|Keyword search with refinements||Excite , HotBot , FAST , SurfWax , AltaVista |
|Broad academic subject||Librarians'Index to the Internet, Infomine, NorthernLight, Encyclopedia Britannica, Encarta|
|Popular or Commercial Topic||Yahoo! , dmoz , Go |
|Subject Expert||About.com, WWWVirtualLibrary, ArgusClearinghouse, AlphaSearch|
|Pinpoint phrase search||AltaVista|
|Proper name, case sensitive||InfoSeek , AltaVista, HotBot|
|Biographical||Biography.com, BiographicalDictionary, Lives|
|News||Yahoo! News , NorthernLightCurrentNews, Moreover|
|Automatic Search||Informant, NorthernLightSearchAlertService|
|Almanac Information||InformationPlease, CIAWorldFactBook|
|Map||TIGERMapService, MapMachine, MapQuest|
Search Engine Mathematics
Since search engines work on keywords, the words a user submits are going to be the most important criterion of what the engine returns. The submission of that key word, or group of words or phrase is crucial. The best tactic to use will depend on the nature of your search, and the capabilities of the engine you are submitting to.
The '+' sign is the most commonly used operator. It tells the search engine to produce only documents which contain all the words of your search. For instance if you were to submit 'vanilla + fudge + sundae', the engine would return only documents which had all of those words, as opposed to returning all articles with 'vanilla', all articles with 'fudge', and all articles referring to 'sundae', which would result from a submission of those words without the plusses.
The '-' sign, conversely, is a restrictor operator. The term 'vanilla +fudge -sundae' would return all articles referring to vanilla and fudge, but which did not mention sundae.
To get a specific phrase, enclose it in quotes. A submission of "100 years war" would return articles mentioning only that specific war.
Here's a table summarizing the math capabilities of the most popular search engines.
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This page revised May 23, 2006