How Do You Search? What Search Engines Do You Use for Online Research?

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This topic contains 36 replies, has 17 voices, and was last updated by  Tricia 10 years, 11 months ago.

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  • #72018

    Alice M. Fisher

    Does anyone even use a library anymore to do research?
    Do you only use Google?
    And, for what? Everything under the sun?

    Not finding what you are looking for?
    Want to dig deeper?
    Are you aware of all the other search engine options?

    Have you used or experimented with one of the 10 or so new semantic search engines?
    They search differntly. I have attached a document listing them and have provided a resource for you so you can search deeper, intead of just “who” is most popular.

  • #72094


    I was going to say Pandia, but I see you already have it listed along with another favorite I sometimes use – Kartoo!

    I am by no means an IT guru, so I do check searchenginewatch periodically to see what’s out there new, and the latest rankings.

  • #72092

    D. Scott Cobeen

    Library, yes still use, only for the newest tech job specific related book…MOSS 2007 anything and that is more of a glance rather than reading from cover to cover.
    Google has answered all of my search needs and still does so quite well…once in a blue moon, I’ll “Ask Jeeves”.
    The depth of Google search/advanced funcitons are plenty…considering I only have 2 eyes anyway.

  • #72090

    Alice M. Fisher

    Thanks Jerry, yes I agree most of us to probably use Google. And, I think it is THE engine of choice. But, I think there is a new era of search shuffling in as I can begin to seea sort of tagging mania beginninging
    I think having/knowing about a few extra tools at our finger tips is always good. Most times you may need a spoon, other days a fork, but its nice to when some days you may need a knfie, to really discect into something. The semantic engines are driving me a bit batty at the moment, because they are forcing me to think, search a tad bit differently and I get some stuff back thats like….I wasn’t looking for cemetaries. LOL

    Thanks for the comments back. Have a good weekend.

  • #72088

    Alice M. Fisher

    So far only one single solitary library user? Wowsers.
    I go once in a blue moon now, just if I need a wiff of the print, or to touch a real book, and actual turn pages.
    I am kidding. But, I think the last serious time was about 1997. I did step into the new own in Germantown, MD
    and was impressed by its bright open airiness. But, otherwise. Nada.

  • #72086

    Katrina Ivatts

    Yes, I use a library often and think that the information there is often very relevant and reliable. I find using periodical databases such as EBSCOhost to be very useful, especially as you can search using Boolean logic, keywords, using the thesaurus, or a combination of these functions. As a library science student, I also use the Internet, but use it sparingly. The Internet is wonderful for up-to-the minute news, such as CNN. For research purposes, I find that the hits I receive using a library catalog or periodical database are often the most reliable and on target for my research needs. Often, the algorithms used by search engines do not rank items by relevancy as proficiently because companies can pay to have a high ranking in the search results received for various searches.

  • #72084

    Greg Perry

    90% of what I need can be found through Google, Depends on what I am searching for. I also use the Library here at work, but just about everything I need is found somewhere on the web.

    The key is knowing what key words to search for. Having the right words make the difference.

  • #72082

    Peggy Garvin

    What about (tip:use the agency sort tab) or the DoD Site Search at (DoD Sites = default for the search box)?

  • #72080

    Kim Schultz

    Let me state upfront that I am a library science graduate but I’m wondering whether the perception that all research needs are met through Google is because no other sources are consulted. For example, there is a lot of research content only available through subscription databases including government documents, legal materials, and scientific and technical information. Even information freely available online may not be discoverable by Google such as database results….the Deep Web ring a bell? Many public libraries allow you to access subscription systems from home with your library card.

  • #72078

    Alison Raab Labonte

    Alice, this is a great list of semantic search engines! I use quite a few of them, especially Exalead. I would also add to your list — it groups items by keywords (which it extracts on the fly) along the left-hand side, to allow you to drill down a little more deeply into the precise item you are seeking. It seems to be having some difficulties gaining a toehold in the search market — I hope it sticks it out. I’d also second Peggy Garvin’s advocacy of and DTIC.

