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LLRXBuzz - July 15, 2002

By Tara Calishain, Published on July 14, 2002

Tara Calishain is the co-author of Official Netscape Guide to Internet Research, 2nd Edition, and author or co-author of four other books. She is the owner of CopperSky Writing & Research.



In This Issue:

KillerInfo Meta Site

Boot Scoot iBoogie

Experian Announces UCC Delivery Service

California On-Line Directory

Maine Launches New Web Site

Search Engine Openfind Enters Beta Test

LLRXBu zz Tour of 50 State Web Sites

LLRXBu zz Archives: April 3, 2000 - Present

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In this issue of LLRXBuzz I'm going to take a look at a couple of clustering search engines I missed in my clustering articles (see http://www.llrx.com/features/clusteringsearch.htm  and http://www.llrx.com/features/clusteringsearch2.htm), and then we'll poke around at a few other resources. This issue's a bit hodgepodgy -- bear with me.

KillerInfo Meta Site

KillerInfo (http://www.killerinfo.com) is a meta-clustering-hybrid-thingie. Yes, it is powered by Vivisimo, but its implementation and its results are different. Thus my coverage here.

Why is it different? A couple reasons. First KillerInfo offers a paid- inclusion option, unusual among meta-search. Second, KillerInfo has a propritary database of 13,000 search directories and link sites that have been added into
the search sources.

A couple of search tests bear this out. Searching Vivisimo for neurosurgery finds the top seven results: Department of Neurosurgery, Journal, Neurology and Neurosurgery, Pediatric Neurosurgery, Surgery, Neurological, Brain Tumor.
Searching KillerInfo for the same thing got these: Department Of Neurosurgery, Neurology and Neurosurgery, Hospital, Pediatric Neurosurgery, Associates, Department of Neurological Surgery, Neuro. KillerInfo had some very common
words in there, and they provide no count with their clusters like Vivisimo does, but the clusters are different enough that they're worth checking out.

And just in case you're too used to Vivisimo: KillerInfo's search results appear on the right side of the screen (Vivisimo is on the left) and KillerInfo has sponsored (marked with asterisks) results.

Boot Scoot iBoogie
iBoogie (http://www.iboogie.tv) offers a real clustering result for Web searches and what I consider to be a semi- cluster for a couple of other searches I looked at.

From the front page you'll see that there are several types of search. You can search the Web, the DeepWeb, the "BuyWeb," s, audio, and video.

The Web is probably going to be your choice. A search for neurosurgery here brought clustered results that included Neurological, Surgery, Neurology and neurosurgery, Brain, Pediatric neurosurgery, and Neurosurgical. Items with blue diamonds beside them have sub-categories; items with red diamonds beside them don't.

A search of the DeepWeb provides a few results, but the clusters are "pre-constructed" -- they're for generic terms like books and news and don't have anything directly to do with neurosurgery. BuyWeb was somewhere in between: searching for flowers brought me cluster categories like gifts, florists, delivery, and roses. Searching for clock, on the other hand, brought me results like products, quality, catalog, and prices. They're more generic clusters but retain at least some relevance to the search word.

Experian Announces UCC Delivery Service

Experian has announced Fax on Demand. Fax on Demand offers its customers online searching and delivery of state-level UCC (Uniform Commercial Code) filings. Subscribers receive faxed copies on the same day as requested, sometimes within the hour. See the press release at
http://press.experian.com/documents/showdoc.cfm?doc=776.

California On-Line Directory

The Telecommunications Division of California's Department of General Services has an online directory posted at http://www.cold.ca.gov/. Use the directory's white pages to search for state employees by the last name, a portion of the last name or by the first and last name.

Click on the yellow pages to get a drop-down menu of agencies from which to choose. Each Agency opens to reveal general information like location and phone numbers, followed by the names of people within the organization and
the position they hold. The Yellow pages also offer a search option that accepts keywords or phrases. My search for "health services" netted an extensive agencies with phone numbers and locations.

The directory is still under construction, according to the site's front page.

Maine Launches New Web Site


The state of Maine has launched an updated Web site at http://www.maine.gov. The site was launched on July 1.

There are a variety of online sites available from the front page, including searching Maine census data, finding town and city Web sites, search UCC filings, finding Christmas tree farms. Some services, including searching title
records, require a subscription to Maine's "InforME eGov Services," which costs $75 a year. There is plenty to see on the site without being a subscriber, however.

Don't forget to check out the rest of the site, including the Ask-A-Librarian service, the Agency Index, and the Facts & History section.

Search Engine Openfind Enters Beta Test

Y'know, after months and months of only a few major full- text search engines, it's great to see competitors coming out of the woodwork like this. The latest contender is Openfind, which is now available in beta test at
http://www.openfind.com/en.web.php. You gotta love a site that says in an open letter to new users, "HONESTLY, THIS
SITE IS NOT COMPLETELY READY AND WELL TESTED YET." There are
some interface issues, and occasionally the site instructions gave me a little trouble, but this is a huge index (at least it seems to be from my tests) with some great ideas.

I ran one search on it which came off without a hitch (MST3K, which had about 89K results as opposed to about 71K for Google.) But when I started trying to search for phrases, the search would repeatedly time out. After several
tests -- magic beans worked, end of free didn't, unopened worked, unopened window didn't, dancing cat worked, dancing potato didn't -- I can't determine why some searches work and some searches don't. Sunspots? (Strangely enough, a search for "the" worked, with about 315 million results.)

The interface needs lots of work. There's no help file that I can find. There's no privacy policy that I can find. Because there's no help file that I can find, I'm not
certain if there any special syntaxes. I couldn't find any in the tests I ran.

No help file, no privacy policy, searches that time out -- why aren't I just skipping this one? Several reasons. First of all it really is a big index. Every result count I compared showed that Openfind was pulling more results than
Google. Openfind offers interesting options to sort search results (by date indexed, size, or relevance score.) Finally, Openfind is offering a service where they'll check their new additions daily for search terms you specify, and
e-mail you new results. Worth a look, though it's very rough around the corners.