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Search Engines
Some Fine Places to Start...

Search Engine Watch: Search Engine News, Search Engine Tips and more about search engines. Excellent site for an overview of the many different search engines on the web.

Introduction to Search Engines

Understanding and comparing search engines

Kathy Schrock's guide to Internet searching tools

Search Engines
A searchable directory of about 600 specialized search tools, including links to extensive online databases like the National Climatic Data Center. Compiled by BrightPlanet, a search-technology company.

Direct Search
Gary Price, a librarian at George Washington University, maintains this list of free online databases.

A fast search engine that ranks pages by several indicators.

Go to Netscape
Select NetSearch for selection of search engines


A human compiled directory of websites. Very good for broad general topics, but often returns many irrelevant results

The search site of Wired magazine. Excellent for finding specific information. With extra effort can construct precise search queries.

Excellent for precise searches. Similar to HotBot, though a bit harder to construct queries initially - 'til the mastery stage.

AOL NetFind
AOL NetFind is a branded-version of the Excite search engine in the US and Canada. It has a different name and a different look, but it is basically Excite underneath.

Electric Library

Lycos is one of the more popular search services, despite having a small index that is more out-of-date than its competitors. While its search engine listings are weak, Lycos does feature an impressive directory of web sites called Lycos Community Guides.

A metasearch site that can go through 13 web search engines. While not the most useful for specifics, can be an excellent way to determine which search engine works best for you.

Ask Jeeves
Ask Jeeves is a human-powered search service that aims to direct you to the exact page thatanswers your question. If it fails to find a match within its own database, then it will provide matching web pages from various search engines.

Northern Light

Internet Sleuth


Good for searches on broad general topics.

Metacrawler http://www.metacrawler
A metasearch site that searches several search engines simultaneously. Excellent for quick results, but not as many options for more precise searches.

LookSmart is the closest rival Yahoo has, in terms of being a human-compiled directory of the web. In addition to being a stand-alone service, LookSmart provides directory results to both AltaVista and HotBot.

MSN (Microsoft)
Microsoft's MSN service features both directory listings and search engine results, powered by Inktomi. Other search engines are also featured at the service. The service went live in October 1998 with its Inktomi results, although it had existed in various formats and under different names previously.

Specialized Search Engines
News Stories
Finds headlines from more than 1,800 news sites.

Legal Documents
Combs through a legal dictionary, legal news and the text of the United States Constitution. A search engine powered by Alta Vista enables users to search for documents on federal and state web sites.

Scientific Information
Hunts for information from the web pages of scientific journals, associations, and databases.

Governmental Information
Searches for government documents from federal and state web sites.

Adobe PDF Files
Searches for documents that are published in Adobe's portable document format.

Online Images
Searches for photographs and other images that have been posted online.

Funny Stuff
Finds web pages with jokes, humor columns and parodies of famous sites.

More search engines

Some Other Ways to Search

Being a web sleuth on the web starts with knowing all the possible facts to lead you and a bit of logic. If you're looking for a particular company or organization you might try typing in

Do not use spaces, but do try - or _ or . as they are sometimes used to divide words.

The last three letters tell the type of company or organization
.org non-profit - e.g. if you were trying to find information on rainforest, you might try
.com commercial - e.g. looking for a company - try their name
.edu education
.gov government - many government agencies use the initials for their website - e.g. the Library of Congress is
.net provider

If you were trying to find a theme

So you're still not there, or it is a topic, person, or some other inanimate or breathing type of object...

The next step might be using a search engine - either their hierarchical index (which can lead to new adventures and possibilities) or using words to search for. The more specific facts that may be unique to a search will more likely zero in on your desires. For example - if I was looking a firm that made GIS software, but didn't know the companies name. Fortunately I knew they were located in Redlands, California. So I'd put GIS & Redlands. GIS alone would bring up a zillion links, but with Redlands added to the mix, the search becomes much more specific. 


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