Finding People Via the Internet
Advice on How to Use Search Engines
- Alta Vista:
Well, I have
to let Netsurf Digest report on this one: "It's easy. It's fast.
great. Really! Thanks to sponsor Digital Equipment Corporation
Alta Vista search site is instant competition for Yahoo, Inktomi,
ilk. It's easy to believe DEC's claim that it has indexed more
million Web pages, along with postings from 13,000 Usenet groups
in real-time". Click on "Surprise" for random fun. Addictive? You
is the latest word in free industrial-strength Web searching.
descriptions accompany hits. If you only add one search engine to
hotlist, add this one. It's a light year ahead of the others." So
I had to
put it at the top of the list.
Search Engines: An index of 750 search engines for different topics. Great
for specific searches (Thanks to Fermin Lopez for this one).
- eDirectory: If you are
information from a particular country and would like to access
based there, then the eDirectory may be for you. This meta-site
is a model of
simplicity: the first page currently lists 39 countries for which
indexes have been identified, and clicking on the country's name
user to a page that lists the search engines specific to it. The
submit a search request using the form on the page, or may go to
index itself by clicking on its name. There no annotations, no
the indexes' scope or coverage; but if what you need is access to
range of sites than the usual US-based search engine give, a
visit to the
eDirectory may put you on the right path.
- Yellow Web Europe: Search
engine/Internet directory for Europe.
AlphaSearch is a new subject-based metasite provided by the Hekman Digital Library at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. A metasite of metasites, AphaSearch is a gateway into the topics it covers. Users can browse by resource type, any of 35 subjects from archaeology to Spanish, or by descriptor, which the Calvin selectors have applied to each resource. Searches in AlphaSearch are limited to single word at this time; however, fielded searching is available. Each resource offers a short description and a link to a full description containing hyperlinked title words and descriptors. At present, AlphaSearch contains some 700 metaresources and shows great promise of becoming one of the premier educational subject metasites on the Internet.
- Kompass 1.5 million directory listings of international companies. Search tool.
- ProFusion--A Meta
Search Engine: Allows users to simultaneously search using any or all of
nine search engines. Users can choose which engines to search, and items
retrieved are ranked by relevance. Boolean searching is supported, as is
optional link checking, a more time-intensive process. Duplicate materials are
removed by the search system.
- Buscopio: A list of a couple thousand search engines.
- Northern Light:
Northern Light adds a new wrinkle to Internet search indexes by way of its
organization of retrieved results. Any search will retrieve "best
documents" on the right side of the screen, along with a set of "custom
search folders," (subject, type, source, or language) on the left side of
the screen, to help users retrieve relevant items. Click on any of these
folders, and a set of sub-folders will be opened. These folders are
generated on the fly, rather than being part of a created hierarchy. Of
course, the actual relevance of retrieved items for this, as for any large
search index, depends on the ability of the searcher to narrow the search
by use of Boolean tools. Also, as with any other large search index, there
is no filtering for information quality. At present, Northern Light
supports Boolean OR/NOT/MUST(+)/MUST NOT(-) and phrase searching. In
addition to searching the web, users can search a database of information
contained in journals, books, magazines, and newswires (this premium
service will be fee-based after early October). (Scout Report, 26 Sept.,
- Lycos: Named after
word for a family of spiders that hunts its prey, this well-known
engine scores hits based on the probable relevancy to your search
displays them in descending order (most to least relevant).
to access and slow, Lycos actually does a speedy job given the
users (150,000 per week) and pages search (5 million plus), and
use a smaller catalog or switch to a different server when usage
Lycos's most practical feature: excerpts from each page's
your keywords in boldface type, that let you quickly judge
whether the page
is a must or a bust.
- Yahoo! Debuts New Search
Engine: Yahoo! has enhanced its search interface to help
users more quickly reach
Internet resources they need. Searches now return a summary page,
hits in four categories: Yahoo Categories, Web Sites, Net Events
Net Events site) and News (from Reuters, PR Newswire, Business
a search comes up empty in these four categories, it will be
Vista search engine for an Internet-wide search. In addition,
now presented in order of relevance (as determined by the search
may have a fairly sketchy grasp on what the user really wants)
alphabetically, though the user can choose an alphabetical list
advanced search page allows limited Boolean operation, searching
Yahoo! resources, a time frame for listings, and how many matches
page (Scout Report, 20 Dec. 1997).
