Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to describe a means to improve the accessibility of files across different delivery platforms, making it possible to use a single search modality. The paper shows that both peer‐to‐peer file sharing networks and the worldwide web provide extensive information resources, and either network may contain data that satisfy a searcher's information need. Design/methodology/approach – The paper proposes a gateway between the worldwide web and peer‐to‐peer networks that permits searchers on one side to be able to seamlessly search and retrieve files on the other side of the gateway. The design and prototype implementation of such a gateway to Gnutella is detailed, along with access statistics from test deployments and lessons learned. Findings – The prototype implementation was found to demonstrate the feasibility of a seamless gateway between the Gnutella network and the worldwide web. Gnutella users saw millions of web search results and initiated retrievals via the gateway without knowing the source of the information or having to leave their Gnutella applications. Analysis of file retrieval logs showed that Gnutella search results lose value (to the original searcher) if delayed by more than a few seconds. Research limitations/implications – The implementation is a prototype, fielded for only a few months within the Gnutella network. Future implementations need cooperation with a web search service, and ideally would connect to multiple services for different types of queries. Practical implications – Deployment of the gateway architecture described would be of use to searchers and of value to content providers. Originality/value – This paper's approach makes information in other networks seamlessly searchable and accessible.
Internet Research – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 6, 2008
Keywords: Search engines; Worldwide web
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