BROADHURST-L ArchivesArchiver > BROADHURST > 2001-08 > 0998149242
From: Arthur G Broadhurst <>
Subject: [BROADHURST-L] Resources Available on the Web
Date: Sat, 18 Aug 2001 11:41:46 -0400
Here is an article that appeared in an E-Bulletin published by
Ancestry.com; it contains some very useful information about various search
techniques and resources that might generate newrmation for some of us:
"Along Those Lines"
George G. Morgan 8/17/2001 New Internet Search FacilitiesOne of the great
joys of my life is running a small seminar business whose primary customer
base is libraries and library consortia. Not only do I own and operate the
business, I get to work with some of the greatest, most intelligent people.
Among the workshops I teach to librarians are those relating to new and
unusual Internet resources. I am always on the lookout for new online
research tools and in "Along Those Lines . . ." this week, I want to share
some new and exciting Internet facilities I have discovered recently. If
you are like me, you will want to experiment with them to see if there is a
new directory, compilation, search engine, or meta search engine that will
extend your research.
Search Engines, Metasearch Engines, Directories, and Databases Oh My!
There are some great sites on the Internet to use to locate information.
With the exponential growth in the sheer numbers of Web pages, you need to
keep abreast of the new, more sophisticated tools that keep developing.
Many people are just getting started using the Internet. Others are
spreading their wings and learning to use more advanced features. And still
others are experts, but are always on the lookout for better tools. Let's
start this week with a simple definition of the four major types of
collected resources that genealogical researchers use most. Directories A
directory is a compilation of resources, grouped into hierarchical
categories so that subjects and contents can be easily located. Directories
are unique in that they have been compiled by human beings who have made a
conscious decision about each potential entry: whether it should or should
not be included in the directory (using some criteria), where it should be
filed in the directory's hierarchical structure, and whether there should
be some cross-reference into one or more other categories. Good examples of
directories would be Yahoo! and Cyndi's List. A directory may also provide
a search facility so that contents can be located quickly using keywords or
phrases. Both Yahoo! and Cyndi's List provide this function. A commercial
directory like Yahoo! and others may also have formed an alliance with a
search engine (see below) to reach out to search for resources on the
Internet which have not been included in the directory's hierarchical
content. Yahoo!, for example, and the Google search engine are so
affiliated. Search Engines A search engine is a searchable index of links
to Web pages. Its index is compiled electronically by "robots," "bots," or
"spiders" which navigate from Web page to Web page compiling keywords.
While administrators may add Web pages to the index on request (or for an
advertising fee), the vast majority of Web pages are electronically
indexed. The index is compiled using three important areas of each Web
page: the words in the title of the page (those words in the blue title bar
at the top of your browser); META tags, which are hidden keywords provided
by the Web page author to facilitate a page being included in a search
result such as the words "Cherokee" and "Seminole" when you enter a search
for the phrase "native American" in your browser; and the words in the text
of the Web pages, including file names, and excluding prepositions,
articles, and punctuation marks. A search engine provides a search facility
which allows you to enter a word, several words, or a phrase and search its
index, and it presents you with a search results list prioritized in some
relevancy ranking sequence. Search engines with supposedly the largest
indexes at this writing are Google, FastSearch , and Alta Vista. Metasearch
Engines A metasearch engine's function is to issue a search to multiple
search engines at once, effectively requesting a simultaneous search for
the same keyword or phrase. Search results are displayed for you to review.
Two of the largest and favorite metasearch engines are Dogpile and Metacrawler.
Databases A database is a collection of information stored in the form of
records. The data is searchable through the input of queries, and queries
may take the form of keywords or phrases. Data is gathered as a result of a
query and presented 'on the fly' into a search results list. On the
Internet, results are presented as Web pages that are built on demand. As a
consequence of the way information is stored (in a database), that
information is not available to be compiled into a directory or indexed
electronically by a search engine. You therefore will never access a
database's content through a directory or search engine (or metasearch
engine). Excellent examples of databases would include the Social Security
Death Index (SSDI) or any of the other databases at Ancestry.com, the LDS
FamilySearch database, RootsWeb's WorldConnect Project, or the Ancestry
That said, let's discuss some newly available resources.
One of the newest directories to become available is at the Google search
engine. Introduced a few months ago, the Google Directory can be accessed
from the Google main page or directly at http://directory.google.com. You
can work your way through the hierarchical tree structure or use the search
box to search either the directory itself or Web pages indexed by Google.
