From: Bob Rankin 
Subject: TOURBUS - 25 August 1998 - Search Engine Goodies

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           TODAY'S TOURBUS TOPIC: Search Engine Goodies

Welcome to another week on the Internet Tourbus!  Today we have a
roundup of sites that all relate to Internet searching.  I think you'll
find each one interesting and useful.  But first, a few words from
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Direct Hit - New Search Engine Technology

Direct Hit is a new technology that promises that a breakthrough in
helping people find what they're really after when using search engines.
Using an innovative kind of automated collaborative filtering, Direct
Hit is a "plug in" that search engines can use to dramatically boost
relevancy in the hits they present.

It works on the assumption that if 10,000 other people did the same
search you're planning to do, then you'll probably be interested in the
sites they visited most often after their searches.

Direct Hit keeps an eye on the sites users click on after a search, and
how much time they spend at those sites before returning to the search
engine.  This enables it to detect which sites are potentially the most
valuable to other users doing similar searches, and which are real duds.

The people that created Direct Hit of course hope that all the major
search engines will want to license their nifty technology.  That would
be just fine with me, since it seems to work quite well.  Right now,
Hotbot is the only search site to adopt the Direct Hit technology.  Try
most any search, then you can click again to compare the Hotbot hits to
the 10 sites that Direct Hit thinks are most relevant.

   Direct Hit at Hotbot - 

Ask Jeeves

Remember in my last post, I bemoaned the fact that InfoPlease did not
handle natural language queries?  Well a couple of readers told me that
Ask Jeeves and Ask Jeeves for Kids are great sites for finding answers
to plain English queries such as: "Why is the sky blue?"

Boy, were they ever right!  Jeeves even knows why the chicken crossed
the road.  It's fun to see how much Jeeves really knows, and you can
even take a peek at what other people are asking!

   Ask Jeeves - 

   Ask Jeeves for Kids - 

NewsTrawler - A New Parallel Search Tool

Searching for something that appeared in a newspaper, magazine, journal,
or online news source?  Try NewsTrawler, a new tool that helps you
"trawl" through a collection of hundreds of online archives for news

NewsTrawler lets you select from a list of over 200 sources, then sends
your search words out simultaneously to search each one.  When the
results are collected, they are collated and displayed.  This is quite
similar to the Electric Library site ( with one
important difference.

NewsTrawler doesn't charge a fee to access any of the sources that
appear in your search results.  Some of the individual sites that
generate search hits may charge a fee, but Electric Library charges for
access to ALL of them - even the free ones.  NewsTrawler doesn't.

Sound confusing?  Here's an example that should clear things up.  Let's
say you search for "bob rankin" on Electric Library.  One of the hits
you'll turn up is an article I wrote for PC World magazine, but you have
to pay to access the full text.  The same search on NewsTrawler will get
you full text from the PCW website for free!  To its credit, Electric
Library probably has more sources, and will search them all without
making you select 200 little checkboxes, but free it ain't.

Business owners can use NewsTrawler to do market research, and keep
tabs on the competition.  Students can research news items for
projects, and teachers can use it as a research aid for teaching.
You can visit NewsTrawler and try it for yourself at

  NewsTrawler - 


Patrick and I really enjoy hearing from dozens of you each week about
how fun Tourbus is, or how a certain issue really came in handy.  But
we'd like to ask one little favor of each of you.  Please feel free to
send any issue of Tourbus to a few friends and tell them to hop on the
Bus - we have plenty of room.

We do ask that you forward issues "as is" including BOTH the copyright
block shown below (so they'll know how to subscribe) and a short
personal note, so they'll know it comes from you, and not us.

Thanks, and see you next time!  --Bob Rankin

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