Between Rhizomes and Trees: P2P Information Systems

Abstract

The aim of the first part of this paper is to provide an overview of information retrieval in Peer–to–Peer (P2P) information systems in the file–sharing domain. Starting with a general overview of the concept of P2P information systems, the paper then focuses on five desktop–accessible P2P information systems: Napster with its clones OpenNap and eDonkey, and Gnutella and FastTrack (i.e., Kazaa). A detailed description is given of the attributes and properties of each P2P file–sharing information system, followed by an evaluation of the respective P2P file–sharing applications, taking each in turn and examining their respective strengths and weaknesses. This paper concludes with a critical comparative analysis and gives some suggestions for further investigation.

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