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Metasearch The Blogosphere With Clusty

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A "hidden" feature of a powerful meta search engine allows you to mine for gold in the blogosphere.

What's "the best" weblog/RSS engine? What's "best" for me might not work for you. Besides, what's "best" on Monday might be second best on Tuesday since the blogosphere is changing every minute.

My solution? I use all of them! How's that for diplomacy?

However, I don't go to one engine at a time when running searches. Instead, I use the power of meta searching to provide me with useful results.

When Chris and I published our overview of Clusty last year, few people seemed to notice that this meta engine also offers a webblog/RSS search tool.

For most of my blogosphere search needs, Clusty Blog Search works well.

So, is Clusty Blog Search tapping a bunch of unknown engines? Hardly!

You'll find results from several well-known blog engines:

  • Blogdigger
  • Daypop
  • Feedster
  • Technorati
  • Blogpulse
  • IceRocket

The advanced Clusty Blog Search interface is where I start most of my blog searching.

Using it allows me to increase the number of results Clusty returns while also offering the option to add or delete specific engines.

Of course, Clusty's well-known dynamic clustering is also part of their blog search tool. In some cases, the dynamic clustering can help you get you to a quality answer more quickly by providing what Clusty's owner, Vivisimo, calls a selective ignorance. Plus, I've found that clustering can also be used for knowledge discovery. In other words, helping the searcher quickly spot trends, names and other information that would take hours and hours to do manually.

Another feature I like about Clusty Blog Search is that it allows me to see which database or databases the results are coming from. You'll find the database name listed next to each url. It makes searching even more interesting for people who enjoy comparing results. Items available in multiple databases are grouped together.

Clusty has several other features you might find useful.

Directly above the dynamically generated clusters on the left side of the page, note the "cluster by" pull-down menu. If you select, "URL" you can quickly see where the results are coming from. Interesting and possibly another way of spotting interesting new blogs.

At the top of results pages you'll see a link labeled "Details." Clicking this link allows you to find out how many results are coming from each engine. I do my best to see at least the first 100 from each engine.

Next to each title on a results page you'll notice a few icons. Click the "venn diagram (three circles) icon" and you'll see which cluster(s) contain the item. Items can be in more than one cluster. If you click the magnifying glass icon, you'll open a live version of the result embedded directly into the results page. A real time saver!

Using Clusty to search the blogosphere offers an easy way to quickly see results from most of the well-known databases while also allowing you to benefit of dynamic clustering. Worth a look!

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NOTE: Article links often change. In case of a bad link, use the publication's search facility, which most have, and search for the headline.

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