stress upon information being a resource or a thing which can be generated, acquired, replicated, disseminated, employed, organised, traded, sold and exchanged. It is transmitted from a sender to receiver in the form of a message and is later interpreted at the receiving end (Arrow, 1979; Bates, 1988; Buckland, 1991; Hirschleifer & Riley, 1992). But all this makes sense to end user if this information is retrieved and received at right time with minimum of fuss and intricacies. That is where concept of information retrieval system comes to play its role, more so in cyberage when zillions of terabytes of information is generated every year.

Man by its intrinsic curiosity to gain new insights of himself and surroundings has always been on the path to search and sift whatever satisfies his intellectual quest. Every time he searches for some specific information, he draws strategy in mind to retrieve the desired information. Nowadays in order to retrieve the desired information one must have good knowhow of search mechanism. It all started at the fade end of the 20th century, with the invention of the World Wide Web that revolutionized the whole world and with this followed the exponential growth of information. Information seeking was already the basic nature of a man, and now two decades later, it has become a part and parcel of our day to day lives. The trend of information search via the traditional library environments has been entirely evolved over the years to a virtual space called Web, where all this information can exist. Web contains all sorts of digitized as well as born digital formats of information which are just a click away from the users. With each passing day, World Wide Web gained popularity, thus searching through the web, also referred to as the information retrieval on the web, has become an important research area.

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