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Alternative Search Tools


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Alternatives to Google for searching. Presentation given as part of the Web Search Academy, pre conference workshop at Internet Librarian International, 26th October 2011

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Alternative Search Tools

  1. 1. Web Search Academy Internet Librarian International 26th October 2011 Alternative Search Tools Karen Blakeman Twitter: @karenblakeman [email_address] 26/10/11
  2. 2. Why not Google? <ul><li>Google mangling your search </li></ul><ul><ul><li>correcting correct search terms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>weird automatic synonym searching </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>not searching for all of your terms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ personalisation” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Best results may be at the bottom of your results list </li></ul><ul><ul><li>other search tools rank and order documents in different ways </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Google can’t look inside databases or password protected areas </li></ul><ul><li>Specialist information requires specialist tools </li></ul>26/10/11
  3. 3. Bing and Yahoo <ul><li>Yahoo now uses Bing’s database and ranking algorithms for most country versions </li></ul><ul><li>Many of the Advanced Search commands are similar to Google’s </li></ul><ul><ul><li>see Search Tools Summary and Comparison </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Bing advanced search screen minimalist - use commands </li></ul><ul><ul><li>detailed list at Advanced Operator Reference (some no longer work) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Also beware – “Bing Adds Adaptive Search, Customized by Your Search History - Search Engine Watch” </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>26/10/11
  4. 4. Bing and Yahoo 26/10/11 Bing and Yahoo starting to behave like Google and automatically “correcting” what they think are mistakes Need to prefix terms with + signs or use “..” around terms to force exact match (Google now only allows “..”)
  5. 5. Bing <ul><li>Most of the interesting developments and features are only available in the US version </li></ul><ul><li>Results tend to be more consumer/retail focused unless using advanced search features </li></ul><ul><li>Coverage not identical to Google’s - sometimes yields important unique content, especially in research and business </li></ul><ul><li>Often more up to date than Google </li></ul>26/10/11
  6. 6. Bing Maps <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Classic” </li></ul></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><ul><li>uses Sliverlight </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>more interactive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>automatically changes type of view as you zoom in </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Multimap, Birdseye, Aerial, Streetside (not available for all towns or countries), Ordnance Survey Map view </li></ul><ul><li>“ After Little Resistance in Germany, Bing Expands Streetside Photos Across Europe” </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Often has problems finding correct location or finding anything at all </li></ul><ul><ul><li>have to try various combinations of terms e.g. Portsmouth Central Library instead of just Portsmouth Library </li></ul></ul>26/10/11
  7. 7. Bing Maps 26/10/11 ??
  8. 8. Exalead <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstration for their enterprise search </li></ul><ul><li>Small database </li></ul><ul><li>Frequency of update? </li></ul><ul><li>Has NEAR/n command for proximity searching </li></ul><ul><li>Link command that actually works </li></ul><ul><li>Supports full Boolean </li></ul><ul><li>filetype, site, intitle, inurl </li></ul><ul><li>But phonetic and approximate spelling unreliable </li></ul>26/10/11
  9. 9. DuckDuckGo <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>No tracking, no “filter bubble” </li></ul><ul><li>site: inbody: intitle: filetype: </li></ul><ul><li>sort:date to sort by date (uses results from Blekko) </li></ul><ul><li>region:cc (e.g. de) to boost a country </li></ul><ul><li>Syntax and keyboard shortcuts at </li></ul><ul><li>Maths, conversions, programming syntax and shortcuts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>answer at top of results usually from Wolfram Alpha </li></ul></ul><ul><li>!bang commands </li></ul>26/10/11
  10. 10. Blekko <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>slashtags for sorting by date (/date), searching for images (/images) and videos (/videos) </li></ul><ul><li>Use public slashtags to search a group of web sites covering a particular topic or type of site e.g. /library </li></ul><ul><li>Or create your own to search your specified list of sites (similar to Google Custom Search Engines) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>wind turbine electricity generation /karenblakeman/renewable </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ Musings about librarianship: Using Blekko to search across thousands of library sites” </li></ul>26/10/11
