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A Survey on Content Retrieval on the Decentralised Web

Keizer, N. V., Ascigil, O., Król, M. ORCID: 0000-0002-3437-8621 , Kutscher, D. & Pavlou, G. (2024). A Survey on Content Retrieval on the Decentralised Web. ACM Computing Surveys, doi: 10.1145/3649132


The control, governance, and management of the web have become increasingly centralised, resulting in security, privacy, and censorship concerns. Decentralised initiatives have emerged to address these issues, beginning with decentralised file systems. These systems have gained popularity, with major platforms serving millions of content requests daily. Complementing the file systems are decentralised search engines and name registry infrastructures, together forming the basis of a decentralised web. This survey paper analyses research trends and emerging technologies for content retrieval on the decentralised web, encompassing both academic literature and industrial projects.

Several challenges hinder the realisation of a fully decentralised web. Achieving comparable performance to centralised systems without compromising decentralisation is a key challenge. Hybrid infrastructures, blending centralised components with verifiability mechanisms, show promise to improve decentralised initiatives. While decentralised file systems have seen more mature deployments, they still face challenges such as usability, performance, privacy, and content moderation. Integrating these systems with decentralised name-registries offers a potential for improved usability with human-readable and persistent names for content. Further research is needed to address security concerns in decentralised name-registries and enhance governance and crypto-economic incentive mechanisms.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © the author | ACM 2024. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive Version of Record was published in ACM Computing Surveys,
Publisher Keywords: Decentralised Web, DWeb, Web3, Blockchain, Peer-to-Peer
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Departments: School of Science & Technology
School of Science & Technology > Computer Science
School of Science & Technology > Computer Science > Software Reliability
SWORD Depositor:
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