Choose the Best Search for Your Information Need

 Need additional search ideas? Try NoodleQuest (interactive version)
 
I need to define my topic...

I need to understand the scope of my topic
IntuteInvestigate annotated academic sites (advanced search)
INFOMINESearch annotated academic sites and subject databases (advanced search)
AcademicInfo Subject GuidesBrowse subject guides with descriptions of relevant sites

I need to see related topics
GoogleUncover buried sites using "related searches"
BingSearch for your topic, then drill down "related searches"

I need to refine and narrow my topic
SurfWaxSearch for your topic, then click "Focus" (top) to show similar, broader, and narrower topics
iSeek EducationAsk a question or search a topic in this database of "trusted resources" - use "targets" to refine search
WikipediaDrill down “Contents” to explore subtopics

I need to choose a controversial issue
Hot Topics (Google Custom Search)Begin your search on selective hot topic sites
IDEA PortalBrowse or search a debate topic database with pro/con arguments
Glean Comparison SearchBuild your pro/con search using comparative terms (K-12)

I need background on possible topics
SweetSearchA selective search of Web information for students
WikipediaSearch this wiki (quality content is starred), then follow article links to more information
Columbia EncyclopediaSearch basic factual information in this encyclopedia (c 2000)
 
I need to find quality results...

I need authoritative sites chosen by an expert researcher
INFOMINELibrarian-selected scholarly sites
LibGuidesLibrarian-created topic pathfinders
InfotopiaCustomized safe-search of educator-selected sites

I need personal help from experts
Ask an ipl2 LibrarianGet answers from volunteers and grad students in a week (K-12)
AllExpertsAsk your question of a self-identified volunteer subject-expert
Ask a LibrarianLibrary research questions answered in five days (no homework questions)

I need sites ranked or tagged as valuable or relevant
GoogleHigh PageRank means popular, relevant sites link to the page
TechnoratiBrowse or search user-identified subjects ("tags") for blog advice or opinions
Ask.comHigh ExpertRank indicates subject-specific popularity

I need primary sources
American MemoryLocate documents, sound recordings, images, maps, and other American primary sources
Ready, 'Net, Go!Browse worldwide archival index
Library and Archival Exhibitions on the WebSearch for online exhibitions selected by Smithsonian librarians

I need peer-reviewed journal articles
OpenJ-GateSearch narrow term in open-access global journal literature (advanced search)
Directory of Open Access JournalsSearch by narrow term to find open access journal articles or browse a subject directory
 
I need to do research in a specific discipline...

I need official government information
USA.govSearch official U.S. government information and services
Foreign Governments (Intl. Documents Coll., Northwestern U)Alphabetical links to the official websites of national governments
DirectgovSearch or browse official UK information and services

I need in-depth information about a country or unrepresented territory
CIA World FactbookSearch on keyword or select country or location name
Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO)Browse Web sites from indigenous peoples, occupied nations, minorities and independent states or territories

I need science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) research or sources
ScirusScience-specific Web portals, reports, peer-reviewed articles, patents, preprints and journals
National Science Digital Library (NSDL)Search by grade level, subject (STEM) and resource format
IntuteUse advanced search to limit search by science, technology, or mathematics subject areas

I need reputable health information
MedlinePlusSearch diseases, conditions and health topics
Mayo ClinicBrowse by disease or search conditions, symptoms, tests and health topics
KidsHealthHealth information directed to kids, teens or parents

I need legal documents, agencies or news
FindLawSearch cases and codes (U.S. federal and state), news and commentary
Legal Information Institute (Cornell U Law)Search or browse wiki of worldwide legal information
State Legislative Websites DirectorySearch database of U.S. state legislatures, DC and territories for home page, bills, press rooms, statutes, etc.

