Searching the Internet: Search Engines +

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Searching the Internet: Search Engines +

Albert S. Cook Library

Towson University

Cook Library Web Page
Web Search Tools

There are special directories (Librarians' Index to the Internet, ScoutReport), search engines (HotBot, Google) and metasearch engines (DogPile, Kartoo, Researchville).

Check out InfoTUtor, our online tutorial under Services for Students.

earch Engines
, like Google,, and iLOR, MSN Search create their listings automatically by using spiders or robots (software) to crawl the Web for specific terms. Yahoo, formerly called a directory, still holds its own in the popularity contest.Try using, a search engine devoted to university and education related web sites.

Metasearch Engines, like DogPile, Kartoo, ProFusion, Flipper and Vivisimo

search multiple search engines at the same time. They are good for very broad searches to get an overview, quick & dirty searches for a fast answer, to find keywords for unfamiliar topics, and to see how different search engines handle the same question.

Special Directories

For better results, try using Librarian's Index to the Internet, a searchable, annotated subject directory of more than 10,000 Internet resources selected and evaluated by librarians for their usefulness. Scout Report contains the "best Internet resources," as chosen by the editorial staff.

To Choose the Best Search for Your Information Needs, take a look at this:

  • All search engines are different. There are many special tools you can use to make your searches more efficient. They are always listed in Help, Tips, or Hints. READ these to maximize your searching techniques and find better results.

  • Examples of special search tools:

    • Use "+" to include a term; use "-" to exclude a term

      • +
        Search Engine Watch provides tips and information about searching the web and analysis of the search engine industry.

        ravens -Baltimore -football -team

    • Use "and", "or" (cats AND dogs; eagles OR raptors)

    • Use quotation marks to specify a phrase ("Grand Canyon")

    • Use capital letters to designate a person, place (Orioles)

  • Use Power Search or Advanced Search option to form more precise searches.

  • Learn to LIMIT: by language (English), date, audio, images, domain, etc. (Try Google, AllTheWeb). ]Use the advanced search]

  • Open two browser windows to compare the results using two different search engines. (For example, try Kartoo and Google)

  • Search for your terms in just the title of a web document (try Google, AllTheWeb, MSN Search) You may find key documents faster.

  • Search for Adobe Acrobat PDF files, Word documents, etc. using Google

  • Use "Ctrl- F" to open the Find box in your browser; it will help you locate your key words on a specific page.

  • Remember, only YOU can discover what works best for you and your purpose.

  • There is no absolutely right solution or single correct strategy.

What's ON the Internet?

  • Anyone can publish a web page and put anything on it.

  • Web pages can entertain, inform, shock, educate, sell you something, exhibit bias and opinions, etc.

  • It is up to you to EVALUATE carefully.

  • The "invisible web" (the part you cannot always find using a search engine!)

What's VIA the Internet?

  • Proprietary information (meaning somebody pays for this information $$$$$) and you cannot get it without validation (ID, password)

    • Cook's databases, such as Academic Search, ABI/Inform, and PsycARTICLES often provide full text of peer reviewed journal articles.

Use BackFlip to create your portable bookmarks!

Hint: For research help on this or any other research project, contact a librarian in person at the Cook Library Reference Desk, by phone at (410) 704-2462, or on the Web at, where you can "email a reference question". Mary Volland is liaison to the English Dept. and may be reached at (410) 704-2618 or email


rev Fall2002


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