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Virtual Reference Desk: Search Engines & Other Tools

Meta and regular search engines

  • Bing: Owned and operated by Microsoft, Bing provides a variety of search services, including web, video, image and map search products.
  • Dogpile: A metasearch engine that fetches results from Google, Yahoo! and Yandex, and includes results from several other popular search engines, including those from audio and video content providers.
  • DuckDuckGo: an Internet search engine that emphasizes protecting searchers' privacy and avoiding the filter bubble of personalized search results. It distinguishes itself from other search engines by not profiling its users and by deliberately showing all users the same search results for a given search term.
  • Google: It is the most-used search engine on the World Wide Web, handling more than three billion searches each day. Use Google Advanced to filter your results.
  • StartPage: Along with its sister search engine Ixquick, are the only third-party certified search engines in the world that do not record your IP address or track your searches.
  • Yippy: A metasearch engine that queries multiple search engines and combines the results to be displayed as a group, or cloud, on one screen. It censors results, blocking material "that would be objectionable to governments, parents, schools and libraries."

Research tools

Please first check the Michael Schwartz Library’s Research Help page for sources for articles, books and ebooks; for links to vetted sources by subject see our Research Guides . Also please check Journals at CSU for any sources below that might not have full text. The entries below are either search engines or directories for scholarly publications.

  • arXiv.org: Provides open access to over 1 million e-prints in Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Quantitative Biology, Quantitative Finance and Statistics.
  • BASE (Bielefeld Academic Search Engine): A multi-disciplinary search engine to scholarly open access web resources, created by Bielefeld University Library in Bielefeld, Germany. It has indexed more than 90 million documents from more than 4,000 content sources and provides full text for about 60% of the indexed documents.
  • BioMedSearch: A biomedical search engine that contains NIH/PubMed documents, a large collection of theses, dissertations, and other proprietary publications not found anywhere else for free, making it one of the most comprehensive and powerful free biomedical searches.
  • CORE (COnnecting REpositories): Aggregates all open access research outputs from repositories and journals worldwide and make them available to the public.
  • Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ): This service covers free, full text, quality controlled scientific and scholarly journals. Today it contains nearly 10000 open access journals covering all areas of science, technology, medicine, social science and humanities.
  • ERIC (Education Resources Information Center): An online digital library of education research and information, sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Google Scholar: Enables you to search specifically for scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports from all broad areas of research. Not all text may be freely accessible. You can customize Google Scholar to have links to specific libraries by going to settings and then clicking on Library Links and searching for an institution i.e. Cleveland State Univ or Cleveland Public. If the full text does not display, you can check for specific entries in your library.
  • iSEEK: A targeted search engine that compiles hundreds of thousands of authoritative resources from university, government, and established noncommercial providers. It provides time-saving intelligent search and a personal Web-based library to help you locate the most relevant results immediately and find them quickly later.
  • Microsoft Academic Search: Indexes millions of academic publications and also the key relationships between and among subjects, content, and authors, highlighting the critical links that help define scientific research.
  • Virtual Learning Resources Center: Indexes thousands of the best academic information websites, selected by teachers and library professionals worldwide, in order to provide to students and teachers current, valid information for school and university academic projects.

Specialized Search Engines or Directories

  • Ask.com: A question answering-focused web search engine.
  • Boardreader: Searches message boards, websites, blogs, and other social media.
  • Internet Archive: Provides free public access to collections of digitized materials, including web sites, software applications/games, music, movies/videos, moving images, and nearly three million public-domain books.
  • Wayback Machine: Part of the Internet Archive, it is a searchable archive of cached webpages dating back to 1996. Users can see how a particular webpage has changed over the past two decades.
  • WolframAlpha: An online service that answers questions/queries directly by computing the answer from built-in knowledge curated by human experts, rather than providing a list of documents or web pages that might contain the answer as a search engine would.

Web Directories

  • Aviva: A "family friendly" general web directory that organizes listed websites by topic and, when appropriate, by region. Listed sites are all in English. It also includes a Blog Directory.
  • Best of the Web: A web directory providing websites categorized topically and regionally. It employs a team of paid editors that search the web for sites with original content, taking into account user-friendliness and web standards.
  • DMOZ: A multilingual "entirely free" open-content directory of World Wide Web links, it is also known as the Open Directory Project. Directory listings are maintained by volunteer editors who use DMOZ's editing guideline.
  • Martindale's The Reference Desk: A large collection of links to reference resources, including language centers, calculators, maps, and science tables.
  • WWW Virtual Library (VL): Was the first index of content on the World Wide Web and still operates as a directory of e-texts and information sources on the web. Started by Tim Berners-Lee, creator of HTML and the World Wide Web itself in 1991, it is run by a loose confederation of volunteers, who compile pages of key links for particular areas in which they are expert.

Web Searching and Evaluation Tools

  • How to Search the Web - A guide to Web search that includes such topics as "Web Site Credibility," "How Search Engines Work," and "Choosing a Search Engine."
  • Search Engine Watch: Provides tips and information about searching the web, analysis of the search engine industry and help to site owners trying to improve their ability to be found in search engines.
  • Best Search Tools Chart: A chart from Infopeople listing several search of the major search engines.
  • A Student's Guide to Research with the WWW: Explores World Wide Web research resources and provides some streategies for evaluating Web sites.
  • How to Evaluate Information - Check List: A checklist of things to consider to when a evaluating website.
  • Web Search Engines (LibGuide from the Indian River State College Libraries): Supplies basic explanations of the types of web resources and techniques for searching the internet.