PSE - Web Search Tools

Last modified 2005 MAR 03 19:04:08 GMT
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SavvySearchYahooDejaNewsAlta VistaOpen TextLycos
CUSIVirtually UnlimitedInfoSeekMcKinleyWebCrawler

Page summary:

We all know there is lots of information on the Internet. The promise of something for everybody, information at your fingertips. But finding that information can be a daunting task. This page attempts to collect links to sites all around the web which help you find what you're looking for. I don't claim that this is a one-stop complete reference - there are far too many things on the net for me to even attempt to be comprehensive. However, I do believe that many of the sites presented here should cover a vast majority of the big search sites -- the ones that together probably represent 95% or so of the actual searches performed on the net.

The easy way to use this page is to save it to your local hard disk, and to make a local bookmark to it with whatever software you use. Periodically check back here for updates to this page (the modification date at the top represents the most recent modification to this page).

If you're seriously interested in finding things when you want to find them, I highly suggest you read through the descriptions of the various search tools, and perform sample searches on them. You might not need to find something right now, but you'll be in a much better position to find it when you do need to if you're aware of the facilities that are available. Don't wait until you need to get somewhere in a hurry before you first learn to drive...

And, please do me a favour: if you should come across a useful web searching resource that isn't listed here, please EMail me at webmaster@mail.professional.orgwith information about the link, and I'll see about adding it here for everyone's use.

I started to make this page an attempt at being a fairly comprehensive list of search tools, several of which I use, and found it started to get way out of hand (as evidenced by the number of links here -- I stopped actively counting them when the list passed 100. There are currently over 150 links). As this page can bear testimony: The net isn't lacking in information or resources -- often your problem won't be NOT finding something, but rather trying to find it in the array of information you DO find. I wish you luck.

The BIG ones. The ones you should keep track of, because alone, they'll handle most of your queries, and generally faster than any of the others. Reguardless of whether you are currently looking for information, browsing these sites right now will give you a better idea of what you can expect to locate via these services:

SavvySearchYahooDejaNewsAlta VistaOpen TextLycos
CUSIVirtually UnlimitedInfoSeekMcKinleyWebCrawler

(not listed in any particular order)

* SavvySearch is a multiple-engine front end, which submits your search request to other engines, and presents you with the combined results. This isn't an engine which simply asks which other service to use -- it uses them automatically, and the results are reported with which service found them. This uses Yahoo, OpenText, WebCrawler, Lycos, plus PathFinder, DejaNews, InfoSeek, FTPSearch95, Galaxy, Inktomi, SIFT, PointSearch, YellowPages, Internet Movie Database, CSTR, Virtual Software Library, Aliweb, NIKOS, and TribalVoice (all of which are individually available from the page you are viewing). And the list is added to regularly. Is that enough different engines? Of course, with all this capability, it is worth noting that this is an experimental interface... I sure hope it survives. BTW - Since THEY submit the search requests, I belive their access to InfoSeek bypasses you entirely, meaning this tool may allow you to continue to access InfoSeek without having to subscribe. Did I mention it is multilingual too? I put this at the top of the list because it is the tool I usually use to find things myself - so I fibbed, there is some small modicum of order to the search tool listing.
* Yahoo is one of the major web resource searching tools, with its data presented in a hierarchical, topical index. If you haven't heard of Yahoo, you haven't been paying much attention.
* DejaNews allows you to search Usenet news for specific text. The beauty of it is that they archive for some months of historical posts (at least about four months back, if not more), and Usenet can contain a LOT of discussions about topics of interest, and have pointers to resources -- which become links inside the viewed documents from this service. Very cool. When I'm looking for something from very specific to vague, this is one of my first stops. Try searching on the partial URL you have. There's a good chance it'll come up -- plus many URLs found in news articles are linked from the display, so you can just go there... This is an excellent search tool, since you can find things which in and of themseleves are not web resources, but passing conversations on the net.
* DEC Alta Vista. Digital Equipment Corp. just brought a new site online. It does web as well as news searches. They have a versatile query language (which allows you to narrow your search using logic operators). Personally, I've found their news archive to be lacking (DejaNews is much better, IMHO).
* Open Text is the technology underneath the original Yahoo, and the creators of it run their own site. This puppy is FAST. Their database is created by following URLs around the web and copying the contents of the pages they point to, indexing them, and then allowing this engine to search the database.
* Lycos is one of the more popular, but often crowded (the drawback of being popular) search sites. This searches more than just WWW -- it also searches gopher and FTP, which means this site is sure to turn up SOMETHING. It is one of several web-searching "bots", and includes the ability to sumbit the URLs of your own documents, so that they can be found by other surfers. Also: Lycos at an alternate site (actually, the Lycos one, but I find this is ofttimes slower). It can also be found at another alternate site. You can also get help. The Lycos Home Page: Hunting WWW Information
* CUSI at Internet Direct. (CUSI = Configurable Unified Search Engine) This is a VERY handy starting point page for a variety of searches. They tie in almost all the major web search tools, and provide a single interface to launch queries through the various sites. The original search query stays in effect between same-session searches. It support all sorts of searches - not just web: people, files, documents (like RFCs and draft standards), DICTIONARIES (ever wonder what "FUBAR" means? Check out the Hacker's Dictionary). This is one helluva useful link. Expect it to improve. Also: CUSI at Nexor web and CUSI at Nexor pubweb.
* Virtually Unlimited is a page of other search tool links, and pointers to useful information.
* InfoSeek Net Search Infoseek provides access many Web pages, as well as continuous newswires, business, computer, scientific, and health publications. After an evaluation period on this system though, use of this service is subscription only (i.e. it is a COMMERCIAL service). The commercial service (at US$.10 per query) also provides search access to newsgroups, whereas the free service only searches the web.
* The McKinley is Netcom's "partner in Web indexing technology". A growing list of searchable sites.
* WebCrawler Helps locate information on the Internet. While it can find an impressive amount of information, since it indexes on content (not just a few keywords), it can often return a lot of unrelated documents which happen to make reference to some of your query terms. To its credit, it does a good job of organizing the documents it finds according to how closely they matched your search. Also: WebCrawler at WSU.

