Searching the Internet

General advice on conducting effective Web searches and exploring the online environment.

Search engines

Use a search engine to scan websites for specified keywords or to browse a subject directory.

Popular search engines

Many search engines have similar features but their search mechanisms work in slightly different ways. It is beneficial to try more than one search engine if you are having difficulty locating your required information.

Google A very popular search engine that also includes dedicated products for searching news, images, maps, scholarly research papers. It is the home of email service Gmail and allows the user to search Australian sites only.
Yahoo! Yahoo! was an early search engine originally designed as a searchable directory. It now provides news and many social networking features on its homepage. Allows the user to search Australian sites only.
Bing Formerly known as MSN and Live Search, Bing is very similar to Google in look and feel. Bing is also affiliated with Hotmail and MSN chat.
AOL AOL is powered by Google and therefore has a very similar look and feel. AOL is the largest advertising-supported web company in the USA.
Ask Formerly known as Ask Jeeves, Ask is a natural language search engine that allows users to pose full questions and phrases.
Web Wombat Not as widely used as the above but is one of Australia's oldest search engines.

Meta search engines

Meta search engines combine two or more search engines and enable you to search them simultaneously.

PolyCola Formerly known as GahooYoogle, PolyCola allows you to search any two major search engines at the same time, and see the results from each engine in a split screen.
Dogpile One of the first meta search engines, Dogpile searches four top search engines simultaneously and provides one set of combined results that covers all engines.
Mamma Mamma searches a range of lesser known search engines and directories such as EntireWeb, Open Directory and to retrieve results that are not always found in the large search engines.

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Directories list websites by category and subcategory and are often maintained by groups of editors or subject experts who make decisions on what to include in each category. You can search directories by key words or use the listed topics to browse to relevant websites.

Yahoo! Directory One of the original Internet search tools, Yahoo! Directory is also one of the world's largest commercial Internet search directories. Most of its sites are suggested by other users and then evaluated by editors.
Open Directory The DMOZ Open Directory Project is the largest human-edited directory of the world Wide Web. It is constructed and maintained by volunteer editors from all over the world.
WWW Virtual Library Started by Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the world Wide Web, the WWW Virtual Library is the oldest catalogue of the web. While it is not very large, The WWW Virtual Library is known for its high quality lists of websites.
Librarians' Internet Index The LII is administered by the Californian State Librarian, and experienced library staff from many Californian libraries are responsible for selecting quality websites for inclusion in the index.
Intute Owned and maintained by a consortium of universities in the United Kingdom, Intute provides access to web resources for education and research which have been chosen and evaluated by subject specialists.

Other search engines

Search engines are routinely created, updated, changed, re-named, merged, bought and sold. There are large numbers of websites that provide information and advice on search engines. Some of these are listed here:

AskNow search tips

SearchEngine Watch

For search tips and help on getting the most out of your searches.

University of California, Berkeley Library

To help you work out which search engine is best for your needs

Phil Bradley's website
Children's search engines
Homework help

To find more search engines
Monash Research
How Stuff Works

To learn about how search engines work

Resource Shelf
Search Engine Showdown

To keep up to date with the world of search engines

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Web 2.0

There are many other ways to find materials on the Internet such as music, video, photos and books. Web 2.0 tools allow you to connect with other people on the Internet and share just about everything from news and photos to books. The websites below are some of the most popular Web 2.0 tools.

Facebook Similar to MySpace, Facebook allows you to find and connect with other people, and share photos, videos and links. It's also used by groups and organisations as a means of advertising. There is a National Library of Australia appreciation group in Facebook.
Windows Live Messenger Connect and chat to your friends, family and colleagues. You can chat to each other in real time and share files, photos, links and videos. If your friends are offline you can leave messages for them to read later.
YouTube YouTube was founded in 2005 and now contains a massive online collection of videos. You can search for and watch an endless variety of videos as well as adding your own for others to watch. There are a number of National Library of Australia videos in YouTube, which you can find by searching for 'National Library of Australia'.
Flickr Flickr is an online photo management and sharing site. You can view photos taken by people all over the world and you can also create your own online albums to share with others. A large number of photos from Flickr can be found in Picture Australia.
Delicious Delicious is a social bookmarking service that allows you to save your favourite websites and search for websites saved by other people. Access your favourites from any computer and locate websites other people have saved as their favourites. The AskNow chat reference service uses a Delicious tag cloud to display links to useful resources.
LibraryThing LibraryThing allows you to catalogue and keep records of all the books you own or have read. You can add reviews, find similar books and make recommendations to other people. The National Library has incorporated links to LibraryThing in some of its catalogue entries.
Wikipedia Wikipedia is a web based encyclopaedia written collaboratively by volunteers from all over the world. Since its beginning in 2001 Wikipedia has grown into one of the largest reference websites, currently with over 2 and a half million articles in English. You can use Wikipedia to find information, correct and expand articles or add your own.
Twitter Twitter is a microblogging service that allows you to keep in touch with family, friends and colleagues by means of short messages that can be read online or sent to your mobile phone or instant messaging service.

These lists have been prepared as a community service and the National Library of Australia does not endorse any particular search engine or other research tool.

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