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Don't Let Search Engine Loyalty Stop You

By Jonathan Broadus
Posted Thursday, November 25, 2004

Recommends the addition of subject-specific search engines to the Internet user's tools. Most Internet users have their favorite search engine to which they're faithfully devoted. This isn't a bad thing in itself, but it can become one when search engine loyalty prevents you from an easy find. Search engines are a tool, and each is usually designed for either a generic or specific purpose. When you're searching for general information, it's a good idea to go to your favorite site, the one you know all the little tricks to get the answers you want. But if you're searching for information in a specific field, don't discount the value of going to a very specific search engine for the task.

When I'm programming, for instance, I'm likely to go to Codehound (www.codehound.com) to search for just the right line of code to perform the task I want to do. Codehound's one and only purpose is to index sites related to programming, so it cuts out a lot of the miscellaneous "How did that get there?" results. For medical information, I typically start searching on WebMD (www.webmd.com). It's not that the sites you want aren't on the generic search engines, necessarily. It's that the limitation of the results to a specific category often means you can find it faster with fewer irrelevant results to sort through.

Don't know of a specific search engine for your topic? There's a few places to look. First, ask other people who need similar info where they search. Second, try going to your favorite engine and putting in a phrase such as " search engine". If you wanted psychology info, you would try "psychology search engine" as the phrase, for instance. It might turn up a search engine specifically for that subject.

Finding the best search engine for a specific job can make a lot of difference in your web search success.

About the Author
An active Visual Basic programmer since 1996, Jonathan Broadus currently works as a computer programmer/technician for HIS Communications. An avid internet user since 1991-1992, he can still vaguely recall the ancient days of Gopher and Mosaic. In his free time, he likes to write both poetry and prose.