Re: WWW Information Discovery Tools

Tony Johnson (
Thu, 8 Apr 1993 13:44 PDT

William M. Perry ( writes:

> Well, right now it would be pretty trivial to modify my emacs browser to
>follow _every_ link it finds and record it. Only problem would be in
>keeping it from getting in an infinite loop, but that wouldn't be too hard.
>Problem would be disk space & CPU time.

Unfortunately I don't think infinite loops is the only problem to be solved.
For example we have databases of Physics Publications accessable via the web,
and cross-referenced for citations. This databases contain ~300,000 entries. A
robot, even if it is smart enough to not get into a loop, could spend many days
roaming this one database trying to find all the entries. One way around that
would be to have a list of places where the robot should not look, but finding
this list would itself be a time consuming task.

Conversly there are many interesting documents that can only be accessed by
giving a keyword, making it difficult for a robot to discover these documents
at all.

> Once I get the browser stable, I can work on something like this - unless
>someone else wants to work on it in the meantime. Might be more
>stable/faster if written in C though. :) But then what isn't?
> What type of format would the output have to be in? It would be very
>easy to spit out "URL :: TITLE" into a file.

If anyone does solve the problems and generate a "URL :: TITLE" list (possibly
a few other fields such as last modified date would be useful too) I would be
happy to try to make the information available through the database we have
interfaced to WWW.

Tony Johnson