Fagan Finder

Details and further resources

Overview

January 2019 - this page is in the process of getting updated. Some sections and tools are yet to be added and other ones are still missing details.

Search engines

While Google is the most popular search engine, it is not the only one. There is no “best” search engine as it depends on what you are looking for. Every search engine has it’s own database of web pages (called an index), method of ranking pages (algorithm), and various features, and it is worth trying others out.

By default, Google includes results that do not exactly match your search terms, so you can select the “Google — verbatim” tool to find more exact matches.

Bing (by Microsoft) is the second most popular search engine. Yandex is very good as well, and is the most popular in Russia.

Qwant’s results come partly from Bing, but it does have it’s own index. Qwant is popular in France, where Exalead is also based.

Amazingly, Gigablast is run by a single person, and Mojeek is run by a very small team in the UK.

iseek.ai is a small search engine which allows you to narrow down your results by several attributes including topic groupings (similar to Yippy).

Advanced searching

You will have a much better time finding what you are looking for if you learn some of the special keywords and symbols that search engines use. The most common is to include "quotation marks" around a phrase, and all major search engines support this. Another common one is to put a minus symbol before a word to exclude it, such as -excluded. Learn more about these (known as search syntax and search operators) for each search engine: Google (not all are listed on their own site, see a more complete list), Bing (and more Bing), Yandex (and more Yandex), Qwant, Exalead, and Gigablast.

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Alternative search engines

These are tools which (mostly) do not have their own database of web pages to search. Instead, they use others’ while providing different features. All those listed here aside from Startpage display results at least in part from Bing.

DuckDuckGo is the most popular of these alternative search engines. Features include instant answers and bangs. See also DuckDuckGo search help. Results are mostly from Bing, but depending on what you search for may come from other sites as well as their own index.

Ecosia is the most popular cause-based search engine. A portion of their revenue is donated to help plant trees. Their results are from Bing.

eTools.ch is arguably the only real meta search engine included here. Meta search engines combine results from multiple other search engines, and were more common before Google dominated the industry.

Startpage’s results come from Google, with the main difference being how they handle your privacy.

Peekier’s results come mainly from Bing. What really makes them different is the large previews of each web page.

Swisscows’s results come from Bing, although they do have their own index if you use their German-language version. While most search engines have an option to filter adult content, Swisscows attempts to always exclude it.

Yippy’s results appear to come mostly from Bing, and their main feature are the topic groupings (similar to iseek.ai) that can help you narrow down the results.

Privacy and personalization

Many search engines now claim to make privacy a central feature. These search engines may also offer less personalization, which is when they use what they know about you to affect the ranking of results. These privacy-focused search engines includes Qwant, Mojeek, DuckDuckGo, eTools.ch, Startpage, Peekier, Swisscows, and Yippy. If privacy concerns you, read the policies of each search engine or read the reviews by Restore Privacy.

In addition to the search engines listed above, another privacy-focused one is Searx. Searx does not have a single website. Instead many people have set up their own copies of Searx, so you can visit the list of Searx instances to find one to use.

Filtered search engines

Million Short, which shows results from Bing, has a few options to filter the results. They exclude the most popular websites, which helps to surface pages which you may not otherwise come across. Here, it is set to exclude the top 10,000 sites, although you can adjust this from the results page.

Million Short also has an option to exclude e-commerce sites (here labelled “no buy”), which does not always work perfectly but may still be useful.

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Non-English search engines

These search engines do not have an English version, but are useful when looking for information in other languages and regions. Some of the search tools listed in other sections are based in non-English-speaking countries, such as Qwant which is French.

In China, Google is not available. Baidu is the most popular search engine, followed by Shenma, however Shenma is not available from their website. Sogou and Haosou are also used.

In Russia, Yandex is the most popular search engine, followed by Google, with Mail.ru in third.

In Iran, Parsijoo is the second most popular search engine after Google.

In South Korea, Naver is the second most popular search engine after Google. Daum is used as well.

In Vietnam, Cốc Cốc is the second most popular search engine after Google.

In Bangladesh, almost all searches are run on Google, however Pipilika seems worth trying as well.

In Czechia, Seznam is the second most popular search engine after Google.

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Miscellaneous

Wolfram|Alpha is an incredible tool that stands in a category of its own. It does a great job of understanding what you have typed in, and then organizes its own data and calculates a response. To get an idea of what it can do, see the Wolfram|Alpha tour.

