Search Tools for Kids, Teens, and Teachers
the difference between different search
engines and directories?
What search tools are best for particular grade levels and topics?
How do I plan for a search?
What search strategies can I use to get better results?
Identifying General Search Tools
The Internet is like
a huge flea market with wonderful gems of information
scattered among piles of junk. Search tools are
intended to help you find the information you need.
Each search tool takes a slightly different approach.
Search engines, directories, indexes, and portals can
all be helpful. While each of these has a specific
definition, many search engines have more than one
option. For example, Google is a search engine, but it also has a directory
available. While most search tools ask users to enter
key words, some like Ask
designed for questions.
How do the search tools find all the websites? Many of the search engines use robots, wanderers, worms, spiders, harvesters, and other automated systems to find websites. In addition, people sometimes add their own website to the list.
Search engines - resources are automatically databased by a computer. The results vary depending on the rules the sites uses to select materials. For example, Bing and Yahoo.
Indexes and Directories - information is organized into categories or lists that are sometimes created by people and sometimes computers. Many search engines also have directories. For example, Google Directory or Yahoo! Directory.
Subject guides - resources are selected and organized by people. They are good for large and focused topics, but provide fewer resources than search engines. For example, About.com.
Meta engines - these sites explore a number of search tools to come up with diverse results. For example, Dogpile, Webcrawler and Yippy are examples.
Portals- create a virtual desktop that provides, in one central place, web-based information and resources needed by a user. The difference between a portal and a regular website is that information is customized by the user. For example, iGoogle.
Tools for Teachers and Teens
- Search Engines
- Guides and Directories
- Meta Engine Search Tools
- Visual Engine
- Science Search Engine
- Law Search Engine
- Audio & Video
- Archives Engine
Locating Specialized Search Tools
In addition to the
popular teen and adult search tools, there are many
specialized search tools. For example, you can find
search tools for children, as well as particular
information formats (i.e., graphics, videos) and
content areas. FreePhoto, Picasso, and Flickr are popular image sites. Use Google Images to search the web for images. Use FindSounds for audio files. The advantage of a specialized tool
is their narrow focus. Rather than getting
"everything", they have selected those resources that
fit a particular need. For example, KidsClick provides information about the reading level and
number of illustrations contained on a website. Use CNET
search for software and hardware
Go to Starting Points for Kids for other pages with student search engines links.
Tools for Kids and Teens
- Search Engines
Evaluating Search Tools
If you need more search engine ideas, there are many websites that provide lists of search engines and resources.
- Tools for Searching - links to many search tools
- Searching the Internet - a nice guide to the difference types of tools
- Specialized Search Engines & Directories - search tools in many content areas
- Choosing the Best Search for Your Information Need - choose a tool for your purpose
- Teacher Tap: Education Portals and Starting Points
- About.com's Websearch Provides up-to-date information about web searching and search tools.
- Pandia Search Central
- Research Buzz
- Resource Shelf - blog of resources
- Search Engine Showdown - trends and new in search tools
Search Engine Report
This page is for hard core searcher who want to keep
up-to-date with the latest changes in search engines.
Go to the Traffick:
for even more information.
The best way to determine which is the best search engine for you is to try each of them using the same search topic. Try three searches using each search tool: try your name (Annette Lamb), a broad topic (frogs), and a narrow topic (spotted tree frog). Compare your results with different tools.