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Searching & Sleuthing:
Basic Search Tools


Search Engines | Subject Guides or Directories  | Multi-Search Engine | Searching for Images

The following tools are recommended are good starting points for beginners. A more extensive list of tools is available (see Advanced Search Tools) as well as lessons on how to search the web (see Web Searching Series).

Search Engines:

  • Alta Vista

  • http://av.com
    Key points:
  • extremely large database
  • great power searching (if you know how)
  • supports natural language queries (example: "What does sleuthing mean?"
  • Excite

  • http://www.excite.com
    Key points:
  • Concept searching
  • Easy to use
  • Hotbot

  • http://www.hotbot.com
    Key points:
  • Extremely large database
  • Easy to use interface
  • Great power searching template (no memorizing special commands!)
  • accurate results (powered by Inktomi and Direct Hit)
  • Lycos

  • http://www.lycos.com
    Key points:
  • Allows easy searching for special formats (such as images, sound files) and information of specific types, such as recipes, news, dictionaries (go to "Advanced Search")
  • Northern Light

  • http://www.northernlight.com
    Key points:
  • Organizes results into useful groupings which called folders.
  • Also indexes a "Special Collection" of professional journals which may be purchased for a modest cost. Recommended for professional research topics.
  • The Search Page by Marcus Ziegler

  • http://www.accesscom.com/~ziegler/search.html
    Key points:
  • easy to use
  • large, useful listing (220+ links) of specialty search engines with annotations
  • Subject Guides or Directories:

  • Encyclopedia Britannica's Internet Guide

  • http://www.britannica.com/
    Key points:
  • rated guides in a range of subjects  (up to undergraduate level research)
  • compiled by subject experts
  • easy to use
  • "More Search Options" allows users to limit to sites of a specified ranking
  • Infomine: Scholarly Internet Resource Collections

  • http://lib-www.ucr.edu
    Key points:
  • searchable database intended for use by the academic community
  • compiled by subject experts (librarians)
  • contains cross-references to other resources (key words)
  • Multi-Search Engine:

    Sends your query to several search engines at the same time and then organizes the results..
  • MetaCrawler Searching

  • http://www.go2net.com/search.html
    Key points:
  • fast!
  • easy to use; nice presentation of results
  • sends search queries to several search engines including: Lycos, Infoseek, WebCrawler, Excite, Alta Vista and Yahoo, then normalizes and ranks results (also includes the Mining Company)
  • of special interest:  Power Search allows user to limit by continents and by U.S. educational, commercial or government sites.
  • Searching for Images:

  • Alta Vista (AV) Photo and Media Finder

  • http://image.altavista.com/cgi-bin/avncgi
    Key points:
  • search for images, audio and video clips
  • large database
  • "filtered" option
  • search for "similar" images based on compostional elements (not very effective, but a worthy effort)
  • Amazing Picture Machine

  • http://www.ncrtec.org/picture.htm
    Key points:
  • images suitable for  educational communties
  • images are cataloged (that is, assigned key words and descriptions)
  • Lycos Pictures and Sounds

  • http://www.lycos.com/picturethis/
    Key points:
  • easy to use
  • browsable guide to images arranged by category
  • "Kids Safe" search

  • Angela Elkordy, Coordinator of Electronic Resources, The Sage Colleges Libraries
    Last Updated: April 2, 1999
     elkora@sage.edu
    http://www.angelfire.com/in/virtuallibrarian/basic.html
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