The growth of the Internet has furnished researchers with unparalleled opportunities for exchanging information, but it's also burdened them with unprecedented confusion, scientists say. While the standard cliche has it that the Internet is an information superhighway, some cynics reacting to its bewildering complexity have dubbed it the information supercollider.

It may be more apt to liken it to a vast library with a badly organized card catalog. The library not only is poorly indexed, but also every day individuals add new rooms to the building. If the users are very fortunate, the builders might deign to write a note hinting at what's in their new rooms and how to get there, but they seem to toss these notes haphazardly into a nearby corridor, hoping someone will find them.

Fortunately, computer scientists and others acting in the public interest are providing, on the Internet itself, a growing array of documents...

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