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Multiple Presents: How Search Engines Re-write the Past

Hellsten, I and Leydesdorff, L. and Wouters, P. (2006) Multiple Presents: How Search Engines Re-write the Past. New Media & Society, 8(6), 901-924. DOI: 10.1177/1461444806069648.

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Internet search engines function in a present which changes continuously. The search engines update their indices regularly, overwriting webpages with newer ones, adding new pages to the index and losing older ones. Some search engines can be used to search for information on the internet for specific periods of time. However, these `date stamps` are not determined by the first occurrence of the pages in the web, but by the last date at which a page was updated or a new page was added and the search engine`s crawler updated this change in the database. This has major implications for the use of search engines in scholarly research as well as theoretical implications for the conceptions of time and temporality. This article examines the interplay between the different updating frequencies by using AltaVista and Google for searches at different moments of time. Both the retrieval of results and the structure of retrieved information erodes over time.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:DOI: 10.1177/1461444806069648
Institutes:Virtual Knowlegde Studio (VKS)
ID Code:3745
Deposited On:13 Feb 2009 17:14
Last Modified:13 Oct 2010 22:35

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