- Yahoo en espaņol
- Excite: Excellent. Its
contains 1.5 million Web pages, all of which it has visited and
also lets you search the last two weeks of Usenet.
- HotBot (formerly
to you by the University of California at Berkeley, this is a Net
that claims a higher actual document count than Lycos and
further claim to fame is that its database is distributed across
workstations for increased processing speed. Document results
inform you of
the actual keyword hits within each matching document.
- Eureka!: Lets
a search on most major Internet search engines from one simple
form. This site is most useful for the novice Internetter, and
those who are
not put off by tons of descriptive text about how to use "simple"
(NetSurfer Digest, March 15, 1996)
- Dogpile and
MetaFind: Don't be fooled by the frivolous attitude conveyed by
Dogpile. Provided by
Aron Flin and Unusual Solutions, Dogpile is a powerful meta-search utility
that will query up to 23 Web, Usenet, and FTP search indexes with one
command. Boolean AND/NEAR/NOT and phrase searching is supported. Results
are retrieved from three search engines at a time. The user controls which
Internet protocols are searched and the time spent searching. In custom
search mode, the user has complete control over both the indexes searched
and the order searched. Unusual Solutions also provides MetaFind, which
searches six web indexes, supports all the operators of Dogpile plus OR
searching, and retrieves a limited number of "hits" from each index.
Dogpile and MetaFind are fast and easy ways to query multiple search
indexes, and are formidable individual efforts (Scout Report, 30 May, 1997).
Owner's Search Engine: Concentrating on business owners' needs, this site
contains good, brief descriptions of how to get the most power from your
searches on 13 of the most popular search engines available (Netsurf Digest,
12 Feb. 1997).
- WWW Search
Engines: This document contains a number of search engines -
Indexes; Robot Generated WWW Indexes; Software searches; E-Mail
Document and Dictionary searches.
- WWWW -
the WORLD WIDE WEB WORM: This engine lets you search for Web
locating specific hypertext (the blue underlined words that
to other Web locales), page titles, or words within the URL
instructions and a few great sample searches ("Find All Home
Finland," "Find All MPEG Movies on the WWW") ensure you'll get
the hang of
- Open Text
Index: If precision is an absolute necessity, try this engine
Canadian firm, which like the Worm lets you search parts of Web
(titles, hyperlinks) using Boolean and word-proximity operators
as well as
ranked (numerically weighted) search terms. Sounds hard, but
and examples are provided. Check out Open Text's "Hot Searches"
which lets you try popular hunts for Web pages about Star Trek
WebFinder: InterNIC Directory and Database Services has recently released
Internet search directory that "finds web pages associated with
organizations." Rather than search the text of pages, titles, or URLs of
web pages with spider technology, "WebFinder uses the [search query]
provided to search an external database of organizations." The external
database at present contains over 760,000 items. For each query, many web
pages associated with the organization can be returned. Users can receive a
partial or complete list of hits. Although the help file is small at this
point, this is an interesting concept in the organization of retrieval for
a web search engine (Scout Report, 13 December, 1997).
Sleuth: It had
to happen: a comprehensive database of Web databases. This search
generates a list of hyperlinks to other, more obscure engines you
for instance, typing in the term BOOKS brings up 10 hits,
Adventurous Travel Bookstore, a Web database of more than 1,700books
chronicling exciting travel getaways worldwide. If keywords
aren't of much
use, you can browse through the Sleuth's database alphabetically
category. There are also "Quidk Search" queries to Lycos, Yahoo,
DejaNews, a great free engine for keyword hunting of current
With Reference.Com, you can search the Usenet and mailing list
archives, and newsgroups and mailing list directories, and order
the results by preference or alphabetically. It's very speedy,
and organized clearly and concisely (NetSurf Digest, 25 Jan.