Useful links, search tools, and lists:

(in no specific order)
* LEO - Munich Music Archive. This isn't really a SEARCH tool, but it is a browseable online database of lyrics for a growing list of popular songs.
* Domain Country Code Lookup. A little thing I wrote to tell you what country/function a specific domain is associated with. Nothing fancy, but it'll you that should be in Switzerland.
* DriverFinder. Locates updated Win95 and NT drivers.
* IWeb Welcome Page
* Library of Information Resources
* Find-It!
* InterNIC Database Services (Public Databases)
* Gopher Index gopher:// dblookup
* Gopher Index gopher://
* WWPR Profile Search
* All Topics
* Seanet Yellow Web Pages (Index)
* WWW Jump Pad
* The English Server at CMU
* Index to Multimedia Information Sources
* Content Router
* WHERE.COM LinkSearch
* Web 13 WWW Search
* Internet Search
* Publicly Accessible Mailing Lists
* Neosoft Search
* Wandex, the World Wide Web Wanderer Index
* The Internet Sleuth Netscape What's New.
* What's New Too!.
* Netcenter.
* The Internet Movie Database, and a direct link to search. This is an excellent tool for looking up who was in a movie, or what movies someone was in.
* is an interesting tool. Not exactly a SEARCH engine in the normal theme -- it actually is a tool which recommends movies you may be interested in based on other movies you indicate you like.
* Starting Point MetaSearch. This is a multi-engine search tool which formats a single query for manual submission to various search engines, but unlike SavvySearch, it doesn't submit them.
* NlightN. It has a very basic search interface, but offers searching of Information Databases, News Briefings, Archived News, Desktop References, Titles in a Discount Bookstore, and a WWW Internet Index. The catch: It is commercial. I'd say, if you're looking for something of a general reference nature, or which appears in a newspaper publication, this would be a good place to poke around.
* Inktomi. A good friend of mine indicates that this tool came up with some elusive information he couldn't find via other tools, so perhaps if you're having trouble finding something, or it is way off the beaten path, you should swing by here and have a look.
* Netcom WebNews. This is a Netcom customer-only news feature. It lists current news items of interest, as well as other stuff.
* Excite. Searches Web documents (1.5 Million, refreshed weekly so they say), Usenet, and Usenet Classifieds. Only a 2 week history on Usenet though. This is a service to watch...
* All-in-One Search Page. A page of links to engines.
* Linkstar.
* Archie. An FTP file finder.
* The Clearinghouse.
* The Victory List, a list of search sites constructed by another Netcom user.
* Internet Search Engines
* Meta Crawler. Similar to SavvySearch, it submits your request to multiple search engines simultaniously, and integrates the results for presentation. Also at an alternate site.
* Apollo is an advertising search tool (and web page service).
* Mark "Baron Von" Reichman's Search Page. Another combined search tool page.
* Search Central. You guessed it: a centralized search page.
* Web Search Engines. Another list. Search forms on page.
* Rick Search's Homepage. As of the last time I took a look, among the variety of personal and informational links he has, he lists several search links at the bottom of his page.
* Another Web Directory. Hey, the name says it all.
* Another Search Directory. Oddly simiar to the one above. Where ever do they come up with these names?
* Search Tools. This page lists some good search tools.
* Query Interface to the CS Technical Report Harvest Broker
* Help for Broker Queries
* Query Interface to the PC Software Harvest Broker
* Tom's Cool Connections. Lists many of the same resources listed here, and many I don't.
* New City Global Mall. They've got a big list of search links.
* James Cook University Search Services. North Queensland.
* Christopher "Fur" Garry's W3 Search Engines page. Another collection.
* Virtual Software Library. Find files on the net.
* Pathfinder.
* Aliweb.
* Nexor ALIWEB
* FTPSearch95.
* Internet Movie Database.
* TribalVoice.
* CSTR. This is a document index offering search facilities. Documents are generally of the technical and thesis type. Some very cool stuff can be found with this if you're into technical reading.
* PointSearch.
* Websearchers and Information Sites.
* The JumpStation Search Page.
* WebSearch. A gopher based searcher
* Subject Listings & Web Searching.
* CCA Web Search.
* ZIBIS Search Engine. WAIS search.
* The Usenet News Finder
* SIFT. A News search tool, similar to DejaNews.
