Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, June 02, 2007

OA doesn't solve the problem of deep web access

Walter Warnick, Problems of Searching in Web Databases, Science, june 1, 2007.  A letter to the editor.  Excerpt:

The issues described in the article “European Union steps back from open-access leap” (M. Enserink, News of the Week, 23 Feb., p. 1065) mask a deeper problem. Simply putting scientific content into Web-accessible databases will not make it easily available, because commonly used search engines do not crawl databases....

The U.S. R&D agencies have made a start at addressing this problem with [], which allows simultaneous search across 35 massive federal document databases. A new project, [PS:  no web site yet], will extend this model to include content housed by other national governments. But in the long run, someone needs to coordinate searches to all the major Web-accessible document databases in the world, most of which are nongovernmental.

Simple Web accessibility is a necessary condition for the diffusion of scientific knowledge, but it is not sufficient. The issue of open access, although important, pales in comparison to the problem of deep Web access.