The interrelation between Web publishing and information retrieval technologies is explored. The different elements of the Web have implications for indexing and searching Web pages. There are two main platforms used for searching the Web – directories and search engines – which later became combined to create one‐stop search sites, resulting in the Web business model known as portals. Portalisation gave rise to a second‐generation of firms delivering innovative search technology. Various new approaches to Web indexing and information retrieval are listed. PC‐based search tools incorporate intelligent agents to allow greater manipulation of search strategies and results. Current trends are discussed, in particular the rise of XML, and their implications for the future. It is concluded that the Web is emerging from a nascent stage and is evolving into a more complex, diverse and structured environment.
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