- InfoSeek: The Net
swooning over this subscription service, calling it fast,
able to find Web resources no free engine can. You can kick the
tires for free for one month, after which you either cancel or
- Cosmix Mother
may not be the mother of all Web search engines, but the Cosmix
shows enough promise to take some of the load off its ever-busy
this directory of directories and search engines, you get a
choice of three
flavors: Insane ("the most thorough metasearch"); Web ("a
metasearch"); and Mother Load ("a local directory search").
Insane lets you
select online magazines and newspapers for your
moments, and the yahoo-like categories in "Mother-Load" are great
(from Netsurf Digest, April 22, 1996).
Information Systems' database is designed to help you locate
large and small which maintain a Web presence, ranging from
tiny specialty shops. Use one simplistic keyword, such as
HARDWARE or FOOD.
- SavvySearch: A
nifty alternative if Lycos overshelms you with Web-page
SavySearch simultaneously queries Lycos, Yahoo, and several other
and presents the results in a simple, homogeneous format - terse,
Search Page: William Cross improves on the Sleuth idea,
search many of the same form-based Web databases, but all without
his page. Query forms are grouped into broad categories such
"People"; click on the "+" icons to open up the different groups,
- Home of
the Internet Wizard!: The makers of CompuServe's Spry Mosaic
put together this engine, which takes your keywords and returns
the 20 top
matching Web sites. An adjacent "Other Search Tools" page lets
looking through more specialized indices elsewhere on the Web,
variety of dictionaries and shareware storehouses such as the
- WebCrawler Searching:
engine run by America Online, Compuserve's main competition.
- WWW Nomad
- CUSI Search
- Night N
- EINet Galaxy
- New Rider's
WWW Yellow Pages
- NCSA What's New
- Filez.com" Software
search of FTP sites. Claims it can search over 60 million files
for specific titles, on specific platforms.
- Terra: en Espaņol
- All The Web.com
Finding People on the Internet
E-Mail addresses are notoriously difficult to find. To find out
why, try the first address, which gives a good definition of the
problem and a few suggestions for starting your search. The
complete text is available in the Registrar's office. This is
followed by other sites that give help in searching. Telephone
directories on-line are a bit easier, of course, since they are
already organized. However, whenever there is a problem in
relation to the Internet, there are dozens of people out there
who try to find a solution. The number of E-Mail and
telephone/address services has exploded. Sorry, most are based in
the U.S.A. As an alternative to the following sites specifically
designed to find people, try entering your last name in one of
the above search engines and see what comes up. If you have an
unusual name like "Heglar", you just might find some long-lost
relatives. (Thanks to The Net(Aug. 1996) magazine for
many of the following sites and descriptions)
- Finding an E-mail
Address: A hyperlinked list of hints and resources for people
Directory Assistance: Provides up-to-date phone numbers for
people in the U.S.
- American Universities: A directory of
college and university home pages. Use it to find a school, and
then search for students and employees.
- Bigfoot: An e-mail
directory that currently boasts 4 million entries, and claims to
grow at a rate of one million new entries every month.
Online: Find your old high school alumni. More than 15,000
schools are registered here (U.S. only).
- Deja News: A vast
compendium of messages posted to Usenet since March 1995. Type in
a name, and if you're lucky, you'll receive your subject's e-mail
- Four11 Online User
Directory: More than 6.5 million listings of e-mail addresses
and phone numbers.
InfoSpace is a new Web based phone directory that claims to be
the "most comprehensive on the Internet," with over 112 million
listings. Users can search people, businesses, yellow pages, and
fax directories in the U.S. and Canada. A blue pages government
and toll ree 800 number directory is available for the U.S. only
at this time. Forthcoming services include a large email search
service and map-based individual, business, and government
directories. As always there is no guarantee that information
found is correct (as it is based on telephone directory
listings), but the sheer magnitude of this venture, along with
the fact that it includes Canadian as well as American listings,
merits a look at InfoSpace (Scout Report, 14 June, 1996).
- Internet Address
Finder: Almost 4 million e-mail addresses are listed here so
- MIT's Usenet
Addresses Service: A list of about 4 million e-mail addresses
culled by the Massachesetts Institute of Technology.
