Flawed AltaVista Internet Search Engine
Thu, 27 Mar 1997 21:54:39 +1000
Roger (et al)'s piece on AltaVista hit me at the right time.
I've just been searching for specific stuff for a couple of days. Most of
these are cell-phone/health research papers.
One thing that I've noticed now a couple of times, is that I will find a
research paper listed under the first author's name, but when I look for
the second (joint) author's name, AltaVista often doesn't turn it up. Yet
I know that it must have indexed that page, since if found reference for
the first author.
In other words, it seems to skip important material sometimes, and I can't
see why, or find any pattern to it (except, so far, the names missed have
all been central European???). Maybe its prejudiced -- or trained by an
For instance, I've found a research paper which was co-authored by Aaron
Wildausky - and I've checked the spelling -- yet I can't find this paper
with a primary search. This isn't the only example.
Also, while AltaVista seems to be the best all-round engine for what I am
doing, in some areas, Excite is turning up more than twice the references.
In other areas, AltaVista is clearly the best.
And I'm talking here about material that has been around for a year or three.
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