See interesting and useful Search Engine article at the very bottom of this page.
When doing research on the web, you absolutely must use more than one search engine as most
of them present 20% or less of available information/websites. A metasearch engine searches
using other search engines and so gives you a much broader search. Even then, all metasearch
engines are not alike so try several for thorough searches.
There are well over 400 Search Engines--here's but a few of the best. When making a thorough search you
should try several. See W3 Search engine link below.
AllSearchEngines.com Includes Topic SEs Alltheweb Excellent! AltaVista Excellent! A favorite search engine. Index search Bananaslug.com Digisearch/ My #3 Digisearch: One mother of a metasearch tool (24 engines) Directhit Generic dmoz.org Human edited directory. An interesting concept. Dogpile A venerable all-purpose engine Excite.com Create your own Start Page Findlaw.com Legal dictionary, search engine, lots of law stuff! ForeverinBloom.com Easy to use search engine which looks especially for gardening topics; Many categories. Go.com I like the simple interface on this one. Google.com Excellent! Searches over a billion Web pages. Nice, clean interface. Quick. Google Labs Check out the free stuff. Try Google Squared as a search engine. Interesting Highway61 Highway 61: A simple site with a straightforward interface Hotbot/Lycos.com All the usual amenities. InfoSpace.com A good, generic search engine. isleuth.com The Big Hub's Internet Sleuth Kartoo A large and different metasearch engine. Lexis-Nexis.com A Pay-as-you-go search site LibDex Library Index to 18,000 libraries. Locate a library LookSmart Lycos.com Another venerable search engine. Mamma.com Cutsie, clean search interface which calls itself the Mother of all Search Engines Metacrawler Searches many other engines, giving you the closest results Metaspy Msn.com Microsoft Network's search engine. Netscape.com Netscape's search Engine Search Engine Showdown The user's guide to web searching SearchEngineWatch Site submission tips ; listings; reviews; how to use; Much more Profusion I like this one for its categories Search Engine Tutorial Check this out! Search.com/ A very nice metasearch engine. search MSN The newest on the block in 2005. Uses Encarta. Search definitions, etc. as well. Teoma Praised by TechTV Thomas.loc.gov Legislative Information on the Internet Search Engine Vivisimo Good metasearch Engine. Clusters your results. Webcrawler Good crawler engine Wolfram Alpha Enter a date, any town, any two stocks, any calculation or math formula W3 Search Engines Wow! Check out this list of search engines and tools! Yahoo Popular search engine. Concept search Yahoo en Español Yahooligans A very good kid's search engine YellowPages.com Yep! Just look up a business, as in the yellow pages.
Return to top of pageComments http://www.indiana.edu/~librcsd/search/meta.html Guide to Meta-Search Engines Jian Liu Reference Department Indiana University Libraries email@example.com URL: http://www.indiana.edu/~librcsd/search/meta.html The below is a bit dated, but is still outstanding in its information dissemination. Last Update: June 1999. By now it is fairly safe to assume that most World Wide Web surfers have used one of the Web search engines (such as AltaVista or Northern Light) or Web directories (such as Yahoo! or eBLAST)[Note: Google did not exist at the time of the writing of this article.] These resources collect Web pages and create databases for people to browse or search. They can be quite comprehensive (AltaVista claims to have 150 million web pages in its database), or fairly specialized (The Internet Movie Database is for movies). Each of them has its unique content and presents a unique interface, requires a unique set of rules for searching and displays search results differently. To exhaust a search, one often has to use several of them and has to be familiar with the different interfaces and searching rules. It would be highly desirable to have a central place with a uniform interface, where a query can be entered and the search can be conducted simultaneously in as many search engines and directories as necessary, and search results can be brought back and displayed in a consistent format. Tools with these features have come to be called meta-search engines. Unlike the individual search engines and directories, meta-search engines do not have their own databases; they do not collect web pages; they do not accept URL additions; and they do not classify or review web sites. Instead, they send queries simultaneously to multiple Web search engines and/or Web directories. Many of the meta-search engines integrate search results: duplicate findings are merged into one entry; some rank the results according to various criteria; some allow selection of search engines to be searched. Before conducting a meta-search engine search, it is important to find out which search engines are included in your search. Most meta-search engines default to the major search engines, such as AltaVista, Excite, Lycos, and Infoseek. Others will also include Usenet searches, and other specialized databases. Negotiations between the meta-search engine companies and the individual search engine companies may also result in a major search engine being excluded from a meta-search engine. For example, Northern Light would not allow any of the meta-search engines to robotically search its index since this process drains its resources. Development of meta-search engines lags behind development of search engines. Some meta-search engines still include defunct search engines. Some meta-search engines allow you to make your choice of which to use. Successful use of a meta-search engine depends on the status of each of the