Date:         Fri, 16 Feb 2001 01:44:15 +0000
Sender:       The Internet TourBus - A virtual tour of cyberspace
From:         Bob Rankin 
Subject:      TOURBUS - 15 Feb 01 - ResearchBuzz
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                TOURBUS Volume 6, Number 59 -- 15 Feb 2001
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    __________ ____________ ________ __________ ________________ _
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  |         WHY  SURF  WHEN  YOU  CAN  RIDE  THE  BUS?     /    |  \
  |__________|__________/__________|__________|___________/_____|   \
 /                                                              |----\
|               FIVE YEARS of Searchable Archives               |////|
|                   at                   |////|
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     \___/  \___/  T h e   I n t e r n e t   T o u r B u s    \___/
           TODAY'S TOURBUS TOPIC: ResearchBuzz
Longtime readers may remember Tara Calishain as a special guest driver
for the 'Bus back in 1999. I noticed lately that she had been a little
too quiet over in her corner, so I visited her at to
see what she was up to.  After trolling through the site's archives I
put together a sampler of ResearchBuzz to give you an idea of the kind
of information you can find in the ResearchBuzz newsletter.
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AltaVista Cut the Junk!
AltaVista has gotten a great facelift.  The graphics are minimal! In
fact, they're jettisoning huge amounts of stuff that had nothing to do
with being a search engine.  Most of the clutter on the front page is
gone, including headline news from, Clubs, Photo Albums,
Home Pages, Message Boards, Chat, My AltaVista, and the My Live!
customized portal (including Bookmarks and Stock Portfolios). Sounds
like they're exiting portal-dom. Good.  This is a good beginning for
AltaVista to get back to their search engine roots. I hope they
concentrate on doing this, and not on suing other search engines for
patent infringement.  
There are also some new features that searchers might find
interesting.  AltaVista now offers an "education search" which allows
you to search over 20 million pages' worth of college and university
sites. Basically this is just a search hardcoded to restrict searches
to the .edu domain, but it's a great first step. 
The government search is similar, restricting searches to the .gov
domain. (Wouldn't it have been wonderful if AltaVista had gone just a
little further, researched applicable government-type domains like
.mil and .us, and built a search engine that let users search any or
all of those subsets?) 
Google Notes
Google is now offering free site search to universities. University
Webmasters can get more information on this at . Unsurprisingly, Google's
University search list has gotten HUGE. Check it out at  
And Google now partially supports title and URL special syntaxes. The
title special syntax is allintitle:. So if you want to find
ResearchBuzz in a title, the query looks like this:
However, once you've used that special syntax, you can't use anything
else. For example, if I tried this query:
                        researchbuzz allintitle:researchbuzz
it wouldn't work. Now, this query would work:
                        allintitle:researchbuzz news
But if you look carefully at the results, you'll see why -- Google is
finding both the words researchbuzz AND news in the title of the pages
returned.  Now, there IS one exception to this. You can use a NOT with
this syntax. For example, if you try this query:
                        allintitle:researchbuzz -news
You'll only get a few results. This comes in more handy when you're
restricting your research to an URL. If you want to restrict your
search to an URL, you do it this way:
That finds your word only in the URL of a page. so you could do: If
you wanted to restrict the kinds of sites you get, you could do this
to end up with far fewer results:
                        allinurl:neruda -com -net -org
Forbes Starts A People Tracker
In what looks like kinda like Celebrity Sleuth, Forbes has started
People Tracker. The site claims to track over 120,000 executives and
rich and famous people. Once you register (free and pretty
non-intrusive; it asks for a name, password, title, and zip code) you
can start searching. 
In my ongoing quest for unusual search examples, I looked up James
Linford, CEO of Gardenburger. And hey, he was there. Clicking on his
name provided his name, title, and city and state of his company--not
much other information there. There were links to other Gardenburger
executives, though, making this a good jumping-off point if you were
planning to do research on a single company. (You can do a people
search on a stock symbol, too, making it very easy to search for
company officers.) The CEO of General Electric had lots of
information, with cross-references using links on the left side of the
page (for example, you could find other conglomerate executives who
are 64 years old, etc.)
Ancestry Hits One Billion
MyFamily/ announced yesterday that its online resource for
genealogical research has reached one billion people across about
3,000 databases. To give you a point of comparison, in early 1999 they
had information on approximately 200 billion people across 800
databases. You can read the press release about this at  
New York Times Vastly Expanding Archives
The New York Times archives will be expanded to include digital images
of every page from 1851 to the end of 1998. (That's about 3,500,000
pages. Woo.) This is as a result of a licensing deal between Bell &
Howell and the New York Times. This conversation will take about 15
months and the pages will be released in batches that cover a decade
each. Unfortunately this archive will be available only to libraries
and schools (as an independent researcher, I'm incredibly bummed.) The
news release about this deal is available at 
This announcement comes on the heels of Bell & Howell's announcement
of the ProQuest Historical Newspapers project, which will cover the
digitization of many newspapers back to the 19th century. While the
press release doesn't name any specific papers, it does mention
"hundreds" of newspapers, starting with US newspapers and then
expanding to cover newspapers all over the world. You can get the
press release for this announcement at 
Riddle Me This, Batman! (Test Search Engine)
If you're one of those folks who is into constant self-analysis, this
is the site for you. provides a directory of tests of
the Web, including IQ tests, personality tests, career tests, etc. The
site is browsable by category or keyword searchable.  
Site listings include the name and URL of a site, a brief description,
and some idea of how long the test will take (longer than an hour,
less than 30 minutes, etc.) Additional icons denote whether the test
is form-based, if you can take it offline, whether you get the results
via e-mail, and the test's rating.  Worth a look.
It's-Like-Nature-Man-Wow (Nature Search Engine)
NatureServe is a search engine cataloging conservation information on
over 50,000 plants, animals, and "ecological communities" in North
America.  You can search for either plants and animals or ecological
communities. The plant and animal search allows you to search by name
(common or scientific), group (ie birds) or species group (plants,
fungi, or animals in various states of spine.) There are also options
to search by location (US State or Canadian Province) or status (from
"Presumed Extinct" through "Not Yet Ranked.")  Note that this site
will not work if you have disabled cookies in your browser. 
Get Buzzed!
ResearchBuzz is still running strong, now into its third year and over
one hundred issues of information on search engines, databases, and
information collections.  From online dictionaries to t-shirt
databases Tara has reported on it all. (Okay, not all of it, but most
it. A good bit of it. Some of it, anyway.)  Thanks to Tara for letting
us share her news!  And if you liked what you saw here, the
ResearchBuzz newsletter is free. Sign up here: 
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
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TOURBUS - 15 FEB 01 - ResearchBuzz, viruses, hoaxes, urban legends, search engines, cookies, cool sites
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