* TradeWave/EInet Galaxy. In addition to conventional keyword search, they also have a subject tree. This is pretty much a topic sorted web site list with 'Search the Galaxy' feature. It lists 'frequent word' counts as well as brief descriptions. A useful resource which should be part of anyone's toolbox.
* RBSE URL Search. and at an alternate URL.
* BOBAWORLD Provides multiple search forms and devices that search across databases simultaneously.
* Nikos
* The Whole Internet Catalog. Also here.
* CUI W3 Catalog Semi-automated global index.
* CUI WWW Search Engines. A list of other search engines available on the net.
* GNA Meta-Library Manually maintatined site (therefore not as up to date as some others).
* CityScape On-Line Directory
* Using the Internet - McGill Philosophy. A well organized page listing services available on the net (not comprehensive, but a good start). Includes links to mailing lists, email addresses, and some guides to internet tools.
* Searching the Internet. A page offering links to some useful search engines.
* comp.infosystems.announce
* World Wide Web Worm - a Big database. Compiled by Oliver McBryan. Lean-and-mean, it builds its index based strictly on page titles and URL contents. The drawback to this is that it is less inclusive, but those pages it does find are more likely to be an exact match with your needs, and may generally be better organized content anyway, since the pages will have needed to key the subject matter in the TITLE area (which all pages SHOULD do, but many don't).
* Amdahl's Internet Exploration Page.
* Eurolink Searches European web sites
* CityScape Global On-Line Directory. A manually maintained site.
* Joel's Hierarchical Subject Index
* DA-CLOD A "user supported" database -- you enter interesting sites, and they become available for others to search on as well.
* Tupilak This search mechanism "mines" the Internet for new URLs (Uniform Resource Locators) and adds them to the Internet Resouce database.
* comp.infosystems.announce refers to your local News system for the actual articles (which may no longer exist). This requires a news-capable browser (i.e. NOT NetCruiser).
* Internet World Magazine. This is a link to a WEb Guide provided by a magazine publisher. Worth the stop.
* WWW Home Ports for Individuals and Corporations
* Widow's Web A homepage list.
* (Spider's Web) Hot Links Menubar (drop down)
* Scott Yanoff's list of Internet Resources
* WWW Sitelist
* The Complete Home Page Directory
* UMich SILS Subject Reference Page
* NCSA World Wide Web Starting Points Document
* Experimental Search Engine Meta-Index
* Searching the Web.
* Useless Home Pages
* John December's Search Hints
* John December's list of Internet Resources
* Internet Distribution Services
* The Topography of Planet Shmooze
* Time Warner Pathfinder. Try starting entertainment searches here.
* Film and Video Indexes
* World Wide Web Servers Listing of web servers around the globe.
* Commercial Web Servers Listing of commercial servers.
* University WWW Servers
* Government Agency Servers
* Government WWW resources relating to the Environment
* Internet Education Resources Guide.
* Enterprise Integration Technologies Web Resources
* Family Internet
* (CERN) The World-Wide Web Virtual Library: Subject Catalogue
* Global Information Server
* Search & Find--Internet Resource Locators.

Useful web tools:

(Tools I've found to be useful on a number of occasions, and are at least moderatley related to searching)
* WEB Finger Tool. This is a tool which allows fingering accounts via web links (instead of having to use a finger client directly). To use in your own web page, enter the domain name after the path in the link, a slash, and then the userid. Follow that by another slash and a w for some special formatting that the tool provides:

People Finders:

(Resources to use when trying to locate someone)
I should mention that many of the conventional search tools will prove useful in tracking people down -- DejaNews and other Usenet news search tools are quite good at locating news postings originating from a specific individual. If the person is likely to have a web page of their own, you might find them through a number of other search tools as well. Several of the search tools here cover non-net information (that is, the person you're looking for doesn't need to be on the net, and the information returned may not include an EMail address even if they have one). Your best bet is to use several tools to conduct your search, using information gleaned from one tool to assist with narrowing the search in another.