- Netfind: Yahoo's own service for finding people
listed in its directories.
- OKRA net.citzen
Directory Service: A directory of e-mail addresses that is
approaching 5.4 million entries.
Finder: Post a message about the person you're looking for,
and who knows, the right person may eventually find it, and the
- Reunion Hall:
Another high school alumni search site. (U.S.)
- SearchAmerica: A
database of 220 million names that costs a minimum of 25 cents
per page of information.
- Switchboard: A
whopping directory of more than 90 million names and phone
- WhoWhere? An e-
mail address finding service that employs a simple searching
- World E-Mail
Directory: A directory with an international flavor that lets
you search by continent; boasts more than 9 million entries.
Trade Center: E-Mail search. Become a Member of the WED and
get a Free
Homepage. Business Opportunities here.
- Yahoo! White Pages: Yahoo's links to many of the best
- Yahoo People
Search: I haven't checked out this site's ability to find E-
Mail addresses, but it sure does well with finding phone numbers
of people in the U.S. It's like having the white pages for the
- WorldPages: These people claim
more than 112 million integrated white and yellow page listings from the US
and Canada, along with another few million listings available via links to
international directories (Netsurf Digest, 17 March, 1997).
- The Seeker: The Seeker can put
you on the right track to finding lost loves, biological parents, long-lost
family members, and more. Special sections are devoted to searches for Native
American relatives, genealogical roots, beneficiaries and military buddies
(Netsurf Digest, 17 March, 1997).
- Dial 212 For Information: Experienced
netsurfers by now are completely used to - and bored by -
Internet indices. A few main ones (you yahoos know which they are) dominate
zillions of smaller ones. Presenting an alternative, 212.net has cast their
hat into the Net index ring with a site featuring just a hint of attitude.
The sites listed are grouped into several high-level categories, such as
"fresh" (new stuff), "practical" (Net stuff) and "intellectual" (zines, e-
or otherwise). The 212.net site, with its organized appearance and a
listing of some of the Net's most interesting sites, is definitely not the
worst thing to happen to the Net. Its almost snobby attitude and
pick-your-own soundtrack certainly make it original. You'll either love it
or hate it (Scout Report, 4 July, 1997).
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Advice on How to Use Search Engines
- The Spider's
How to Use Web Search Engines: Using search engines is not
if you want to increase you search power check out this site. It
gives a basic
overview of how search engines function, options for conducting
reviews of the best engines. Complete copies of all pages are
for photocopying from the Registrar.
Directory and Database Services Search Tools Page: As the
number of information resources available on the Internet
continues to increase, there has also been a substantial growth
in the search tools available to help users find the particular
information that interests them. InterNIC Directory now offers an
online listing of search tools organized by type of search. The
listings include tools that help users search NetNews, tools that
search for particular software on the net, tools that search for
people by name, and various other search categories (Scout
Report, 7 June, 1996).
- JUST WHAT IS THE SEARCH ENGINE OF CHOICE? Web search engines
pop up like dandelions in spring, and it's tedious to
test them for accuracy and timeliness. We'd like to thank
Charles Seiter for doing just that. Macworld is kind enough to
articles online, and you can read Charles's report at the URL
Essentially, he gives high marks to Infoseek Ultra, and merely
grades to the best of the rest. If you do a lot of Web searches,
this is a
must read (Netsurf Digest, 3 November, 1996).
Matrix: Information and evaluation of Internet Catalogs and
Less graphical entrance:
BotSpot, provided by BotSpot Inc., is a large meta-resource for robot and
intelligent agent software sites and information. Users can enter via a search
or browse gateway to annotated links to bot sites in fourteen subjects
including commerce bots, government bots, search bots, and update bots. There
is also a bot of the week, an explanation of bots, and annotated pointers to
relevant articles, conferences, FAQ's, and journals. A great deal of thought
and careful planning is evident in this well designed site (Scout Report, 17
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Last modified: 25 March, 1998. This page is updated on a
Please check frequently. If you would like to make suggestions or
that something doesn't work, direct yourself to the Registrar's
"Webmaster" Laurence Heglar,