Alta Vista Advanced 
Type then click Advanced Search
Fast Search Advanced
Type alltheweb and click Advanced Search.
Size, type
Size varies frequently and widely.
tests and more charts.
HUGE. Claims a billion pages, but may be counting pages not fully indexed.
General Web database with often useful ranking by popularity. Far from comprehensive, but often finds "the best" pages.
subject directory included.
HUGE. Claims to be the biggest also. Often ties in tests with Google, Fast, and other HUGE ones.
General Web database. Use the Advanced Search with Boolean operators and results ranking options in SORT.
NOT HUGE but HIGH QUALITY and BIG ENOUGH for many searches.
Great precision in

"Search within results" feature. Easy to use. Excellent content and consolidation of pages from the same site make up for Infoseek's smaller size. 
HUGE. Claims will reach a billion pages soon. Sometimes ties for first in tests.
General Web database. Excellent ranking.

Advanced search worth mastering.
Phrase searching 
(term definition)
Yes. Use " ". Precede common "stop words" with + (no space before the word) even in phrases in quotes. Yes. Use " " Yes. Use " " Yes. Use " "
In advanced search, terms in lower "filter" boxes always searched as phrases.
Proper name searching Enclose in " " or try without. Automatically looks for terms in close proximity. Enclose in " " or use NEAR operator.
Case Sensitive.
Enclose in " ".
Case Sensitive.
Enclose in " ".
Enclose each variant form in " " and all forms in (  ) in top search box.
Boolean logic 
(term definition)
No. AND assumed between words.
Advanced Search, limited Boolean:
ALL = and
ANY = or
WITHOUT = and not
No ( ) or nesting.
AND (default), OR, 
NEAR (within 10 words). 
Use only in Advanced Search larger box. 
Do NOT use in A-V simple Search or the smaller "Sort" box in Advanced Search. 
No. OR assumed between words. Use sub-searching to focus or do equivalent of Boolean. In top box, AND default.

For OR, enclose terms or phrases in (  ) without typing "or".
Advanced search "filter" boxes offer partial equivalent of Boolean logic:
Must include = AND
Must not include = NOT
Should include prioritizes higher in ranking.
No OR.
+Requires/ -Excludes 
(term definition)
+ requires or 
- excludes 
+ will allow you to retrieve "
stop words" (e.g., +in)
Available only in Simple Search (which defaults to OR).
We recommend Boolean logic in Advanced Search -- much more powerful and specific.
+ requires or  
- excludes 
In top box,
+ requires or 
- excludes 
(term definition)
No. Add terms. Yes. SORT BY box performs a sub-search. Yes. In results, specify "Search within results." Very powerful and easy! No. Add terms.
Results Ranking
(term definition)
Based on page popularity measured in links to it from other pages: high rank if a lot of other pages link to it.
Unless preceded by +,
fuzzy AND invoked.
Matching and ranking based on "cached" version of pages that may not be the most recent version.
By terms you specify in smaller SORT box on Advanced screen. Dual search. "Sort" box searches on body of documents retrieved with Boolean logic in larger "Boolean expression" box on Advanced screen.
Very powerful!
Automatic Fuzzy AND, improved by "ESP" ranking that really helps.
Can sort results by date at top of results.
Automatic Fuzzy AND. Also seems to use "importance" and links to pages.
Advanced Search, SHOULD INCLUDE gives higher priority to word or phrase in box. Each box read as a phrase.
Field limiting
(term definition)
Easy to use
Advanced Search boxes for these.
Uncle Sam Google for US federal pages.

and filter by:
domain terms in
Advanced Search
In Advanced Search, can search within:
link name
link to the url
Explanation of these distinctions.)
and filter by:
domain terms
(term definition)
No, and no stemming. Search variant endings and synonyms separately. Use *. No. But retrieves some variant endings by stemming. No. Enclose variants in (  ) in top box to create OR.
Case sensitivity
(term definition)
No. Yes. Upper case retrieves only matching upper case.
Lower case retrieves either lower or upper case. Also accent and character sensitive.
Yes. Upper case retrieves only matching upper case.
Lower case retrieves either lower or upper case.
Language.  Yes. Major Romanized and Asian languages in Advanced Search. Yes, extensive list includes major Romanized and Asian languages. No. Yes, extensive list includes major Romanized and Asian languages.
Allows you to specify matching character sets. Read
Help and Customize.
Limit by age of documents In Advanced Search. Yes, in Advanced search. Supposed to be date updated. Can request sort by date. In Advanced Search.
Translation. No. Yes, to and from English and other languages. Click on Translate following result. Yes, to and from English and other languages. Click on Translate following result. No.


