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Search Engines to Try When Others Fail You

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I recently read about Vivisimo (http://vivisimo.com), a cluster search engine which organizes by topic, and came across this article as well:

Sites to try when other engines fail you

By Michael Bazeley

Mercury News

Admit it. You have a Google habit. Or a Yahoohabit. Every time you need to find something on the Internet, you click over to one of those big search powerhouses.

Well, search fans, we're here to tell you that there's a whole big world of Internet searching out there, and Google and Yahoo are just a part of it.

Those two Silicon Valley companies do a lot of things well. They employ some of the top Internet search brainpower, and they scour billions of Web pages.

But sometimes, they're not the best path to what you're seeking.

``We don't just have one all-knowing book on our bookshelves,'' said librarian Gary Price, who runs the ResourceShelf Web site at www.resourceshelf.com. ``You go to the right book depending on what you're looking for.''

Similarly, Price says, Internet searchers should use the best search tool for the job.

This week, I asked Price and researcher Tara Calishain, who runs the ResearchBuzz Web site atwww.researchbuzz.com, to share some of their favorite search sites.

• Libraries: Not surprisingly, Price's first suggestion is to visit your local library's Web site.

Libraries have access to many databases that would otherwise be off-limits to most people. And you can often access them online with nothing more than a library card number. Here's a link to the database section of the San Jose Public Library: www.sjpl.lib.ca.us/research/databases. It leads to a wealth of databases that information about biographies, political speeches, businesses, authors and health, to name a few.

In a similar vein is the Librarians Index to the Internet (www.lii.org), compiled by librarians in California and Washington. It's a searchable subject directory of more than 12,000 Internet resources, each with a short description so you know what you're about to click on. Topics range from health and medicine to Web page design.

• News: Yahoo and Google both have top-notch news search sites that pull in thousands of feeds from around the world. But if you want local news, Topix.net may work better. The site monitors breaking news from more than 6,000 sources and lets users filter results by ZIP code.

Findory News, meanwhile, creates ``personalized'' newspapers. Findory (www.findory.com) watches which news links you click on and then emphasizes those types of stories each time you visit. Interested in India politics? Findory will learn that from your clicking habits and bump those types of stories to the top of its home page.

• Audio searching: ``It's not just the written, but the spoken word that is searchable,'' Price says.

And with that, he points us to SpeechBot (http://speechbot.research.compaq

.com), a search engine for audio and video content. A product of HP Labs in Palo Alto, the site has indexed 17,517 hours of content from sites such as PBS's Online NewsHour, and the Motley Fool Radio Show.

• Blogs: Blogs are increasingly becoming a primary source of news for many people. But neither Yahoo nor Google allow users to limit their Web searches to blogs. For that, you can turn to a bevy of smaller services, including Feedster (www.feedster.com), Technorati (technorati.com)

and DayPop (www.daypop.com). Technorati says it's now tracking more than 2.4 million blogs.

• General searching: Vivisimo (www.vivisimo.com) is not really a search engine because it does not crawl or index the Web. Instead, it organizes the search results from other search engines, clustering them into categories.

Price and Calishain both mentioned Gigablast (www.gigablast.com) as an up-and-coming search site. And Price says AskJeeves (www.ask.com) has improved significantly over the years.

Other general search sites include ZapMeta (www.zapmeta.com) and Mooter (www.mooter.com).

Then there's GuruNet (www.gurunet.com), a small Israeli company whose goal is to take you straight to the information you're seeking.

``Google gives you links,'' Price said. ``Here you get answers.''

The basic package is free. For $29.99 a year, subscribers can access a far bigger storehouse of information.

Contact Michael Bazeley at [email protected]


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thanks for the info, Dude. in truth, i've never had any problems w/google but being a research and news junkie, i love collecting different tools for searching, just in case.

the thing w/Google is to use it as best as can be; one should read their 'advanced searching' tips cause they really do help. i'll use contained phrases in quotes w/a bunch of - (minus signs) and +s before whatever phrase to narrow things down and so far, so good.

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