    I’d like to turn the discussion a little and point out that it’s probable you are all using your libraries (they just might be known as “knowledge centers” or “information research centers”). You’re just doing it virtually. A major reason for that is the digital transition of much useful content, thus the dwindling need for a large library to house books. The materials often still need to be purchased (publishers of valuable information still seem to want to be paid) and managed — all behind the scenes. Thus, it seems you “never use a library anymore.” For example, most libraries have Google Scholar “hooked up” to their subscription research resources so you’ll get to full-text. To take another example, you might be finding via Google or other search engines reports from respected institutions such as EIU, OECD, or IEEE, but your access is gotten for you by your library, which negotiates prices on your behalf and purchases relevant materials for your institution. Finally, I’d like to say that if you are not talking with your resident librarian (or “information specialist” or whatever s/he is called), you probably should. They can let you know about the “gray zone” of information that is not indexed on the web, but HAS to be purchased in some form for you to get access to — a prime example is Jane’s, which has invaluable and expensive content not readily or thoroughly available on any semantic search engine precisely because the publisher does its darnedest to make you pay for its content.

  • #72076

    Alice M. Fisher

    This is a great addition and thanks. I am sure the whole hunt and peck world of
    search is about to change on the Internet as we know it. I will add this to the document.
    Now, as a side comment.

    How do we merge public and private clouds (tagging) to provide better more thorough semantic search?
    Is it a future reality?
    DO we tag everything insight?
    And finally, is there are communicaiton strategy to this whole tagging and semantic search element?
    Should there be? Is anyone doing strategic tagging from a communications perspective?
    Why not? How is anyone gonna find your information that you want the public to have?

  • #72074

    Alice M. Fisher

    You bring up a great point Kim. If I understand Google, it’s algorythms ( all that stuff in the back end) brings results based on link popularity. So if a topic or search item is Popular, it has more weight. That does not mean it is the information/data needed for serious research.

    That’s why it is important to know there are about 2,300 other search engines out there and international ones as well, and now the newer 9-10 semantic search engines. There is more than one place to get information.

  • #72071

    Alice M. Fisher

    Added AllPlus and the Updated Document is attached.

  • #72069

    Adam Harvey

    I’ve been having a lot of fun using the WolframAlpha Computational Knowledge Engine. Their blog is helpful for showing users just how to take advantage of the way it works. From their about page:

    “Wolfram|Alpha’s long-term goal is to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone. We aim to collect and curate all objective data; implement every known model, method, and algorithm; and make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything. Our goal is to build on the achievements of science and other systematizations of knowledge to provide a single source that can be relied on by everyone for definitive answers to factual queries.”

    It isn’t just scientific knowledge though. If you want to compare the promptness of airline flights by company over the past several years, you can do it quite easily.

  • #72067

    Caryn Wesner-Early

    I hope people are using their libraries, particularly the one I work in!

    One of my favorite search engines is It searches only scholarly sources which have been vetted by actual people, so there are no personal sites, Tweets, etc.

    Thanks for the list – there are several that I use, and several that I haven’t seen.

    Caryn Wesner-Early

  • #72065

    Alice M. Fisher

    Caryn, I have not heard of this one you mentioned. For primary research sources, this would be an important one.
    I have added yours to the list with an updated document attached.
    This is the latest version.

  • #72062

    Alice M. Fisher

    Updated Search Engine Document below as of 6/30/2009

  • #72060

    Jonathan D. Abolins

    Kim, you raise an excellent point.

    One of my specialties is OSINT (open source intelligence) and Google, as helpful it can be, is not and should not be the only tool. You mentioned Deep Web and other content that not usually visible to Google. Other tools and services can be be helpful.

    Then there is the issue of not only finding the information but also of evaluativng its accuracy, value, etc. But that’s a discussion topic of its own.

    PS. One of the people I know who is really good at finding information, Cynthia Hetherington, is also a library sciences graduate. Her courses and texts are quite helpful and I recommend them highly. More info

  • #72058

    Jonathan D. Abolins

    Alice, thanks for starting this discussion and for the semantic search engines text.

    I am always looking for new info collection and analysis OSINT tools. One of my interests is finding non-English language info as well as English info. Google will do quite a bit with other languages, but I find some tools that have extra features and helps.

    For example, one of the sites useful for searching Arabic text (including transliterated Arabic) is (
    Interface can be switched among English, Arabic, and French.

    I don’t have my list of other foreign language search tools with me today. I’ll post them later.

  • #72056

    Alice M. Fisher

    Hmmm, this is indeed interesting point.
    So, I came up the the following other International Search Engines. Number one is more specific to what you are talking about I believe, scroll down. It looks as if the site has not been updated since 2003 (copyright date). Of course the mother of all International Search Engines I think is Colossus, see #3. Oh and take a look at the Native American Directory/Portal/Search Engine by Tribe!

