Each day significant numbers of people worldwide have their first experience in interactive information retrieval using the technologies of the World Wide Web on the Internet and many others return to try again. Surfing the web can be great entertainment, and even often a source of useful information. Certainly the ability to connect to known sites, such as company home pages, weather reports, etc. can be extremely helpful. But attempting to actually search the web for a specific piece of information can often be very frustrating.
Some of the problems encountered in searching the web are the usual bane of search engines dependent on matching document and query terms. Others are usability problems common to many interactive applications. But still others are unique to searching on the Internet or are magnified by its scope and heterogeneity. Such problems include dependence on cross-cultural knowledge (language, naming conventions, social structure/institutions), heavy use of data not directly accessible to conventional webcrawlers (multimedia, maps, tables), and simply the enormous scale of the operational net (huge result sets, "worldwide wait").
The panel will attempt to provide insight into some of these web search problems and examine what types of additional tools might be useful in a web environment to aid users in searching. We will be presenting the results of a web "treasure hunt" and you are invited to join the hunt ! :-)