The directory is a joint effort between Google and volunteer editors from
New Search Engines
There have been a number of new search engines launched in the last few
months. Here are the best of the lot. Remember to use both the simple/basic
search AND the advanced search facilities to fine-tune your search for Web
Teoma is being touted as the next Google. Its simple search screen is easy
to use, and the responses are grouped into three types of search results:
Web pages with authoritative sites relevant to your query; top Web pages
grouped together by topic; and Expert Links containing directories of links
for related general subjects.
Vivisimo This excellent new search engine groups your search results into
categories for ease of viewing. It can search the Web or any of numerous
directories, or news, sports, medical, technical, and other sites.
Web Brain This is a most interesting search engine which uses a moving
visual structure to display categories of materials. Let's say you enter
the word "genealogy" in the search box. The upper half of the screen
depicts Genealogy in the center, with branches out to other groups of
subcategories. In the bottom half of the screen, categories are listed with
a clickable link to "genealogy." You may click in the upper half of the
screen or scroll through the lower half of the screen and click there. When
you click on a new category, the upper half of the screen moves to show a
new hierarchy and relevant Web page links are displayed at the bottom. This
site is visually mesmerizing and full of great links to genealogy sites
around the world.
WISENut Boasting almost 1.5 billion Web pages indexed, this new search
engine rivals Google in speed and content. You can set and store your
search preferences, especially for languages of Web pages you want to seek.
The search results are grouped into categories called WISEguides for quick
New Metasearch Engines
QueryServer According to their Web site, "The Query Server is an advanced
meta search tool that broadcasts a single query across a set of Web-enabled
search engines. One query returns a single merged, ranked, and conceptually
clustered list saving you untold amounts of time and ensuring you'll
easily find only the most pertinent information."
MetaEureka MetaEureka is a new metasearch engine claiming 1.5 billion
pages indexed. It provides the ability to search a number of different
online resources, including Web pages, encyclopedias, news services (for
obituaries), and other media. If you like it, they also provide a free
download of software for a toolbar for your applications and browser.
SearchWhip.com This search engine has a directory on the main page to
categories of materials in areas you might find handy: Business & Money,
Computing, Health & Medicine, Government, People, Reference, and other
subject areas. When you enter a keyword or phrase for SearchWhip to search
the Web, the results are displayed with the icon of the search engine
through which the result was found, along with a percentage of relevancy to
your keyword or phrase.
ZWORKS is a metasearch engine that can use up to fifteen search engines and
directories to locate information. Go from the main screen to the Power
Search screen to select or deselect the tools you want used, and to enter
keywords and phrases to include or exclude on Web pages. This is an
excellent new metasearch tool.
New Database Search Facility
Researchville is one of the more interesting new search tools on the Web.
They claim that you can enter your query once and search multiple search
engines and/or up to 650 databases. Simple enter the keyword or phrase in
the query box, and select the "channel" you want to search at the left side
of the screen. There are newspaper links, encyclopedia, directories, search
engines, metasearch engines, news wires, and a wide variety of other media.
If you come up empty in one "channel," you can try another without having
to reenter your query or shift to another Web site.
1,700 Glossaries Online
Another of my new favorite sites is a directory of links to over 1,700
online glossaries. Frank Dietz, Ph.D., created a Web site at
www.jump.net/~fdietz/glossary.htm that brings to one place a collection of
important resources, including a great collection of glossaries of
acronyms, genealogy terms, dictionaries and encyclopedias, religious
terminology, medical terms (current and past), military terms, and a
variety of other areas. Some glossaries are monolingual (English) while
others are multilingual, primarily in German. This site is a winner.
As you can see, there are many new facilities available. You will want to
use the search engines and metasearch engines to help locate individuals'
names appearing on people's personal genealogy Web pages and to locate
information about places, ethnic groups, libraries and archives,
cemeteries, and a wealth of other information. Researchville's unique
facilities are an interesting composite tool for searching a variety of
resources. And the glossary site may become an oft-visited Favorite Place
or Bookmark in your browser. To learn more about directories, search
engines and metasearch engines, be sure to visit Search Engine Watch for
descriptions, statistics, comparisons, and for a great tutorial about how
to make the best use of these resources.
George G. Morgan is a proud member of the International Society of Family
History Writers and Editors, Inc. (ISFHWE). He would like to hear from you
at but, due to the volume of e-mail, he is unable to
answer every e-mail message received. Please note that he cannot assist you
with your individual research. Visit George's Web site for information
about speaking engagements. Copyright 2001, MyFamily.com. All rights
reserved. Terms & Conditions | Privacy Statement | About Us | Partner with
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Copyright 2000, MyFamily.com.
This article may be reproduced in whole or in part for non-commercial
that proper attribution (including author name) and copyright notices are
Arthur G Broadhurst
Vero Beach, Florida
"...researching BROADHURST and variants anywhere..."
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