Click to go to any tool: Size and General Features Searchable or Browsable? Evaluations of databases Search boxes
The Invisible Web Catalog
Large (over 10,000) collection of searchable databases. Many academic subjects and audience.
Quick Search a concept or topic. Advanced Search allows
Boolean and other searches. Keep searches broad. Click GO.
Browse in "Hot List" and categories expand for convenient selection.
Can sort results Alphabetically or by Score (relevance - default)
Click database name for search box.
Links to matching subject categories at top of results get more databases in category.
HELP. Lycos "Searchable Databases" is a subset of the Invisible Web Catalog through partnership.
BOTH Excellent.
Click [more] to read complete evaluation.
Yes, almost always.
Direct Search
Several long pages listing and describing searchable databases on many academic topics. Pick the section or page from the links near the top.
Done by an academic librarian with research in mind.
search feature has greatly increased the ease of use of this site.
BOTH. Search feature new fall 2000. Yes, from academic librarian perspective. None.
Large (# not specified) collection searchable databases. Also selected web sites, often of academic interest.
Search a concept or topic. Keep searches broad.
Two somewhat confusing results displays:
1. If boldface, numbered, and ranked by % score, results are subject sub-categories. Pick the most appropriate category to view searchable databases list.
2. If bulleted list not boldface, you have the searchable databases list. Click on title to go directly to site.
Click on Web Sites at top for selected web pages, often of high value in academic research.
BOTH None. Rarely. Called "In Line Databases."
A Collection of Search Engines
Fairly large, worthwhile, but hard to use list of searchable databases. List begins after a number of other links to topics related to searching. Scroll down the bar on the left to find the subjects with searchable databases.
Generally academic. Links at top often academic but not to searchable databases.
Browsable with difficulty. Alpha list of topics down in the list on the left. Some. None.
Complete Planet
Large database of searchable databases, web pages with search boxes (not databases), and just web pages. Although site speaks eloquently of the "deep" (their term for "invisible" web), many of the links are to "visible" or "surface" web.
Hard to know which are databases.
Search using " " around
phrases, and Boolean operators (complete set). Stems. Simple searches often retrieve too many documents.
"Categories" link at end of entry displays subject classifications assigned for easy access to more in category.
Search, then use "Category" links at each entry to browse. No evaluations.
Some descriptions, some strings of keywords, some extracts from the page.
Search Power
Almost 14,000 of the sites are city and state guides. Excellent resource for these. Some valuable academic content in the rest.
Too tiny search box in upper left usually retrieves a more reasonable search area. Select the Search type or "Select a Search Engine" (not the default) and resubmit your search - annoying double work!
Results are a combination of subject categories with your terms and sites/descriptions. Click a "category" for more in the category (recommended), or click a database name to search it.
More options search (at bottom of results) allows combining terms and phrase search.
BOTH. Descriptions seem to be extracted from or supplied by the sites. Not evaluations by Search Power. None.
Internet Oracle
Colorful subject groupings of often useful searchable databases. Some niche categories (women, gay & lesbian, and others can have useful academic value). Browse by selecting icons or links at left. None. Yes.
Special Search Engines
From the Nanyang Technological University Library, academic focus and Asian/Pacific emphasis.
Alphabetical subject categories of a selection of searchable databases by subject start after the international general web search engines.
Browse only. Brief descriptions, with infrequent evaluations. None.


Click to go to any tool: Scope and General Description Search Tips
Primary goal is to collect the "finest Internet 'gateway' sites." Also includes some databases, online journal links, and full-text sites, and other items appropriate to a discipline.
Concisely annotated, and apparently organized by people knowledgeable in each subject area covered.
By the Hekman Digital Library at Calvin College.
Browse by subject categories or Descriptors (alphabetical list of subjects covered). Or search easy form. Keep searches broad.
Argus Clearinghouse
Collection of subject guides, mostly academic. Not annotated, but rated (5 checks the highest) for content, design, and more. Browse or search, using AND, OR, NOT, and * for truncation. Keep searches broad.
WWW Virtual Library
Subject guides mostly academic on many subjects. Not annotated or evaluated. Many excellent. Browsing by subject category or alphabetical list recommended. Search often misses things.
The New Atheneum
And "Internet Resource Guide" organized by Dewey decimal classification. Not searchable. Many good resources. Annotated and rated for reading level. Browse subject categories.
Large, portal-type directory built by over 1,000 volunteer experts. Membership not required in most areas. Uneven quality, but often excellent and academic, depending on the subject. Click on the author of a section to view credentials. The site offers a lot of distractions like chat and has a lot of friendly, popular stuff along with the serious. Browse, view complete list of subjects, or search. Search stems, resulting in peculiar matches.Click on LINKS or WEBSITES to find what Gateway pages there are.


Click to go to any tool: Librarians' Index
Academic Info
Size, type Over 7,000
Compiled by public librarians in information supply business. Highest quality sites only. Great, reliable annotations.
Over 20,000
Great, reliable annotations.
Co-operatively compiled by university & college-level, academic librarians of the UC campuses.
Rich selection (# of sites not provided)
Selected as "college and research level Internet resources" aimed at "at the undergraduate level or above. " Brief annotations sometimes, often excerpted from page.
Many full-text resources under category "Digital library."
About 1 million.
Scarce descriptions and annotations. Biggest and most famous directory around. Often useful. Many
directories and search engines.
About 1 million
Generally good annotations done by "Guides" with various levels of expertise.
Phrase searching 
(term definition)
No. Yes. Use " "
|term term| requires exact match
No. " " make searches fail. Yes. Use " " Yes. Use " "
Boolean logic 
(term definition)
AND implied between words. Also accepts OR and NOT, and (   ). AND implied between words. Also accepts OR. OR implied between words. Accepts AND, OR, NOT and (  )
Recommend AND in most queries.
No. No.
+Requires/ -Excludes 
(term definition)
No. No. No. + requires 
- excludes.
+ requires 
- excludes.
(term definition)
No. No. No. Use CTRL+F to locate search terms in results. Searching retrieves first all categories with your terms anywhere in them. Clicking on one of these categories retrieves all pages in the category - often much more than you want. Yes.  In results, select search within category or all of Yahoo. After an entry, click More from ... site
(term definition)
Use *. Also stems
Can turn stemming off on both basic & advanced search pages.
Automatically expands words. Use " " to search exact terms. No. Use *. Stems. Use *.
Not accepted consistently.
Field searching Can search within subject, titles, description, or parts of URLs.
Advanced Search allows Boolean searching by these fields, plus author and more.
Select boxes under search box to limit to KW (keyword)
SU (subject)
TI (title)
AU (author)
AN (annotation)
No. t:requires terms in title field
u:requires terms in URL