individual search engines used. Some may be heavily loaded at the time; some may be unreachable. The added features mentioned above require further resources from the meta-search engines, resulting in slower response time, a serious problem with many of the meta-search engines. Many of them, therefore, have a timeout period, so that attempts to work with a particular search engine can be abandoned if no response comes from it within a set period of time. Remember too that a query submitted to a meta-search engine, with its uniform search interface and syntax, is to be applied against the diversity of individual search engines. It is therefore impossible for meta-search engines to take advantage of all the features of the individual search engines. Boolean searches, for example, may produce varied results. Phrase searches may not be supported. Other features, such as query refinement, are sacrificed. Moreover, meta-search engines generally do not conduct exhaustive searches: they do not bring back all the pages from each of the individual search engines. They only make use of the top 10 to 100 hits from each of them. While this is sufficient for most searches, individual search engines must be consulted if one needs to go beyond the top hits as determined by the meta-search engines. Some meta-search engines facilitate this need by providing query links back to the individual search engines. Should one use a meta-search engine instead of an individual search engine? There is no definitive answer to this question. Much depends on what one is seeking. For a specific, obscure search term, I would recommend starting with a meta-search engine, as it will search many sites at the same time, thus saving you a lot of time, and making your search less tedious. On the other hand, if you are reasonably confident that any major search engine will return the page you are looking for, starting with an individual search engine would be recommended. The following meta-search engines, listed alphabetically, are among the major ones currently available. Brief discussion of search tips and major features of each of them is provided, together with my recommendations for three of them: MetaCrawler, MetaFind, and Dogpile. All of them have help files/Frequently Asked Questions/search tips available on line. It is highly recommended that you consult them for further information and for a better understanding of their features and drawbacks. 1.Ask Jeeves: http://www.askjeeves.com/ Simple syntax; results presented in pull-down menus; number of matches reported from each search engine; no integration; no ranking; interesting design; fairly good response time; limited number of search engines used. 2.Debriefing: http://www.debriefing.com A new contender; searches AltaVista, Yahoo, Infoseek, Excite, Webcrawler , Lycos and Hotbot in the English version; its French version searches Yahoo France, PagesWeb, Ecila, Infoseek France, Excite France and Lokace; it supports boolean (+ -) and phrase searches (" "); collates the results, ranks them and removes duplicates; provides the most significant domain name for a search; in the advanced search mode, it allows for searches within a particular site (no need to provide a complete url) 3.Cyber411: http://cyber411.com/ Searches up to 16 search engines, including Northern Light (unfortunately it is not working); excellent user selection options - from one to all; supports boolean and phrase searches; only titles and urls of web pages are returned; no summary; no number of hits report; duplicate URLs are removed; response time is fairly good. 4.Dogpile: http://www.dogpile.com/ Relatively new; searches Web sites, Usenet, FTP sites and newswires (25 in all); for first time users, start with "Custom Search" where one can set the order and the number of the 25 search engines so that results from one's favorite sites return first, and/or exclude certain sites (skip) from the search engine list, a very handy feature; timeout can be set from ten to 60 seconds; it searches three sites at a time and if there are enough results (ten hits), the search will stop, otherwise it will continue on to the next three sites. Ten records from each of the three sites will be displayed. Further hits from the three sites can be retrieved with a click, and the next three sites can be searched with a click as well. Search results are displayed with summaries; number of hits from each site is reported; Boolean searches are supported; response time is very good; no integration of results. See also MetaFind below. This is a highly recommended site for its large number of sites covered, for its flexibility, and for its good response time. 5.Highway 61: http://www.highway61.com/ Searches only Yahoo, Lycos, Webcrawler, Infoseek and Excite (used to search AltaVista as well); AND and OR searches; number of hits from each site is reported; results displayed with summaries; sites coming from most search engines are ranked higher; interesting way of presenting options: timeout period is presented as "Your patience level." I like the developer's sense of humor in admitting that "this is not an exact science" when referring to how many hits a search should return. Response time leaves much room for improvement. 6.Inference Find: http://www.infind.com Currently configured to search Yahoo, AltaVista, Lycos, Webcrawler, Infoseek and Excite; it "merges the results, removes redundancies, and clusters the results into neat understandable groupings." The last is a unique feature that puts "similar items together." It calls InfoSeek three times in parallel in order to retrieve 30 records from it. Timeout period can be set between one second and 30 seconds. Title display only. Response time is moderate. French and German interfaces added recently. 