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Unlike the individual search engines and directories, meta-search engines do not have their own databases; they do not collect web pages; they do not accept URL additions; and they do not classify or review web sites. Instead, they send queries simultaneously to multiple Web search engines and/or Web directories. Many of the meta-search engines integrate search results: duplicate findings are merged into one entry; some rank the results according to various criteria; some allow selection of search engines to be searched.
"Information Retrieval (IR) is about the process of providing answers to client's information needs! It is thus concerned with the collection, representation, storage, organisation, accessing, manipulation and display, of the information items necessary to satisfying those needs. IR generally investigates automated, computer-based, solutions." (David Davenport)
Sometimes you can search that vastness of vastnesses, the World Wide Web, and find precisely the right site, precisely the right document or information. Other times, all you get is garbage. Using the proper search techniques and tools makes all the difference.
See this page for definition of these terms: Alta Vista, Archie, Excite, gopher, HotBot, index, Infoseek, Jughead, Lycos, Magellan, meta tag, Open Text, robot, search engine, spider, Veronica, WAIS, WebCrawler, Yahoo!
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