Librarian's Favorite Search Engines: Secrets of the Super-Searchers

Written by Library  |  06. January 2002

Librarians are well placed to test the many search engines available for web research. Listed below are some of our favorites. Try them out and see which ones work best for you. Some are particularly good for ferreting out images, some will categorize your results into neat folders, and each has its own strength. These resources represent the cutting edge of retrieval technology. While traditional engines omit pdf files and images, for example, Google's advanced function allows the user to search specifically for this type of information. Vivisimo is an example of a 'clustering' engine, which arranges results into sub-categories for easy browsing.

Open Directory offers a link entitled 'click for this category in other languages', instantly translating the search into Spanish, French, Dutch, German, etc., if available. Vivisimo is not, strictly speaking, a search engine. It's a "clustering engine" which retrieves and automatically organizes information into subcategories. In the advanced mode, the user can select exactly which search engines to include, what language to retrieve, and whether to save or e-mail results. Vivisimo technology is worth watching.

Google.com A favorite of many librarians, google is the gold standard of search engines. Try out some of the special features, including the image searcher. Open Directory One of the great strengths of this engine is the "this category in other languages" link. With one click the patron or librarian can transform the search into Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, etc. The site is searchable and easily browse able. Human volunteer editors, following published criteria and guideline, select sites. This is a great site for students of foreign languages. Infomine Brought to you by the libraries of the University of California, Infomine is a multi-layered database of academic web sites, indexed by librarians. They also provide a free mailing list that sends out newly added sites. T

Teoma is a relatively new search engine (just bought by Ask Jeeves) that is quickly becoming a runner-up to Google for favorite search engine. The search results are provided in a simple layout, and are always relevant. Wisenut Have you ever wanted to "Sneak a Peek" at the results of your search? Look no further than Wisenut. With an index of 1.5 billion pages, this engine could be a sure thing.

Research Buzz Provides a wide variety of research and reference sources for the Informational Professional. There is also an accompanying newsletter. Ilor Billing itself as a 'research engine' and not merely a search engine, this site is powered by google and has some of the features of a clustering engine. You can simply search page titles only, or entire pages. An advanced search, similar to google, allows searching by exact word or phrase.

The following resources are especially good for students.

The Virtual Learning Resources Center facilitates students in their search for quality information for school and college academic projects. currently the VLRC search engine indexes over 5,800 research-quality URLs, including many of the top academic information sites on the Web. Provides browsing and/or searching capabilities.

Styling itself the premier resource for academic research on the Internet. heySmarty searches approximately 5,000 web sites. The site is aimed at high school students, but material is not as limited as this guideline suggests. A good resource for some YA material, including homework backup for science, science projects, science tests, and much more.

Blue WebN, this searchable database of over 1,000 educational learning is arranged by subject, audience, type of resource. Check this site for foreign language materials, math, technology and vocational education. This is a good site for tutorials in a wide array of subjects.

The Query Server is an advanced Meta search tool that broadcasts a single query across a set of Web-enabled search engines. One query returns a single merged, ranked and conceptually clustered list - supposedly saving you untold amounts of time and ensuring you'll easily find only the most pertinent information. Another one to watch. None of the above, however, compares with the personalized research assistance you can get from your local library. Your librarian will be more than happy to help you find exactly what you want. If the library is closed, visit your library via SuffolkWeb or NassauNet. 

Editors Note: The majority of Librarian's search engines mentioned in this article are no longer relevant today.

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