Monday, 8 August 2011

Week 9 Search Engines beyond Google

Week 9 Search engines beyond Google

We all use Google, and all use it every day. There are lots of tips to get the most out of it, but have you ever used any other search engines? Those of us old enough to remember the early days of the web (hey anyone else remember the Netscape/Mosaic web browser face off?) may remember that you searched mostly via subject browsing and directories. You may also remember searching via subject sites from
BUBL. This is no longer being updated, but brought together sites classified using Dewey so that you could browse for topics. Google soon swept the board though. But wait a minute, my laptop defaults to searching via Bing! Should I try another search engine?

Thing  21 Look at some other search engines and search tools
This week we want you to take a look at some other search engines, and to blog on which ones you prefer, and what you would use in future. If you find a new search engine, please share it with other 23 Things participants via your blog.

There are lots of different search engines out there, but the main rivals to Google are


Ask (was Ask Jeeves)

Try running the same search across each of these and see how results compare. Have you found useful hits which you didn't see on Google? Are there useful features you like on these other search engines?

University of Berkley has a useful search engine comparison guide which also includes the Exalead search engine
SearchEngineLand has useful guides to using Google, Bing and Yahoo

You can see some very extensive lists of other search engines from the SearchEngineList and from internet guru Phil Bradley

Other search tools enable you to focus on specific types of data or on particular subjects. These allow you to cut out some of the less relevant or less academic results. Here are a few for you to consider - don't forget to blog about ones for other subjects so as to share with other participants.

Wolfram Alpha Not a general search engine - rather a 'computational search engine' so great for finding statistics, mathematical equations, data, musical chords etc. You can check their subject examples for a suprisingly wide range of topics

Scirus for scientific information including journal articles, researcher information etc

TechXtra for engineering, mathematics and computing

 Open Access Repositories

Most universities have set up archives of research content available as open access institutional repositories. As you will know, we're in the process of setting up our repository at City.
Repositories can contain full text access to pre-print versions of journal articles, theses, working papers etc. Much research is freely available, although sometimes there will be time delayed embargoes. This can mean that you will find different versions for example you may find the authors finished word document rather than the actual typeset and published article.

Many of the hits you may find via Google Scholar are mined from open access repositories, but you can search repositories via Opendoar a world wide repository listing and directory. An alternative is Oaister which is now part of the WorldCat family. You can always go directly to a University's homepage and search to see if they have a repository. This can be especially useful if you're looking for a thesis from another country or are looking for further information on a project associated with the university in question.

Thing 22 Meta Search engines and comparing search results from different search engines

It's important to compare the different number and type of results you've found between different search engines. Does the quality of result vary? Do different search engines offer different types of materials e.g. images or data? This will help you reflect on the nature of the web - can we ever search everything via a single search box? How much stuff is not included in search engines?

Meta Search Engines

These search across several search engines so that you don't have to repeat your search in each one - although I find that results do vary. Try running your search in one of the engines directly, and then compare the number of results you find running the same search using one of the meta engines – do you get the same number of results or not?  searches google, bing and yahoo and will state if results are exclusive to any of the providers Dogpile seems similar as it searches google, bing and yahoo and will state if results are exclusive to any of the providers. The design is quite cute with dog images though! You can search the UK version and compare results  Zuula searches several different engines in addition to google, bing and yahoo. You can see results by each provider in results tabs at the top of the screen. You'll see very wide variation between the different sets of results – you may also discover some odd results 
Try searching for your name in Zuula. How do the results compare? Why do you think that is? Is Google still your favourite search engine?


Cool Extra Thing - Google Fun
There are lots of fun things you can do that use Google. Here are three of them (warning some may be addictive)

A Google a Day
On this site they pose a question every day and you have to use Google to find the answer. The questions are not always easy.

Let Me Google That For You
Do you get fed up with people asking you a question they could just as easily google for themselves?
Let Me Google That For You shows them how they could have done it.
You enter the question and then send them the link.
Here's an example of the results:

Google Search Stories
This site allows you to record a story using Google Searches.

Here's a Toy Story one (warning may contain spoilers) and here's one I prepared earlier.

Have fun!


  1. I have no words for this great post such a awe-some information i got gathered. Thanks to Author.

  2. Hi to all, it's genuinely a nice for me to go to see this web page, it consists of valuable Information.

    my web page ... sonicare toothbrush

  3. Hmm is anyone else having problems with the pictures on
    this blog loading? I'm trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it's the blog.
    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

    my web-site - ├╝bersetzung englisch deutsch kostenlos