The literature of the evaluation of Internet search engines is reviewed. Although there have been many studies, there has been little consistency in the way such studies have been carried out. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that recall is virtually impossible to calculate in the fast changing Internet environment, and therefore the traditional Cranfield type of evaluation is not usually possible. A variety of alternative evaluation methods has been suggested to overcome this difficulty. The authors recommend that a standardised set of tools is developed for the evaluation of web search engines so that, in future, comparisons can be made between search engines more effectively, and that variations in performance of any given search engine over time can be tracked. The paper itself does not provide such a standard set of tools, but it investigates the issues and makes preliminary recommendations of the types of tools needed.
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