7.Internet Sleuth: http://www.isleuth.com/ One of the largest collections of searchable sites, divided into several major categories: Web search engines and directories, reviewed sites, news, business and finance, software and Usenet; very flexible selection of search engines to be included (Hold Ctrl key to select multiple databases, Shift key to select a range). Maximum search time can be set between ten seconds and two minutes (used to be five); no integration of results; display of search results can be customized to show titles only or titles with summaries; number of results from each site can range from ten to 100; convenient arrangements for retrieving more records from individual search engines; response time is moderate. 8.Mamma: http://www.mamma.com/ Searches the Web, Usenet, news, stock symbols, company names, MP3 files, pictures and sound; supports optional phrase searches and searches limited to titles only; optionally shows summaries; Boolean operators can be used (+ and -). It claims to present results in a uniform format by relevance and source. A limited number of search engines is supported: AltaVista, Excite, Infoseek, Lycos, WebCrawler, and Yahoo. No arrangement for further searches in the individual search engines. Response time is moderate. 9.MetaCrawler: http://www.go2net.com/search.html One of the earliest meta-search engines, purchased by go2net from University of Washington. It is best to customize it before using: set default interface (regular, power, or low bandwidth); select the default Boolean operators to be used (OR, AND, or as a phrase); may limit results from Web pages from North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, South America, Africa, Antarctica, or U.S. educational, commercial or government sites; set timeout period, and number of results from each source; or start with power search where all the options can be set before searching; results are displayed with summaries, integrated and ranked; response time is fairly good; Web search includes only the major search engines: Lycos, Infoseek, WebCrawler, Excite, AltaVista, and Yahoo. Many other types of databases have been added recently - computer products, usenet, files, stock quotes. This is another highly recommended site for its flexible configuration, clean display of search results, and good response time. For a quick search of the major search engines, MetaCrawler should be considered the number one meta-search engine. 10.MetaFind: http://www.metafind.com/ From the same company that produces Dogpile, Metafind searches six search engines, returning links and organizing the results. It retrieves ten links from AltaVista twice, ten from Excite twice, 50 from HotBot, 25 from Infoseek, 30 from Planetsearch, and 50 from Webcrawler. You can use AND, OR, NEAR, NOT, ( ), and "" in your search (no need to capitalize). AND is the default connector. Timeout period can be set from ten to 60 seconds. Search results can be sorted by keyword, by domain, alphabetically or not sorted. Also provided is the indication of positioning of a site from individual search engines (e.g. #7 in Excite, meaning that if the search is run directly at Excite, that site should appear as the number 7 in thesearch result. Description can be optionally displayed. Rerun of the query terms in individual search engines is very convenient from the search result pages. Response time is fairly good. This is another highly recommended site for its overall performance and for its sorting capabilities. 11.ProFusion: http://www.profusion.com/ Excellent options in search engine selection: one can choose the best three, the fastest three, all or any of the available search engines; Boolean and phrase searches are supported; searches the Web or Usenet; search results can be displayed with summaries or without; one can have up to 50 links of search results checked to make sure they are live. Results are integrated and number of hits from each search engine is reported; search terms can be saved for future reruns (This feature seems to have disappeared). Unfortunately, ProFusion tends to be very slow in response time, but with recent address change, speed has dramatically improved. 12.SavvySearch: http://www.savvysearch.com Another pioneer of meta-search engines, rich with features and including a great number of search engines, Usenet groups, and many other specialized databases; Boolean operators (AND and OR) and phrase searches are supported; allows for setting the number of retrievals from each search engine (from ten to 50); can display search results in brief, normal and "verbose" formats; optional integration of results. The most inclusive search is possible by selecting all the available types of resources: Web indexes, directories, Usenet, software, people, reference, entertainment, commercial, academic, images, and technical reports. Response time is poor. 13.Verio Metasearch: http://search.verio.net/ The advanced query interface has a very powerful scoring feature, allowing one to decide which individual search engine's results carry more weight than others; maximum delay time can be arbitrarily set; number of search results can range from ten to all; returns the most meta-information about a site, including relevance rank and score, and number of search engines ranking a site in its top ten hits. Slow response time. References: Library, University of California, Berkeley. "What are Meta-Search Engines? When to use and not use them?" 1997. Available: http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/Internet/MetaSearch.html (15 Dec. 1997) Mecklermedia Corporation. "Search Engine Watch: News, Tips and More About Search Engines." 1997. Available: http://www.searchenginewatch.com/ (15 Dec. 1997)
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