From:         Bob Rankin 
Subject:      TOURBUS - 31 Jul 03 - Super Searchers / Oddities


The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved

Take a break from those big all-purpose search engines for a while and try some online search tools that are designed for specific tasks. Find your answer faster with the special-purpose search sites in today's issue of Tourbus!

Before we begin today's tour of specialized search tools, I want to tell you about a new feature on the TOURBUS website. "Very Strange Things on the Web" is a collection of links to offbeat sites that are fun, amusing or just bizarre. All in good taste, of course.

Well-meaning friends who think I don't have enough to amuse me are always sending me links to these "interesting" sites, so I've decided to share them with all of you. I've started things off with an adventure game concealed in a deodorant website, and a few Strange Classics that you'll enjoy. And of course I welcome your suggestions for additions to this page.

Very Strange Things -


Web directories (also called portals) can be an excellent alternative to search engines when you're looking for information on a specific subject. That's because they are organized and maintained by real humans. Each of these directories lets you drill down through a subject hierarchy or search by keyword. I'll assume you already know about Yahoo, so let's look at two other sites:

LookSmart claims to be the global leader in Web directories, with 31 directories spanning dozens of countries and languages. There's more of an emphasis on reviewing sites, as opposed to just listing them.

LookSmart -

Working on the premise that the small paid editorial staffs at commercial directory sites (such as Yahoo and Looksmart) can't keep up with the ever-expanding Web, The Open Directory Project aims to produce a comprehensive directory of the web using an army of volunteer editors. The intended result: The Internet Brain.

Open Directory -

Finding People

I'm often asked where to look for "people finder" sites that offer search tools for telephone, email and address listings. My first answer is always Infospace.

InfoSpace -

If you don't find the person you're looking for, try these other sites since they all use different databases:

Switchboard -

Yahoo People Search -

Finding Images

Looking for a Tiger? Whether you're after a photo of the king of golf or a purring Bengal, you'll find it at one of these sites dedicated to helping you find multimedia files on the web:

Google Image Search -

Lycos Multimedia Search -

Ditto -

Finding Online Books

Project Gutenberg began in 1971 when founder Michael Hart was given a computer account with $100,000,000 of time in it. Hart turned his "fortune" into one of the Net's greatest treasures - a full-text archive of over 6000 public domain books.

Project Gutenberg -

Bartleby also offers full-text search and retrieval of many printed works. Browse through the classics of literature, nonfiction, and reference free of charge.

Bartleby -

Finding Discussion Groups

Looking for a place to talk, or hang with people who know everything about something? Try Google Groups (formerly Deja Usenet Archive), the largest Usenet newsgroup archive on the Net. If you're new to Usenet, you can learn the basics about reading, posting and participating in this collection of thousands of online discussion groups.

Google Groups -

If you prefer an email approach, start searching for mailing lists and newsletters at Topica:

Topica Directory -

Reference Tools

REFDESK - In a library, if you don't know where to look for a reference book, you go to the Reference Librarian. On the Internet, if you don't know where to look for answers, you go to At first glance, the sheer amount of useful links on the Refdesk home page can be overwhelming. But it's really quite well organized and useful.

RefDesk -

LIBRARY SPOT - Convenient links to popular online Almanacs, Calculators, Dictionaries, Directories, Encyclopedias, Historic Documents, Quotations, Statistics, and Thesauri.

LibrarySpot -

Published by the United States Central Intelligence Agency, the World Factbook has data on every country in the world, including maps, background, geography, people, government, economy, and military.

World Factbook -

Search dozens of almanacs all at once with the Information Please Almanac. Topics covered include: History & Government, Biography, Sports, Arts, Entertainment, Business & Finance, Consumer Resources, Health, Science and Weather.

Information Please Almanac -

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That's all for now, see you next time! --Bob Rankin

The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
Super Searchers-Oddities, viruses, hoaxes, urban legends, search engines, cookies, cool sites
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