Top 10 Search Tips from Switzerland

Yes, it’s yet another Top 10 Search Tip – this time from a group of researchers from International organisations based in Switzerland. The event was hosted by CERN in Geneva, well known for its particle accelerator but also the birth place of the World Wide Web. The group came up with the following Top 10.

1. CrossEngine – This is fast becoming the most popular non-Google tool on my Advanced Search workshops. Dozens of different search tools are grouped under tabs by type, for example web, video, audio, images, news, blogs, reference. Type in your search terms just once and then click on each search engine in turn to run the search. It is more up to date than , which is a similar tool, and has a more extensive collection of resources than Turboscout. It has additional features such as file type search options for Google and Yahoo, and you can search social bookmarking and network tools such as Delicious, Furl, Squidoo, Facebook.

2. Vivisimo – Searches several different search engines at once, presents a de-duplicated list of results, and also organises them into folders based on their content. There is still a web search box in the upper right hand corner of the Vivisimo’s home page but it tries to point you directly at Clusty, which it owns. Interestingly, the results and folders that you see when you run the same search in Vivisimo and Clusty are slightly different.

3. Exalead – A search engine developed by a French company. Some of the people working on it are ex-AltaVista, which explains their resurrection of the wild card and NEAR command. Useful for its advanced search features such as approximate and phonetic spelling. Several users have commented on its European bias and web coverage.

4. Google Define. Unsure what a piece of jargon means or what an acronym stands for? Go to google and use the define: command. For example, define:ADSL will bring up a page of definitions from various resources on the Web. You can also search for definitions in languages opther than English (go to the bottom of the results page for the links).

5. Phrase searching. We all know about placing phrases within double quote marks, but someone has spotted that in Google you only need the opening quotes to force a phrase search. As the person who nominated this one for the Top 10 said, it’s pure laziness on our part but it works.

6. Askx – This new beta version of Ask is proving to be very popular. The home page has a single search box but the results page includes news, images, blog postings and suggestions for alternative strategies alongside the web pages.

7. Creative Commons and public domain images. If you need to quickly identify images that you can re-use and the terms and conditions of that re-use, search by Creative Commons licenses or for public domain images. Try where you can search by type of Creative Commons license, for Creative Commons and Public Domain, or for Public Domain images.

8. Thumbshots Ranking – – for checking the overlap, or lack of it, of the major search engines for a search strategy.

9. – Enables you to display results from search tools of your choice side by side. Although the interfaces to many of the resources no longer work, it is still a popular tool with many people.

10. Want to see if RSS is for you? Try the web based Google Reader at Several people have commented that they have problems updating their feeds in Bloglines through their proxy server. Their experience is that Google’s reader is better and more reliable in this respect.