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Search Engines
What Is A Search Engine                          Search Engines
Subject Specific Search Engines
Search Directories                               Tips For Searching

Search Engines

The most popular Search Engine on the web, Google employs mathematical analysis of over a billion possible hyperlinks in order to bring you a result list based on popularity of sites and their relevancy to the search terms you've used. They rank sites by the amount of links attached to them, which means that more popular sites, not necessarily better quality sites, are given an advantage. Google also provides advertisers a chance to list "Sponsored Links" which are tied to relevant key words but are given optimum placement on a purchase basis.

Established in 1995, Altavista was the first index on the WWW. It provides text and multimedia searching (MP3, video, etc.) of US and international sites. It also offers advanced translations through Babblefish. This engine is very fast, but huge and superfluous returns can take you a long time to sift through. was created with the merger of Ask Jeeves and Teoma. This database doesn't rank sites higher that have the most links leading to them, like Google. Rather, it analyzes sites on the Web by how these sites are naturally grouped as communities within their subject area or approximate subject area. This technology enables to provide results with greater precision. However, the quality of your search still depends on the terms and phrases you use.


Mega Search Engine

Mega Search Engines search a number of search engines, such as those already listed, together. While this may sound like the best alternative, because each search engine has unique search techniques and features, a mega search engine must find features and techniques that all have in common in order to be successful. Often times there is some sacrifice of precision in searching. In addition, huge returns may be difficult to sieve through. The best of the meta search engines, DogPile is given below.

Through innovative metasearch technology, Dogpile is able to very quickly search all the Internet's major search engines and retrieve the best combined results.

Subject Specific Search Engines

American Memory
The American Memory provides free access to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving digital images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience. This site, created from materials housed in the collections of the Library of Congress and other institutions, chronicle American historical events, people, places.

A commercial art search engine, is the definitive free guide to museum-quality fine art on the Internet. You may search for information and images by artist's name, by the title of an artwork or by museum. There is also an index of art movements, and you can browse by subject, nationality and medium.

USA.Gov Portal was legislatively mandated through Section 204 of the E-Government Act of 2002. As the U.S. government's official web portal, makes it easy for the public to get U.S. government information and services on the web. also serves as the catalyst for a growing electronic government. This site helps citizens connect to services, and providing the government and its employees with resources.  


Google Blog
Google Blog is a search engine for web logs or Blogs.

Google Scholar
A simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts and articles, from academic publishers, professional societies, and universities .To obtain articles for free, check th BCC periodical index databases, or submit the citation of an article you want to the BCC ILL Department.

Google Image
This Google Search Engine provides the most comprehensive collection of images indexed on the web. 

Searching for someone? InfoSpace is the site to do it from. You can search yellow pages, white pages, reverse directories (by phone number), and public records, although for more in depth searches, for instance public records, there may be a fee. is a gigantic and heavily used site providing extensive and free online references.

Search Engine Guide
A topical collection of 3000+ engines, directories and portals.

Scirus, an award winning database is the most comprehensive free science-specific Search Engine on the Internet . Many articles though,, are not free and you'll have to obtain them on our databases or through ILL

Extensive full text federal legislative and government information is provided by this site, established in 1995. Information obtained here includes bills and resolutions, Congressional activity, calendars and records, committee information, treaties, Presidential nominations and further government resource.

Subject Directories

Subject Directories are organized into subject categories and are best for topic related research. There are two basic types of directories:
Academic Directories- Serving a scholarly clientele maintained by subject experts, Commercial Directories - Serving the general public generate income.

Academic Subject Directories

Librarians Index
Excellent for scholarly searching. Created by the U.S. Institute of Museum & Library Services

Virtual Library
The Virtual Library was begun by Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of html and the web as we now know it. The VL site states, "Unlike commercial catalogues, it is run by a loose confederation of volunteers, who compile pages of key links for particular areas in which they are expert; even though it isn't the biggest index of the Web, the VL pages are widely recognised as being amongst the highest-quality guides to particular sections of the Web"

InfoMine is a librarian built, virtual library of resources relevant to college level research. This site was developed and is supported by the Library at the University of California, Riverside.

Commercial Subject Directories is a large topical collection gathered by a network of 500 certified guides.

The Open Directory Project is the largest, most comprehensive human-edited directory on the internet. You are invited to contribute to this site. The directory is divided into easy to use subect areas.

Yahoo searches its own database, the content of which is user submitted URLs. When it fails to return a result, it will direct users to Google. Yahoo employs editors to organize its subject directory. A word of warning - While this is is one of largest directories on the net, it is also the least reliable as sites listed are not fully evaluated.


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