    1) Search Engines that search in Foreign Languages
    2) International Search Engine Listings
    3) Colossus:
    4) First Nation & Native American Communities Portal/Directory/Search Engine by Tribe

  • #72053

    Alice M. Fisher

    Search Engine Listing Document Updated V3 as of 7-2-2009

  • #72051

    Diana Louise Morgan

    I utilize the library extensively where I attend my graduate studies. Although not a semantic search engine, for research articles in my field of human services i enjoy using Straightforward scientific journals for this learner.

  • #72049

    Jonathan D. Abolins

    Thank you for the additional international search resources.

    A few more observations about international searches…

    1. There are different approaches to international search tools.
    One is the design of the search interface to support a language. This opens up up the search tool to people who are not good with English.

    Another is to add features that help a search in a particular language. This is a strong point with I mentioned earlier. As you type in Latin character transliteration of Arabic words, the service provides a list of possible Arabic matches. Great for speeding up the search term entry and for dealing with variations. (By the way, it’s a good educational resource for those of use, like me, who are Arabic students.)

    2. In some foreign language searches, things are complicated by workarounds that people may use to evade censors. In Chinese, for example, people may use characters that sound similar to a censored word in hopes it will not be detected. If the searcher doesn’t know Chinese well enough, she might not think of doing searches on the possible soundalikes.

    For a glimpse at this issue, there’s a good video on Cyber-Attribution that mentions linguistic issues in evaluating Internet information. It’s geared more for the info security or intelligence professionals, but some of the insights are useful for other info finders.

    This soundalike issue points to an interesting search project for somebody to develop: a slightly fuzzy phonetic matching system for specific languages. I don’t know of one yet.

    3. For people really interested in some of the foreign language issues, including keyword matching ones, take a look at the documents from Basis Technology’s Knowledge Center.

    4. It is said that picture is worth a thousand words. In foreign language searches, this can be quite true. For example, a few years ago, I was searching for info on a Russian made data destruction device called “Raskat” (Раскат – “thunder clap”). I was getting many hits for things such as construction equipment. Switching to an image search, I could zero in on things that looked “computerish”.

    5. Finally, one of the foreign language helps I use is, believe it ot not, Wikipedia. Besides searching directly in Wikipedia, one can look up a topic in English and, from the topic’s page, see if there’s a version in the target language. Also, many entries concerning non-English words or names will include a rendition of the text in the original language. That can help further searches.

  • #72047

    Jonathan D. Abolins

    Another international search resource that is connected to a library, this one in Russia. Below is a copy of an FYI I posted to an OSINT group on LinkedIn.

    While not exactly a “Russian Lexis-Nexis”, the site < > has some possibilities, especially for scientific journal searches. The site is maintained by the Russian Federal Agency for Science and Innovation < >.

    The site allows you to select the language for the interface (Интерфейс). Choices are for Russian, English, and Lithuanian. But you may be better off working in Russian or trying to use the site through Google Translate. Not everything is translated by the site’s Interface option.

    Many of the site’s features require you to register for an account. I haven’t signed up yet, but it appears to be cost-free.

  • #72045

    Henry Brown

    Primary search engine is Google but will use other specific tools for specific searches: Examples: mapquest for mapping information; bloglines for searching blog entries; for searching wiki’s; for telephone information; for “pricing information”. Will on occasion try some of the other “generic” search engines but keep going back to Google as my default perhaps because it has become part of my browser’s engine. Am currently “test driving” bing with some success.

  • #72043

    Alice M. Fisher

    Hmmm, this is an interesting point you bring up on how to find “other” informaiton. So, are these actually “search engines” which you mention?

  • #72041

    Alice M. Fisher

    Thank you for this addition. Anyone ever consider the wealth of information at the Library of Congress?
    Did you know it is a treasure trove of information?

    It the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts/

    Are there any of you out there within our ranks who knows how to best access and use this wealth of information in a useful way?

    And is there a single useful link from an informaiton search perspective that we could use and add to the overall search engine list? Is any of the Library of Congress able to provide semantic search capabilities in any way?

    I got off on a tangent, but oft times discussions will raise other new questions….LOL

  • #72039

    Alice M. Fisher

    I am digressing from this original post about search engines and adding a tangent topic.
    Business Search Engines/directories would be useful tools to know.

    Therefore, I add the following list. I appologize in advance that I did not build in the links yet.
    It is of course global in it’s context.

