Wednesday, December 3, 2014

MEMEX Reading Assignment - Caroline Kreul

For this assignment, I read an article published by by Kevin McCaney entitled, "Memex: The next generation of deep-Web search?"

The article highlights the MEMEX system, a new system being developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) that would allow for a more tailored search into the deep internet. The article points out that search engines like Google tailor their search of indexed content to users, meaning that any two people who google the same terms will likely get the same or extremely similar results. McCaney use the example of the Winter Olympics, noting that one's search results would be the same "whether you're a government employee monitoring security at the games or a third grader wondering what time ice skating will be on." He also points out that despite there being 1.69 billion search results, there is a multitude of information stored in the "deep internet" that a simple google search could not possible bring up. This is the information that the new MEMEX system hopes to tap into, tailoring users to this content.

The article talks about the benefits of such a system to the Department of Defense, particularly in the context of human trafficking. Given that it has a strong online element, combatting human trafficking would benefit from the better research and analysis that the MEMEX could provide.

The purpose of this new MEMEX system is reminiscent of the original purpose of the MEMEX system outlined by Bush. Bush states that, "The owner of the memex, let us say, is interested in the origin and properties of the bow and arrow... He has dozens of possibly pertinent books and articles in his memex. First he run through an encyclopedia, finds an interesting but sketchy article, leaves it projected. Next, in a history, he finds another pertinent item, and ties the two together. Thus he goes, building a trail of many items." Much in the way that Bush envisions the system tying ideas together, the MEMEX being developed by DARPA would seek out information from the deep internet in a nonlinear fashion. This will be done through domain-specific indexing, which would include Web crawling with the capability of "natural language processing, image analysis, multimedia extraction and other features."

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