The April 26, 1997, week-end issue of Slate contains an article by Bill Barnes in his Webhead column, "Search Me," on the inadequacy of access to "the vast resources" of the Web as compared to any library. He examines the various search engines available, and details how unsatisfactory they are. He didn't really propose a solution to the problem, but his conclusion included the following:
"If the producers of every site cataloged it themselves, then Yahoo! wouldn't have a hard time keeping up with them. Of course, everyone would have to agree on standard ways to do this, and if everyone agreed, for-profit search sites like Yahoo! probably wouldn't be necessary."
A lot of people have discussed this problem, but no one that I have discovered has proposed a simple, comprehensive, workable solution as yet. I posted to Slates's "The Fray" an outline of the following possible overall structure that might meet the problem. It is presented in more detail here in hopes that other people might have some input, and we can collectively arrive at a mechanism for providing better access to the WWW.
Eyler Robert Coates, Sr., Editor
The Initial Posting
These exchanges have been taking place under the subject, "Cataloging the Web," on the Listserv/Newsgroup, bit.listserv.autocat (AUTOCAT: Library Cataloging and Authorities Discussion Group) since April 27, 1997. They are presented here in their entirety in a compilation with a minimum of editing to the text itself. Duplications, signatures, and other extraneous and irrelevant materials have been removed. Details on the sources, authors, etc., are available at the Newsgroup sites. The text of the discussions is presented here in a subject-related order, rather than in the sequence in which it occurred on the Newsgroup.
Please note that Mr. Coates, who originated this thread, wishes to have a comprehensive compilation, with slight editing, of the discussion, to be available on his web site. If you participate in the discussion and have no objection to this you need say nothing. If you DO object, please participate if you wish but CLEARLY state in EACH item you send on this topic that your material is NOT to be included in his compilation. He may assume tacit consent if you do not explicitly deny it. Mr. Coates assures us this is strictly nonprofit. Your tacit consent for him to include your material on his website does not constitute consent for any other use. If you wish to know what he does in the way of editing please contact him directly, or take a look at the website.
Please keep this in mind for as long as this discussion continues.
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