[Support & Help Index]

Searching the Internet

It's been said that the Internet is like a huge public library with no card catalog. These collections and search tools represent the efforts of many individuals and organizations to improve access to information on the Internet. Each one is organized or searches differently, so the choice is yours to decide which one works the best for your style of inquiry.

Some provide references across many applications (like the WWW, Gopher, and FTP) and others concentrate on cataloging the growth of the World Wide Web only. Think of each link below as a jumping off point, as they all provide hundreds (some thousands) of choices of where to go next.

How to Search the Net | Subject Directories
Search Engines | Meta-Search Engines | What's New


How to Search the Net

The Mystery Solved: Exploring the Differences Between Search Engines and Directories
Kathy Schrock has created a simple slide show explaining the different types of search tools and when to use them. For instructions on how to search see another slide show entitled Effective Search Strategies. Although this site is made for teachers, any beginner will find it helpful.

Sink or Swim: Internet Search Tools & Techniques
Explains the differences between search engines and subject guides, shows how to formulate search strategies, and then compares search engines.

Finding Information on the Internet
This excellent tutorial from the UC Berkeley Library introduces you to the Internet and WWW, teaches you how to analyze a topic, choose a search tool, and use a variety of search engines.

Search Engine Shoot-out: Search Engines Compared
Gregg Keizer rates the top search engines, recommends a few winners, and tells you what to look for in a search site based on your search needs. A CNET article from January 1998.

Spider's Apprentice
Includes search engine news, answers to frequently asked questions, search strategies, reviews and analysis, details on how search engines work, and more.

Scout Toolkit: Surf Smarter
Features search engine information and reviews, tips, Web tools, and guides on various subjects.

Guide to Effective Internet Searching
An indepth guide to searching. For beginner to advanced users.

For more, visit Search Engine Watch's Search Engine Reviews and Information, Understanding and Comparing Search Engines, and Yahoo!'s Evaluation and Comparing Search Engines pages.


Subject Directories

Yahoo!
Yahoo! Is a popular place to start a search, especially when you're not exactly sure what you are looking for. This huge subject directory has been around since 1994 and is maintained by human editors, instead of computers. Although Yahoo! is a very useful starting place, some pages are time-consuming to wade through and few sites are reviewed.

LookSmart
LookSmart is similar to Yahoo! and is its closest rival. Recommended Web sites arranged by subject, plus links include brief, but helpful, descriptions. LookSmart also provides directory results to AltaVista

About.com
This unique and service offers hundreds of subject guides to Internet resources. Each guide is maintained by an individual with expertise or keen interest in the topic, is annotated to help you decide which sites to visit, and is updated frequently. This is the place to quickly find the best sites on a topic. Formerly called the Mining Company.

Snap
This growing subject directory features brief reviews of selected Web sites.

Lycos
Lycos is another directory of Web sites similar to Yahoo!. Lycos also features guides on a range of topics.

Argus Clearinghouse
Offers links to topic-specific directories.

For a list of lists of Internet resources consult Yahoo!'s Indices to Web Documents page. The Search Engine Watch Search Links page provides a helpful list of search tools, such as specialty, regional, kid-friendly, multimedia, news search engines, and more.


Search Engines

Alta Vista
Search the full text of Web pages and use the LookSmart Web. Alta Vista's size and powerful search options make it a popular search engines for researchers. Beginner's may find the syntax required for advanced searches tricky.

HotBot
HotBot has one of the largest indexes of Web pages and also offers lots of advanced search features to help you narrow your queries.

Excite
Excite is one of the most popular search engines. It is easy to use and the site has lots of extra features to keep you busy.

Northern Light
Northern Light is currently the largest index of the Web. It is unique because it presents search results in a set of "custom" folders based on subject, type, source, or language. Pick folders and subfolders to narrow your search. You can also search magazines but you must pay to receive the articles.

Go
InfoSeek is another useful Web search engine. You can perform searches and browse through its directory of selected Web sites. Formerly called Infoseek.

search.com
Search.com from c|net allows you to search over 250 specialty engines, listed by subject areas. It does not allow you do a multiple engine search with a single command.

The Search Engine Watch Search Links page provides a helpful list of search tools, such as specialty, regional, kid-friendly, multimedia, news search engines, and more.

To find many other general-use and topic-specific search tools visit the All-in-One Search Page, Tracy Marks' Windweaver Web Resources, and Yahoo!'s Search Engines page.


Meta-Search Engines

Dogpile
Dogpile is a meta-search engine; it will simultaneously send your query to multiple search engines and present the results to you. Dogpile allows you to select which search engines, directories and specialty search sites you want to use, and allows advanced searches.

MetaFind
Gathers a fixed number of hits from crawler-based search engines, such as AltaVista, Excite, HotBot.

InferenceFind
InferenceFind merges and groups the results by subject instead of by search engine, like other meta-searchers. Boolean operators may not be handled consistently by the various search engines that InferenceFind uses in queries.

Go2Net
This meta-search engine queries the Web's most popular search sites. Formerly known as Metacrawler.

Internet Sleuth
Lists thousands of search tools by subject and allows you to query major search engines simultaneously.

Savvy Search
Savvy Search allows you to search many search engines in one place using a common user interface. This single user interface, however, will prevent you from using each search engines specific features and search syntax.


What's New

Search Engine Watch
A comprehensive, up-to-date site with news and tips on search engines. There's information on how to conduct searches, resources about search engines, a guide to search engines for webmasters, and search engine status reports. Maintained by Danny Sullivan.

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