Closing remarks — VII International Seminar of the UOC UNESCO Chair in e-Learning: Mobile Technologies for Learning and Development
Julià Minguillón, UOC.
Ismael Peña-López, lecturer and researcher
Information Society, Digital Divide, ICT4D
Tim Berners-Lee creates the World Wide Web, based on a structure and protocols that require linking to work. The URL or URI identify documents that can be found on the Internet, creating a directed graph: A points to B, but we (usually) cannot walk the inverse way, the link is not reversible (i.e. you need another link to go from B to A, the initial A to B link does not serve this purpose).
There are two main strategies to explore the Internet and find information within: browsing and searching.
One of the “problems” of the Internet is that, as a graph, it’s got no centre: the Internet as no centre or place that can be considered as its begin.
There are some initiatives to map the Internet, to index it (like the Open Directory Project, but the speed of growth of the Internet have made them difficult to maintain… and even to use.
Web crawlers require that pages are linked to be able to visit them. Ways to prevent web crawlers to explore a web site (besides unlinking) is protection by username/password, use of CAPTCHAs, use of protocols of exclusion (e.g. in robots.txt files), etc.
Protocol of exclusion (robot.txt):
Nowadays, most ways to remain anonymous on the Internet is opting out of services like web crawling by search engines.
With the Web 2.0 things become more complicated. Initiallly, “all” content was originated by the “owner” of a website: you needed a hosting and to directly manage that site. When everyone can create or share content in a very easy and immediate way, the relationship server/hosting-manager-content is not as straightforward as it used to be.
Linking and tagging also complicate even more the landscape. And with the upcoming semantic web, cross-search and crossing data from different sources can make it easy to retrieve complex information and find out really sensible information.
Ramon Casas points at Google cache and, while being not strictly necessary to run the search engine, it represents an ilegal copy and/or access to content that (in many cases) was removed from its original website. In his example
the museum closes at 20:00 but Google leaves the back door open until 22:00.
Bruce Kasanoff (2001). Making It Personal: How to Profit from Personalization without Invading Privacy. See a review by Julià Minguillón at UOC Papers.