I need creative and performing arts sources
IntuteUse advanced search to limit search to arts and humanities subject areas
Art History Resources on the WebGlobal art history resources chosen by a scholar
JURNGoogle custom search of 3,500+ ejournals in the arts and humanities
 
The timeliness of information that I need is...

within the last hour
Google Real-TimeChoose "past hour" from the left column for the most recent news
10x10Explore 100 words and pictures that "matter most" globally in the last hour

today
Google NewsView top news stories and refine by category or topic
NewsNowSearch breaking global news headlines or newsfeeds (UK service)
NewseumBrowse today's front page treatment of news from nearly 100 countries

recent
GoogleSearch and limit by time period, or choose "timeline" (from "more search tools" on left) to see a topic's evolution
Yahoo NewsSearch recent news and filter by time period ("past week")

recent (with analysis)
BBC Special ReportsIn-depth topic coverage including news features, analysis, photos, audio and video
Times TopicsCollected news, reference and archival information, photos, graphics, audio and video files about topics
PolitiFactSearch news keyword or browse fact checking of statements made by members of Congress, the White House, lobbyists and interest groups

long-term investigative reports
ProPublicaNews investigations of significant government, business, and institutional wrongdoing
Center for Public IntegrityOriginal reporting of public issues designed to make "institutional power more transparent and accountable"
Center for Investigative ReportingCritical investigations of injustice or abuse of power with actionable information to assist citizens

a particular time period (decade, century, era)
HistoryWorldEnter year event to retrieve timeline, then click on icons for information or images
INFOMINESearch by a term like "Golden Age" or "18th century"
Wikipedia: List of TimelinesBrowse Wikipedia’s list of timelines (civilizations, people, events, etc.)

historical
American MemorySearch America's primary source documents and images, browse by topic, time period, medium or place
ipl2Drill down into the history section or search fewer, broader terms (e.g., "terrorists" not "Righteous Path")
Digital HistoryHigh-quality historical resources, primary sources, multimedia, subject guides

ancient
Ancient History SourcebookSearch online ancient-history texts, images, audio, or browse by region, period (e.g., Persia, Late Antiquity)
ipl2Drill down into ancient history section or search fewer, broader terms (e.g., "Greece" not "Spartan women")
 
I need facts...

a person
Biography.comSearch 25,000+ biographies by name, keyword and profession
Who2Search for famous people with "four good links" to more information
Dictionary of Canadian Biography OnlineSearch biographies from Canada's history (16th-20th century)

a place
CIA World FactbookSelect country for basic profile and transnational issues
Country StudiesCross-search or view a country (last update 1998) - historical, social, economic, political and national security data
Stately KnowledgeBasic U.S. state facts, links to state government site and encyclopedia (IPL KidSpace)

a company
NYPL: Searching for Company InformationFind company information based on your need

general reference answers
Ask.comFind a fact, biography, statistic or conversion, or reference answer
Columbia EncyclopediaFind basic information
YahooLearn shortcut words to get quick answers

news background (facts, people, and documents)
 
I need opinions and perspectives...

I want opinions on current issues
HeadlineSpot Opinion/EditorialsBrowse opinion/editorial in U.S. and some international newspapers
PollingReportBrowse results of U.S. public opinion surveys
Issues & Press (U.S. Dept. of State)Investigate U.S. position on international issues

I need news from other countries' perspectives
World Press ReviewGet nonpartisan summaries of views outside U.S.
NewspaperindexBrowse selected world newspapers
ABYZ News LinksBrowse international broadcast and Internet news, newspapers, magazines, and press agencies

I want multiple perspectives on hot social and political topics
Social IssuesLinks to pro/con on current social issues
Public AgendaAnalysis of public attitudes on social issues with overview, pro/con, organization links
UN News Centre: News FocusBrowse for UN-related issues by region, country or topic

I want to compare news treatment
NewseumCompare news reporting on U.S. front pages
PressDisplayCompare news reporting from 55 countries
 
I need a specific type of media...

