Worth a Look: Interesting Sites and Tools

From time to time, SearchDay will take quick looks at interesting search-related sites, services and tools. While you'll want to consider adding many of these to your search toolkit, others are just for fun.

Alba36.com calls itself an "International MetaGuide," featuring links to over 50.000 specialty search engines, regional search engines, vortals, specialized directories and the best web sites as selected by their editors.

This is a fun site that uses the power of search engines to compare things to each other using the criteria you specify. For example, say you want to compare the orchestras in New York and Boston. Compare stuff will take your query terms and check with the search engine of your choice to see how many pages contain the terms. You'll see at a glance which city's orchestra is the most "popular" based on web page mentions.

GlossPost is a huge repository of multilingual glossary/dictionary/ database URLs on the Web. More than 4,500 URLs have been posted since the list was created last year (current membership 2,100+ with a 10% monthly growth rate). Messages are strictly standardized according to ISO language codes and all messages are moderated and edited for consistency. Looking for the OECD thesaurus in 4 languages? For the IMF glossary or the FAO multilingual database? Searching for an obscure Italian into German glossary about sewing machines or monolingual English glossaries in various IT fields? GlossPost has it. The URL above points to the information page; click on the "bookmarks" link to access the full list.

Ithaki is a multi-lingual metasearch engine that searches more than 200 selected tools worldwide. It also allows you to limit your search to 30 categories to including the web, news, images, newsgroups, software, spiders, books and more.
And for those of you who like the idea of metasearching using your phone, Ithaki offers a WAP interface at http://ithaki.net/wap.html.

A regional specific search engine serving the state of Maryland, with more than 3,400 listings.

A UK-oriented search engine offering some interesting sorting capabilities for search results, including the ability to sort by word density, topmost pages, authoritative pages, link-rich pages, image-rich pages, and recent pages. This is an interesting approach to giving the user the ability to apply a degree of control over how relevance is calculated that's not readily available on other search engines.

Here's a useful resource for journalists and contemporary historians. NameBase is an index of people influential in politics, the military, intelligence, crime, business, and the media since WWII. NameBase includes 100,000 names from approximately 260,000 citations. The names are drawn from over 700 books and serials, plus a handful of documents recovered using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The site features a number of interesting tools, including the ability to enter any Web page URL and get a list of people mentioned on that page that are also included in NameBase.

O'Reilly P2P Directory
If you're interested in peer-to-peer (P2P) technologies (think Napster, Gnutella, Freenet), this directory offers one of the most complete lists of P2P projects I've seen. A lot of these projects are cutting edge, showing us where the Web will be in the next few years.

Search123 is a cost-per-click search engine similar to GoTo and Sprinks. Search123 also offers cost-per-click banner ads, where advertisers pay only for click-throughs -- impressions are free. The Search123 search results page features three button and two banner ad positions, each of which is priced according to client bids on keyword listings on that search results page.

Visoo is an image only search engine with several interesting features. Like most "image" search tools, it uses filename and extension information to locate images on the web, but it also goes a bit farther by using OCR (optical character recognition) techniques to extract text from images, in theory making them keyword searchable. Useful options include limiting your search to pictures of people, excluding banner ads, searching only photos or graphics, and specifying which types of file formats should be included in results.

Search Headlines

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.

That's it for this issue. Thanks again for subscribing, and watch for tomorrow's issue featuring a roundup of this week's stories with search headlines from around the web.

About the author

Chris Sherman is a frequent contributor to several information industry journals. He's written several books, including The McGraw-Hill CD ROM Handbook and The Invisible Web: Uncovering Information Sources Search Engines Can't See, co-authored with Gary Price. Chris has written about search and search engines since 1994, when he developed online searching tutorials for several clients. From 1998 to 2001, he was About.com's Web Search Guide.