* WhoWhere? A unified people and organization locator.
* LookUP Directory Services. A user finder.
* World Wide Yellow Pages. Search for businesses on the net. Add to the list.
* YellowPages. Another Yellow pages site. Specifically, the New Rider's Yellow pages.
* 411 Find people on the net. Add yourself to the list.
* Switchboard Find people on the net. Add yourself to the list.
* World EMail Directory is somewhat similar to 411, but currently seems to be nowhere near as extensive. However, that doesn't mean you should pass over it in performing a search.
* NetFind. A White-pages directory search of the Internet. This is a good way to search for someone.
* NetFind. The official InterNIC netfind utility.
* MIT Usenet name server. This IS NOT a web page, but is instead a mail-based people finder. This service can help to locate people on the net. If they've ever posted to a distributed Usenet group (that is, a newsgroup which isn't a newsgroup which remains local to a single service -- most newsgroups qualify), then there exists a good chance MIT has logged them. This service will mail you back a log of the people matching the keywords you've given. It accepts commands in the form:
send usenet-addresses/keyword
It can accept multiple such lines in a request. The commands go in the BODY of the message, not in the SUBJECT. The report may take several hours to generate and reply, and will consist of AT MOST 50 names per keyword. Suggested keywords are whatever you think might most uniquely identify the person -- a nickname you know they go by, or expected account names (the person's initials, or concatenations of their first and last names). Don't search by a first name like "Dave" and expect your friend is going to show up in the 50 names returned -- too many names will match on a common keyword.
* Searching on the user's name using Usenet news searching tools (such as DejaNews and SIFT) will often work well in locating people.
* Another possibility is using the products from Pro CD, Inc., who produce phonebooks on CD-ROM. Their page usually allows you to perform some sample searches (not the whole database, but perhaps just a single areacode). The product is really very good (I've purchased several updates over the years) - reverse search from phone numbers, partial names, addresses, you name it. BUT - this doesn't give you an EMail address - this is simply a fully-indexed national telephone directory. I find it quite useful, and opted to include it here since so many of the requests I get for information on how to locate an old buddy apparently isn't always in relation to the Net...
* American Directory Assistance
* HEP Virtual Phonebook
* InfoSpace
* Ultimate White Pages. This is a very useful search tool which allows you to do REVERSE phone number searches in addition to the regular searches. This means if you have a phone number and want to find out where it is or who lives there, this may be the tool for you. Keep in mind, you'll only get results for published listings.
* World Yellow Pages Network
* Yahoo! People Search. This is supposed to be a white-pages phonebook search of the US.
* Yahoo! - Business and Economy:Companies:Information:Investigative Services This is a link to the Yahoo section on IS.
* 1-800-U.S. SEARCH is a fee-based people locator. Pricey, but if you REALLY need to find someone, this might be the way.
* People Finder
* Ancestry, Inc. has links to several facilities for genealogical purposes. Used correctly, this can be used to locate living people (don't ask me to explain).
* Social Security Administration. A stop along the highway of locating someone. Possibly.
* Social Security Death Index (SSDI) Search. This is a direct link to the SSDI which is offered from Ancestry, Inc.
* The alt.adoption FAQ may provide you with a wealth of other resources for tracking someone down.
* The KnowX is a public records search facility. They charge money, but their ability to locate someone isn't restricted to data normally found on the net (that is, Aunt Hilda doesn't need to have a webpage in order for you to find her).
* The Electronic Mail FAQ provides a number of useful resources for locating email addresses.
* Email Address finding tools is a comprehensive list of network tools available to locate people on the net.

A few words of caution for people-searchers: Just because a name pops up as a match in a search, DO NOT assume it is your old friend. You might be suprised at just how common some "uncommon" names are. Some people don't react nicely when their privacy is invaded by someone presuming they are some old friend (or debtor, or whatever). You should probably get into recognizing the domain names of systems (check my Domain Country Code Lookup tool for doing just this), so you can more easily weed out false hits (for instance, if the domain ends in .fi it is a system in Finland -- do you REALLY expect that is where your long lost friend is?). While we're at it - try to remember that not everyone understands English.

Law search tools.

American Law Sources On-line, (ALSO!) is a comprehensive compilation of links to all on-line sources of American law that are available free of charge. Law resources are limited to North America.

FindLaw is a searchable collection of legal resources. They also have a LawCrawler tool for searching the web for legal resources.

The New York Law Journal has a couple of pages of mega links to law resources. One specializes in General Law, and the other is Topic Specific.


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