    Are there others? Please feel free to add to this list with comments. – A business search engine and directory for business and trade related publications.
    BizEurope – Extensive directory and trade portal for European businesses. – Large business search engine and directory.
    HongKong Business Directory – Directory of information for over 100,000 HongKong based businesses.
    World Trade Search – Search engine and trade directory for businesses in North America, Europe and Asia.
    Jayde – Popular business to business search engine. Find businesses in many different markets. – Find thousands of business websites around the web with this search engine.
    Cyber TradeZone – Global directory of importers and exporters.
    Zibb – A global search engine for finding businesses on the web. – Trade directory of products from Chinese Suppliers.
    MasterSeek – Find businesses and contact information from companies in 75 countries. Filter results to specific countries.
    BusinesSeek – Global business directory and search engine. – Directory of over 2 million businesses and products from around the globe. – Small business search engine provided by
    BusinessCrawler – Large business search engine and directory.
    BizAhead – International business to business directory. – Extensive Global trade directory, many different products and manufacturers available.

  • #72037

    Lisa Coates

    Wow 90% of those are new to me. Most of the time I just use Google, but I like bing & also. Thanks for sharing them.

  • #72035

    Amanda Blount

    WOW I did not know there were so many. Of course I use mostly GOOGLE. But, I am always up for new information. I am going to take some time this weekend to look up the samething on each search engine and see what pops up. This looks like a fun weekend!

  • #72033

    Alice M. Fisher

    For the longest time., had
    been favorites because it is a meta search engine=search many sites at once.
    Mamma evolved well after which is a much older meta search engine
    Don’t forget to visit for a better look at ALL kinds of search engines and directories

  • #72031

    Henry Brown

    Interesting blog posting on John Murrell’s blog on

    The Title of which is “Moving past “one search fits all”

    Posted by John Murrell on September 15th, 2009 at 6:52 am

    We’ve been doing it this way for so long now, it’s easy to forget what an unnatural process Internet search is as currently constituted — making an educated guess at the right set of keywords, then another educated guess as to which of the resulting list of links will be the most useful, then backtracking and fine-tuning as necessary. Like typing, keyword searching is a hack, a skill we’re forced to acquire until our machines become sophisticated enough to communicate with us more naturally. It’s good technique for locating certain types of information, the more specific the better, in certain well-indexed data sets, but a simple text entry box and the proverbial “10 blue links” barely begin to cover the diversity in the nature of what we seek, our varying methods of acquiring and sorting information, and the wealth of ways in which that information can be displayed. The vision of an artificially intelligent, natural language interface that can accurately gauge your intent and adapt the presentation to the nature of the results is still a ways off, but we’re starting to see the major search sites experimenting more with different types of searches for different needs. At the TechCrunch50 event Monday, Google and Microsoft provided a pair of examples.

    ©Copyright 2009 Media News Group

  • #72029

    Alice M. Fisher

    More search options are evolving breaking away from traditional search engines, including near real time aggregated search/information, or the buzz on the street by
    point out in a recent blog, the concept of Nowism or Now PR.

    I would like to specifically draw your attention to:

    1) Omgili is a new way to find out what people are saying about anything and everything. Plug in a Federal agency name, any name to try it out.

    Omgili is a way to find “subjective information”. As opposed to traditional search engines, which search for sites and pages, Omgili finds consumer opinions, debates, discussions, personal experiences, answers and solutions. Let’s say you want to see the buzz now about healthcare now. Omgili also allows on to create chatter graphs such as the one I added to my website for demonstration purposes.

    2) MicroBlogging Relevance and Influence aggregators like Twitalyzer to evaluate the activity of any Twitter user and report on dozens of useful measures of success in social media, and the top real-time influencers on Twitter.

    2) Individual reverse social media tracking such as

    3) Reverse Image Mining like TinEye:

    4) or allows you see the aggregated live buzz on the street anywhere in the US or World and all twitter accounts from in a zoomed in locality.

    Audiences demographics, socal context for a social commerce is moving closer to be near real time.

  • #72027

    Fred Gagnon

    I’ve been giving bing a shot lately. I like it.

    Atlanta Online Marketing

  • #72025

    Kristin Dziadul

    I mainly use Google and then if I want to delve deeper into real time searches I use Twitter Advanced Search. Both provide highly relevant and recent results targeted to exactly what I need.


  • #72023

    Caryn Wesner-Early

    A couple of people have mentioned Google Scholar, which is one I recommend to users. Another good one for prescreened scientific literature is Scirus ( It’s particluarly good for searching patents, although Google Patents is also good for that. There are also a number of specialized search engines that I use as necessary, for topics from cooking to electrical engineering to roller coasters. And, of course, Google for “regular” stuff!

  • #72021

    Alice M. Fisher

    Are there any updates to this thread? How about all inclusive Government search engines?

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