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Computer and Technology Help - Handouts: Search Engine and Directory Snapshot

Computers and technology need not be frightening if you learn to use them step by step.

Search Engine and Directory Snapshot

Search Engine and Directory Snapshot

Although there are a top two or three unchallenged search engines, they are clearly not the only ones out there or good for everything. There are still a variety of search engines and directories for finding a particular site or for locating sites, images, or other information by topic. Engines and directories vary in the subjects they cover, the actual sites they index, and the privacy risks they pose. Keep in mind that due to copyright and licensing, not everything that exists is freely accessible on the web. This is particularly true of material published between 1924 and 2000.

General Purpose Search Engines and Directories

When you think of search engines, you probably think, Google. It has a reputation as the biggest, the best, and the easiest. While Google returns large and fairly accurate lists of results, it mixes term paper mills, commercial sites, and others of poor quality with reasonably decent sites.

In addition, Google maintains a record of your search history combined with a history of your use of its other services. The search engine also has shared and may still share large groups' combined search statistics with others.

Google shines when you use one of its specialized products such as,, (See also below), or Google also works well or if you have a particular site or organization in mind. Keep in mind though, you do have other choices including GALILEO for copyrighted, full-text eBooks and for magazine and journal articles.

This is the Google search engine combined with IxQuick. It shares IxQuick's privacy with Google's power. Its search results are free of advertisements and sponsored links. If you enjoy searching plain, vanilla Google, try Startpage instead.

Duck Duck Go
Another multi-search, privacy enhanced, engine. Alas, Duck Duck Go does not offer image searching.

Baidu English

Baidu handles more than fifty percent of China's search traffic, and a billion customerse can't be wrong. The search engine works well for consumer topics, less well for current, American news, and there are better image search platforms, mostly because image searching has become very well developed, and the language difference may interfere with results. Baidu in English is the more comfortable platform, but more adventurous users can try Baidu in its original Chinese. Chinese Baidu's web search reads English proficiently.

Baidu in Chinese' logo

Bing is Microsoft's answer to Google. Bing offers robust results often in a different order from those on Google. It also has an incredibly smooth and speedy map search, and an intuitive and attractive interface.


Formerly DMoz This is a searchable, human-maintained list of web sites on just about every subject imaginable. Find your favorite category. The list is still fairly current and reliable. Like its predecessor, Curlie works well for both academic and consumer topics, and the name stands for Collecting URLs.

Yahoo Search
Before Google was "the search engine," Altavista held that honor. These days Alatavista is Yahoo Search, and in many ways, it still outshines Google. It offers more search options including explicit Boolean logic(AND, OR, and NOT), restriction by field, and a fairly sophisticated image and music search capability. When you do not find something on Google, Yahoo Search is still a good place to look, or make Yahoo your first, search engine choice. d often returns results that Google fails to find, and its Reference section well below the main search engine provides answers on a wide variety of questions, sorted by topic, questions, you might not have even considered asking.

New for you at GSU Qwant
Qwant is a four-in-one search engine that lets you see images across the top and a column for web results, news, and social media entries below that. The interface is busy and colorful, and you can restrict your search to only images, news, web, or social with options on the left. Qwant can present images in slide show form. Note: this database crawls the web a bit slower than Google or Bing, so current headlines take at least a day or two to appear.

Academic and Scholarly Search Engines

HONcode Hunt
Medline Plus

These are gateways to medical sites that allow users to screen out the hucksters and quacks and retrieve only trusted information. At HonCode, simply select HONcode sites from the light blue menu above the search box. HON, which stands for Health on the Net, screens medical sites for quality and credibility. At MedlinePlus all links lead to trusted sources, including those by the government and Mayo Clinic.

Google Scholar

Google scholar searches for articles and books intended for a motivated and educated audience. Some articles and books are full text. Some are JSTOR links, to which the library subscribes. Others lead to a preview at Google Books or to a publishers' web sites with pay walls.

Catalog of Government Publications
The United States government is still one of the largest publishers on the planet, with many books and pamphlets online. Search for these publications with the Government Printing Office's own catalog.

A search engine for bills, legislative hearings, statutes, and regulations created by Congress and various executive agencies.

Wolfram Alpha

If you need the answer to any equation, type it in to Wolfram Alpha. This mathematical search engine can handle imaginary numbers, trigonometry, algebra, and of course plain, old arithemtic. Wolfram Alpha also looks up fast facts, including dates and times.

Image Searching

Welcome to TinEye Images Searching TinEye Reverse Image Search

Did you ever wonder your image's origin? Now you can paste it's location (right click and Copy Image Location with most browsers) or upload it and see who created it and who has posted it elsewhere. While Tineye won't tell you if an image is copyrighted, it should make it easier to guess.

TinEye Multicolor Search Engine

This fast agile, engine, searches images by up to five colors. Since many images are underCreative Commons license, TinEye Multicolor is a great place to look for backgrounds and textures.