  11. 11. Blekko <ul><li>Does not always search for all of your terms </li></ul><ul><li>Cannot do filetype, inurl, intitle searches </li></ul><ul><li>Drop down menu next to page in results list for </li></ul><ul><ul><li>site search (or use /site) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>similar pages (or use /similar) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>inbound links to the page (or use /links) </li></ul></ul>26/10/11
  12. 12. Wolfram Alpha <ul><li>“ Computational Knowledge Engine” </li></ul><ul><li>Very good for calculations and conversions </li></ul><ul><li>Assumes your location from your IP address </li></ul><ul><li>Available features and search options change depending on your location </li></ul><ul><li>Have to ask the question in the right way </li></ul>26/10/11
  13. 13. Wolfram alpha <ul><li>Curated data and information </li></ul><ul><li>Can be very out of date </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes totally wrong! </li></ul><ul><li>No reference to original source - only a list that is intended as a guide to further sources of information </li></ul>26/10/11
  14. 14. Google Scholar <ul><li>A useful place to start your research or if you are looking for a specific paper but..... </li></ul><ul><li>No source list, not comprehensive and omits many key scientific publications </li></ul><ul><li>Both peer-reviewed and un-reviewed articles, pre-prints, institutional repositories, references to books, citations </li></ul><ul><li>Does not use publishers’ meta data </li></ul><ul><li>Author search unreliable, search on year of publication unreliable </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes does weird things with your search terms </li></ul><ul><li>Peter Jasco - Google Scholar's Ghost Authors, Lost Authors, and Other Problems </li></ul>26/10/11
  15. 15. Microsoft Academic Search <ul><li> </li></ul>26/10/11
  16. 16. Microsoft Academic Search <ul><li>Problems </li></ul><ul><ul><li>coverage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>sometimes gets the author completely wrong </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ Will the Real Scott Wilson Please Stand Up, Please Stand Up” </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>26/10/11 M Edwards should be Martin Edwards not Maria-Benedicta Edwards
  17. 17. COnnecting REpositories - CORE <ul><li> / </li></ul><ul><li>“ UK’s first open access full-text search engine to aid research JISC” </li></ul>26/10/11
  18. 18. Selected specialist tools - URLs <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>26/10/11
  19. 19. Selected specialist tools 26/10/11
  20. 20. And a few more .... 26/10/11
  21. 21. Yahoo Finance 26/10/11
  22. 22. Google can seriously damage your news <ul><li>Experiment by Mary Ellen Bates </li></ul><ul><li>Is Google really filtering my news? - Librarian of Fortune </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Highlights </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More than 25% of stories showed up in only one searcher’s results </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Almost one in five searchers saw a story that no one else saw </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Only 12% of searchers saw the same 3 stories in the same order </li></ul></ul><ul><li>And it’s about to get worse – “Google News Launches &quot;Standout&quot; Tag for Featured Content” </li></ul>26/10/11
  23. 23. News - 26/10/11
  24. 24. Silobreaker - networks 26/10/11 Can change the emphasis using the slider bars
  25. 25. Statistics 26/10/11
  26. 26. The Guardian <ul><li>Guardian data store - data journalism and data visualization h ttp:// </li></ul><ul><li>Data and analysis on topics that are in the news, links to the original datasets are provided </li></ul><ul><li>Guardian World Government Data </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>26/10/11
  27. 27. Zanran <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>“ Zanran – a new data search engine” </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>26/10/11
  28. 28. Want to explore other stuff? <ul><li>Type in your search once and work your way through the search tools </li></ul><ul><li>Can edit search tools order and remove unwanted ones </li></ul>26/10/11
  29. 29. Suffering Google withdrawal symptoms? 26/10/11 Decide which sites you want to search and design your own Google custom search engine
  30. 30. Create your own search engine without Google <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Create a slashtag </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Musings about librarianship: Using Blekko to search across thousands of library sites </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Gigablast Custom Topic Search </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>up to 500 sites </li></ul></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><ul><li>powered by Yahoo </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>maximum of 25 sites per Searchroll </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>doesn’t work for me most of the time  </li></ul></ul>26/10/11