Wolfram|Alpha is used by Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistants. Most virtual assistants cannot be accessed online, however you can use Echosim.io to try out Alexa online. You will need to be logged into an Amazon account.

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Encyclopedias

Wikipedia hardly needs an explanation. You can read all about it on the Wikipedia article. As with anything that you read anywhere, you should verify the information using multiple sources if using it for anything important. Wikiwand is a copy of Wikipedia, but with a nice design that makes it more enjoyable to use.

Encyclopædia Britannica is the most comprehensive traditional encyclopedia. Not all of the content is free to access, however you may be able to get the non-free parts through your local library.

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Social media

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Questions and answers

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Books

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Publications and documents

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Presentations

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Facts and trivia

The J! Archive is a fan-created site that lists all the clues, questions, and even contestants from the Jeopardy television show.

Guinness World Records holds many records, although not all are listed on their website. You will need to create an account in order to view these search results.

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Academic journals

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Libraries and archives

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Education-oriented

SweetSearch uses Google, but limits the results to only about 35,000 sites that have been selected to be useful for educational purposes.

iseek.ai Education

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Engines by recency

These options use either Google or Bing, filtered to only show results which have been created or updated within the given time frame. You can specify a more precise date range from the results page. Some other search tools on this page also offer date filters.

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News search engines

See also news videos on Video search.

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News sources

The news sources listed here are among the most significant English-language news organizations.

Reuters and The Associated Press (which can not be searched from this page) are two of the three largest news agencies which provide content for other news organizations. The other is Agence France-Presse, however they do not publish news on their own site.

BBC News and The Guardian (which can not be searched from this page) are based in the United Kingdom. The New York Times, CNN, and The Washington Post are based in the United States. The Times of India is based in India.

To find any news source such as local newspapers, try ABYZ News Links, OnlineNewspapers.com, and Paperboy. Use Media Bias/Fact Check to help you evaluate your sources.

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Fact-checking

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Free news archives

News from about the year 2000 and more recent can be found on Newslookup.com and some of the other news search engines. The tools in this section are free collections of mostly digitized newspapers. Digitization means that newspapers on paper or microform (microfilm or microfiche) are scanned or photographed. The images are then converted to text using optical character recognition (OCR), which is what enables searching by keyword. OCR is not perfect, especially for older newspapers. One useful strategy is to take into account common OCR errors when searching.

Every newspaper archive is a collection of various individual newspapers across various years. Any one newspaper may have some years available through several sites, other years available through a different site, and some years not yet digitized.

Many significant newspaper archives are only available from paid and library services and most newspapers have never been digitized and are only available by visiting a library.

International archives

Elephind.com searches through a large number of collections of newspapers from the United States, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore.

Europeana has newspapers from a number of European countries including the United Kingdom, Germany, and France.

The Internet Archive’s newspapers collection includes a variety of papers from around the world.

Newspapers on Google Books include those from a number of countries countries. You can browse the full list of titles but if you want to search use the first link or this page, as searching does not work properly from the second link.

The Library of Congress tool here includes all Library of Congress newspaper collections aside from Chronicling America. This includes a few from the United States, but also listings of what other non-digitized newspapers are held by the library including ones from around the world.

United States archives

Despite the name and its focus on New York, Old Fulton New York Post Cards (Fultonhistory.com) includes newspapers from all around the United States, as well as a handful from Canada and a few other countries. This incredible service is the work of a single person. The tool used here is FultonSearch, which offers some advantages over the search engine available on Fultonhistory.com. The results may not be identical, so you may want to try their search as well.

Chronicling America, from the Library of Congress is one of the largest newspaper collections and is also included in Elephind. It covers the years 1789 to 1963, but there are limited newspapers after 1923. Most newspapers are in English but there are some in German, Spanish, and other languages.

SmallTownPapers does not have a method to search all newspapers at once, you will have to find a specific newspaper to then search within it.

Australia archives

Trove, from the National Library of Australia, is also included in Elephind.

More newspaper archives

There are many more newspapers archived online, that are only available individually or in smaller collections. See List of online newspaper archives on Wikipedia, and Newspaper links from The Ancestor Hunt.

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Magazine articles

Magazines on Google Books

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Find databases

The “Google+FF” tool uses Google but adds keywords and phrases to help you find databases or other large collections of information.

re3data.org (the name comes from “registry of research data repositories”) lists over 2,000 repositories of academic data from around the world covering a wide range of topics.

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Graphs and charts

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Data

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