Power Searching with Vivisimo

Vivisimo is a capable metasearch engine, serving results from multiple engines simultaneously. Dig a bit deeper and you'll find some powerful, unique features not found elsewhere on the web.

Most meta search engines send your query to multiple other search engines simultaneously, then select the top ranking pages and blend them into a result set. Vivisimo does that, but it also compiles and presents "clustered results," categorized groupings of results organized by conceptually related topics.

Clustered results are especially useful when you're searching for something unfamiliar, and aren't sure which keywords will produce the optimal results. The results are grouped into successively narrower subcategories, allowing you to drill down through a topic without additional searching.

Another cool feature Vivisimo offers is a "preview" link for each search result. This opens up a window displaying a glimpse of a web page right in the middle of the result page, making it easy to quickly scan results without leaving the result page.

While these features alone make Vivisimo a worthy tool, they're just the tip of the iceberg.

Check out Vivisimo's advanced search page, and you'll find a whole array of useful tools. Most notably, you'll see check boxes that allow you to include results from search engines and web sites not offered by other meta search engines.

For example, you can choose to search news sites such as CNN, the NY Times, USA Today, Reuters, BBC News and others. You can also include results from specialized search engines, such as US government portal FirstGov, Business.com, Britannica.com, eBay, PubMed and the patent search engine at Delphion.

While including these sources in a meta search can often help results, here's a tip to sharpen your results even more. Deselect all search sources except for one or two that you think may have specific information you're looking for. Then use the clustered results to browse for information that might otherwise be buried in thousands of standard results.

For example, select only FirstGov to search for US government information. Querying both Business.com and the Delphion patent server can be useful for competitive intelligence. Selecting eBay only and using a product name as a keyword gives you a very different look at what's for sale than using the bidding site's own engine.

Vivisimo's advanced search provides 200 search results -- if you want more, you can set it to 300 or 500 results at a time.

Vivisimo's business in large part is supported by selling its clustering engine technology, both to online portals and to large corporations government agencies, among others. To show potential customers how the technology works, Vivisimo offers a very interesting collection of clustering engine demos that can be exceptionally useful for searchers looking for specialized information.

For example, the government demos search sites such as the U.S. House of Representatives, NASA and the World Bank.

The business and law demos search the New York Stock Exchange, Money.com and FindLaw (which itself is powered by Google, making for interesting results indeed).

There are dozens of other demos, in categories such as news, shopping, science and engineering, universities, and others. The links on the left side of every demo page provide access to all categories.

Vivisimo is a good choice if you want to use a meta search engine, but a little digging beneath the surface reveals some absolute gems for searching specialized information sources.

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.

Web Searching Strategies for Health- Related Data...
BeSpacific Jul 8 2003 5:26AM GMT
Online Ad Spending to Reach $6.3B in 2003: eMarketer...
dmnews.com Jul 8 2003 5:21AM GMT
E*Trade Financial Launches Advertising Agency Search...
Technology Marketing Jul 8 2003 5:19AM GMT
Spam turns into scam...
USA Today Jul 8 2003 4:40AM GMT
Overture Extends MSN Deal, Wins Freeserve...
Media Post Jul 8 2003 4:15AM GMT
Overture Extends MSN Deal Abroad...
Boston.Internet.com Jul 8 2003 4:06AM GMT
Thought for the day:The metadata detectives...
Computer Weekly Jul 8 2003 1:15AM GMT
Yahoo shares rise...
CNET Jul 7 2003 7:19PM GMT
Overture broadens MSN deal...
CNET Jul 7 2003 5:45PM GMT
Fake domain name renewal spam warning...
Silicon.com Jul 7 2003 3:29PM GMT
Moreover cheers Yahoo deal...
Netimperative Jul 7 2003 11:31AM GMT
Blogs in the Workplace...
New York Times Jul 7 2003 1:15AM GMT
Junk email vs. canned meat: What's in a name?...
ZDNet Jul 7 2003 1:15AM GMT
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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.