There are four basic search methods to help a searcher isolate relevant information or resources on the Internet. Following is a brief list of some of the search methods and tools currently available for searching the Web.
TIP: Before using a search tool go to the help or information page on their Web site and find out the specifics about that tools search features. The various directories and engines can differ greatly so this can save you a lot of time and frustration and help to optimize your results!
Note: For a comprehensive discussion of the various search engines and directories available including search strategies, reviews, search features, statistics and comparisons go to Search Engine Showdown.
Web Directories or Subject Directories have the advantage of using human-selected resources as opposed to the sites that are returned by search engines which are selected and ranked using software. These directories are topically arranged and classified to facilitate easier searching.
Meta-search engines can be a valuable tool for retrieving information from the internet, but should be used with caution. Many only retrieve the top 10-50 returns from each search engine which may exclude many relevant sites.
Image Search Engines:
Other Search Engines:
TIP: Recent studies have shown that there is very little overlap or duplication among the various search tools and only a small percentage of available Web sites are actually retrieved by search engines. To compensate for this, it is a good idea to repeat your search using several different tools, even when using meta-search engines.