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bare bones Lesson 2: Metasearch engines

 

 


"You can't expect to hit the jackpot if you don't put a few nickels in the machine."
             --Flip Wilson, 1971


WHAT ARE METASEARCH ENGINES?

Metasearch engines do not crawl the web compiling their own searchable databases. Instead, they search the databases of multiple sets of individual search engines simultaneously, from a single site and using the same interface. Metasearchers provide a quick way of finding out which engines are retrieving the best results for you in your search.

HOW DO METASEARCHERS DISPLAY THEIR RESULTS?

Metasearch engines present the results of their searches in one of two ways:

  1. Single List.  Most metasearchers display multiple-engine search results in a single merged list, from which duplicate entries have been removed.
  2. Multiple Lists.  Some metasearchers do not collate multiple-engine search results but display them instead in separate lists as they are received from each engine. Duplicate entries may appear.

WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS OF METASEARCHERS?

PROS:
Metasearch engines can give you a fair picture of what's available across the Web and where it can be found.

Metasearchers are very fast.

CONS:
More and more, metasearch engines seem to be casting smaller nets by relying on subject directories and pay-per-click engines for their Web results.

Metasearch engines don't offer the "salad bar" of search options that individual search engines do. When you initiate a keyword or phrase search on a metasearch engine, you are usually at its mercy as far as how the search is configured and conducted.

Although metasearch engines query a number of individual search engines, not enough query Google, one of the largest and most popular search engines on the Web. (Note: Dogpile and Mamma both search Google)

WHEN DO YOU USE METASEARCH ENGINES?

Use metasearchers when you are in a hurry. Metasearch engines are useful in obtaining a quick overview on a subject and/or unique term.

Use metasearchers when you are conducting a relatively simple search and also when you are not having any luck pulling up documents in your search.

EXAMPLES OF METASEARCH ENGINES:


ASSIGNMENT:

Select any two of the metasearchers listed above and search for:

    9/11 commission report

Compare your results.


Search Engines                           Subject Directories


[Table of Contents] [Search Engines] [Metasearchers] [Subject Directories] [Gateways & Databases] [Evaluating Web Pages] [Search Strategies] [Search Tips] [Boolean Operators] [Field Searching] [Troubleshooting] [Ask] [Clusty] [Dogpile] [GigaBlast] [Google] [MSN Search] [Yahoo!] [Graveyard] [Final Exam] [Beyond Bones] [User Agreement]

Last updated by E. Chamberlain,Thursday September 07, 2006