maps
Google MapsSearch and view satellite and street-level maps
MapMachineSearch, browse and print country, physical and political maps
American FactFinder MapsSee trends/patterns when you superimpose chosen geographical features and census data on U.S. maps

photographs and visual images
Google Image SearchUse advanced search to limit by size, coloration, file type
Yahoo Image SearchUse advanced search to limit by size and coloration
FlickrSearch users' photos by their subjects ("tags"), then choose a subtopic ("tag cluster)

fine art
ArtcyclopediaSearch (e.g., artist, medium, movement, subject) or browse for digitized art and online exhibits, see actual size
Intute: Arts and HumanitiesSearch or browse selected, evaluated resources

videos
Yahoo Video SearchSearch by keyword or phrase, use advanced search to limit by file format, size, duration and domain
YouTubeSearch for, watch or buy an ever-growing collection of TV shows, movies, music videos, documentaries, and personal productions
Internet Archive: Moving Image ArchiveSearch public domain films, newsreels, ads, documentaries, television series and other “cultural artifacts”

radio
PublicRadioFanFind public radio programs and podcasts worldwide

music
GoogleTo find song lyrics, search (in quotes) title or performer (plus) "song lyrics," to find information about the song's history search title (in quotes) and "origin"

sounds
FindSoundsGet sound effects and music samples: select a keyword or search a term limited by file format, quality and size

speeches
American RhetoricSearch site or browse categories of full-text, audio and video of American public speeches, lectures, debates, interviews, events
History and Politics Out LoudSearch or browse full-text public-domain audio with transcripts of 20th century political and historical events, personalities, and protest songs
American MemoryFind sound recordings of American primary source speeches

quotations
Bartleby.com QuotationsSearch classic passages, phrases and proverbs (1901 edn.)
Quotations PageSearch word, phrase, author within or across quotation collections
QuotelandSearch by keyword or browse topics, authors

statistical data
Statistical Information (NoodleTools)Links to statistical databases and advice on locating and understanding data

dictionary or thesaurus (for definitions, etymology, pronunciation, synonyms)
Yahoo ReferenceDefinitions, etymology, synonyms (English and Spanish) and audio-pronunciation
Merriam-Webster Dictionary and ThesaurusDefinitions, etymology, synonyms and audio-pronunciation
WordCentralDefinitions with pictures (student dictionary)

encyclopedia
Columbia EncyclopediaFactual information (updated 6/05)
WikipediaVolunteer-created and collaboratively edited: valuable for current topics (e.g., people in the news), technology (e.g., podcasting) -- information quality uneven

almanac data
Country at a Glance (U.N.)Basic country profile, use InfoNation to compare data from 6 countries
Information Please AlmanacStatistical and factual data -- beware popup minefield

books and other printed works
WorldCatSearch for books and reviews, options to refine results, check your local library's holdings
Google ScholarSearch (free and fee) scholarly works, locate related information using "cited by" links, use advanced search to limit (author, date, phrase, in title, subject area)
A9 OpenSearchSearch for books by keyword, then "Search Inside!" to see keyword-in-context
 
I have special search requirements...

run my search periodically and be notified of new results
Giga AlertRun Google search of 3 interests and get e-mail or RSS notification of new results
Google AlertsRun periodic Google searches and get e-mail (no RSS) notification of new results

specify a country where my search results are located
GoogleLimit by domain (advanced search) or by country (Language Tools)

use a search engine outside the U.S.
Search Engine ColossusBrowse search engines and directories from countries and territories

find sites organized by the Dewey Decimal System or Library of Congress Classification
Virtual LRCSelect Dewey Decimal number before searching
INFOMINEDrill down into Library of Congress Classification directory

locate resources by file type
GoogleLimit search by file type (.pdf, .ps, .doc, .xls, .ppt, .rtf)
YahooLimit search by file type (.html, .pdf, .doc, .xls, .ppt, .xml, .txt)
 
I am...

a kid
KidsClick!Find kid-friendly sites with educational content (grades K-7) selected by librarians
Ask KidsSearch by keyword, then select the best-match question for answers and links
Yahoo KidsSelect from kid-safe sites (grades 2- 7) organized by topic

pretty new to the Internet
GoogleLargest general purpose search engine
YahooLarge, general purpose search engine
ipl2Easy-to-navigate, well-annotated directory of librarian-selected Web sites

an Internet wizard
ExaleadConfigure highly-specific searches including proximity ("folk tales NEAR sun"), but smaller index than Google or Yahoo
INFOMINEConfigure a narrow search of a large, comprehensive academic virtual library (Web sites, databases, electronic journals, electronic books, bulletin boards, directories of researchers)


This page was last updated: Friday, May 10th, 2013