It is not a resource on how search engines work, but rather what ideas and ideals have been realized in the development of search engines, the political and human challenges they face and problems and opportunities they present to humans and to the nature of knowledge and information. The book is written in a clear, simple fashion, making it accessible to all readers. The broad swath it cuts, however, does not detract from its use as an academic course resource.- Choice, June 2007
If you've ever searched the web for information and wondered what's going on behind that query box, I recommend you read Web Dragons. It puts Internet search engines in context-part of a legacy of information access dating back thousands of years. It explains in plain language how search engines work, and points out potential pitfalls that thoughtful searchers should consider. Web Dragons is clear and engaging. Given the amount of time and trust we all invest in search engines, if you pay attention to the web I highly recommend redirecting some of that attention to this book. --Craig Nevill-Manning, Engineering Director, Google
Search technology is changing the way people understand and interact with the world. Web Dragons takes a revealing look at the evolution of search and how it will shape the future of information technology. --Prabhakar Raghavan, Head of Yahoo! Research
Witten, Gori and Numerico steadily bring the web into sharper and sharper focus. A daunting expanse is revealed to have structure. The structure enables the knowledgeable to navigate it to their benefit and allows the unscrupulous or careless to create pitfalls and traps. Search engines will be critical tools for most people living today. What could be more important than understanding how these technologies work and where they are going? --Jonathan Grudin, Microsoft Research
A perspective on the world of Web search and the effects of search engines and information availability on the present and future world.