Choose the best engine for your purpose

Information need Characteristics of the search engine
I have an general idea of a broad topic and want to narrow it. (Yahoo) organizes information as "subject trees" from general to specific topics.

Northern Lights dynamically groups results into folders of related hits to help you narrow your query.

I want a small number of relevant hits and an idea of what's in each document before I go to each page.  (Excite) hits have excellent summaries. When you find a relevant hit, you can submit a "more documents like this one" to locate similar pages.
I want to overview multiple engines together to get an idea of what's available for my topic. (Inference Find) performs parallel searches, merges results, removes redundancies, clusters the results

Dogpile can be customized to exclude particular search engines, or search them in a certain order

I want quality, evaluated sites that have reviews and ratings because I have limited time.  (Magellan) smaller database containing descriptive reviews of sites

(Lycos TOP 5% Home) reviews and rates the "Top 5%"

(WebCrawler) smaller database with relevancy ranking

I need to do a pinpoint search because my terms are narrow.  (Alta Vista) massive and fast indexer of full text, good for very specific searches
Is there an encyclopedia of information on the Internet?  (Information Please) searches Information Please Almanac, Entertainment Almanac and Sports Almanac, the Columbia Encyclopedia, and the Random House College Dictionary. 

(Free Internet Encyclopedia) The MacroReference of the contains references to large areas of knowledge and FAQs; The MicroReference contains short bits of information and references to specific subjects. 

I have common keywords that probably appear in many documents and should make my search specific.  (HotBot) fast, powerful, with ranked results and many options for defining a search
I have common keywords in a phrase like New in New Orleans or A in Vitamin A that cannot be ignored.  (Infoseek) includes words in a phrase that other engines ignore
I know the date of an event and am looking for more information.  (Hot Bot Super Search) limits by date
I need programming language (e.g. JavaScript, ShockWave) web pages or information.  (HotBot Super Search) limits by programming language
I need balanced information from verified sources for a school research project to take home (Nueva's Library catalog) has resources collected for the school's curriculum

ProQuest Direct has full text of over 450 magazines and newspapers

I need scientific information to back up the research for my science fair project. (Alta Vista) rated best for finding scientific information on the Internet in  research study. 
I need mathematics or statistics information.  (MathSearch) locates material concerned with research-level and university mathematics
I can describe my topic in a sentence (natural language). (Infoseek) (Ask Jeeves!) allow natural language searches
I need information on a proper name (a place, person, or object).  (Alta Vista) (Infoseek) use capital letters to force an exact case match on the entire word

(HotBot) person search will retrieve the name in both reversed and normal order (e.g. Picasso, Pablo and Pablo Picasso)

I want web pages from a geographic region  (MetaCrawler) can search by continent 
I want web pages from an Internet domain (e.g.schools)  (HotBot Super Search) can search by Internet domain (e.g. edu, com)
I want to search for images and sounds (photos, art, designs, logos, videos, music, noises), media types (Java, VRML) or file extensions (.gif )  (Columbia University's WebSEEk) (AltaVista Photo Finder)

(Lycos Media)

(HotBot: SuperSearch)

(The Amazing Picture Machine)

(Yahoo! Computers and Internet:Multimedia:Pictures)

Arriba Vista

I need a quotation. (The Quotations Page)


(Land of Quotes)

I want to get advice and opinions from others.  (Reference.COM) (Deja News) searchs archives of Usenet posts (strong in computers, the Internet, science, recreational activities, sociology, psychology, k12 education)
Join a discusion group on a topic (Liszt)
I bet this search has been done before. (Ask Jeeves!) has prepared answers to common questions.
I want to browse. (A2Z)(Yahoo) are subject tree directories with short descriptions of sites
I want to see sites just for kids Yahooligans!

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