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Alternative and Custom Search Tools

We all know about the search engines like Google and Bing. But there are literally thousands of other search engines and services out there. Here's a sampling of what you can find.

larger image of https://www.bananaslug.com/

image of https://www.bananaslug.com/

BananaSlug - Search Serendipity

When searching, you'll start with the most popular pages pages for your search term. But you won't see relevant or interesting results "way down the list". BananaSlug is all about serendipity: it "adjusts" your search and reveals results you might otherwise never see.

Type in your search, then click a category button. A random word from that category is added to your search and the results are displayed. Click the button again and a different word is added. The results can be informative. Try something like remote learning and click [Themes from Shakespeare].

larger image of https://search.carrot2.org/#/web

image of https://search.carrot2.org/#/web

Carrot2

Carrot2 takes search results and assigns them into thematic folders. Search on a topic like 3D Printing to see it in action.

It was created originally as a demo application for the Carrot2 clustering engine, a set of algorithms that organize search results into thematic folders. Click on the About link on the page to learn more about how it works.

larger image of https://www.base-search.net/

image of https://www.base-search.net/

Bielefeld Academic Search Engine

BASE is one of the world's most voluminous search engines especially for academic web resources. BASE indexes more than 150 million curated documents from more than 7,000 sources. You can access the full texts of about 60% of the indexed documents for free (Open Access). BASE is operated by Bielefeld University Library. A research tool for older students.

larger image of https://millionshort.com/

image of https://millionshort.com/

Million Short

Million Short started out as an experimental web search engine that allows you to filter out popular sites and discover good and interesting resources put out by "the smaller guys". Similar to the BananaSlug web site, you enter your search terms and select how far down the list you'd like to look.

Entering a search term like aardvark and then removing the top million results revealed a sports shop, aardvark straws, a parody web site, pictures, and a blues online radio station.

Caution!

  • Some of the resources listed here may not have a "safe search" option. You might want to first use these sites for your own research, rather than just giving out the URLs to your students.
  • It's always a good idea to check search term results before handing out Internet based research assignments!
larger image of https://freesound.org/

image of https://freesound.org/

Freesound

Search engines can provide more than just text or images. Freesound indexes a large collection of audio snippets, samples, recordings, bleeps, and tracks. Most recordings are released under a Creative Commons non-commercial license, making it easy and safe to use these sounds in school projects.

larger image of https://www.abbreviations.com/

image of https://www.abbreviations.com/

Abbreviations

Abbreviations.com is a large and comprehensive directory and search engine for acronyms, abbreviations and initialisms on the Internet.

Abbreviations.com holds hundreds of thousands of entries organized by a large variety of categories from computing and the Web to governmental, medicine and business. Type in an acronym or search by category.

larger image of http://web.archive.org/web/20181213025545/http://philb.com/webse.htm

image of http://web.archive.org/web/20181213025545/http://philb.com/webse.htm

Phil Bradley's Internet Search Engine List

The idea for this page and many of these links came from Phil Bradley's Internet Search Engine page. While no longer maintained, Phil listed over 180 web search resources.

Looking thru the list can give you a better idea of the breadth of resources available on the Internet.

larger image of https://www.deepdyve.com/

image of https://www.deepdyve.com/

DeepDyve

DeepDyve is designed for scientific and scholarly research, with access to over 18 million articles from nearly 15,000 peer-reviewed journals. Abstracts and many articles can be accessed for free following links in the Details tab.

larger image of https://gigablast.com

image of https://gigablast.com

Gigablast

Gigablast, created by Matt Wells in 2000, is one of the few search engines that maintains its own index of over a billion pages. Provide an interesting alternative to Google results.

Check out the Directory tab, which breaks out resources by categories.

larger image of https://www.uszip.com/

image of https://www.uszip.com/

USZip

USZip indexes geographic and demographic data by zip code or city name. Information includes population age and race distributions and income, employment and housing data.

Sites like these are a great data resource for math and social science classes. Compare nearby zip codes. How do areas of a nearby large city compare to each other.

larger image of https://www.imdb.com/

image of https://www.imdb.com/

Internet Movie Database

IMDb is an example of a specialized search engine and database dedicated to a single area of expertise. IMDb's searchable database includes millions of movies, TV and entertainment programs, plus an index of cast and crew members.

larger image of https://yandex.com/

image of https://yandex.com/

Yandex

Yandex Search is the primary web search engine used in Russia and is owned by Russian corporation Yandex. Yandex uses its own search algorithms and can provide different results than Google.

larger image of https://www.baidu.com/

image of https://www.baidu.com/

Baidu

Baidu is a Chinese based company, hosting the most popular search engine in China. While the site does not have an English version, you can enter English search terms and get results.

In December 2007, Baidu became the first Chinese company to be included in the NASDAQ-100 index. The Internet truly is global.

Search sites like Yandex and Baidu can give you insights as to what's important in other countries. What do the results for the same search topic tell you about the country?

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