Product Information:-

  • Journals
  • Books
  • Case Studies
  • Regional information

How to... use search engines effectively

Options:     Print Version - How to... use search engines effectively, part 6 Print view

Other search trends

There are a number of other trends in search engine technology, notably segmentation, personalization and custom search.

Search segmentation

Many search engines confine themselves to a particular type of communication, or media. We have already seen examples of search engines that specialize in people, blogs, "real-time", Twitter etc.; other search engines search PDFs and e-books, audio and music, and video and movies.

When reporting on Google images' revamp, Phil Bradley listed a number of other sites devoted to images (Bradley, 2010b),:

  • for real-time image search.
  • for cartoons and colouring pages.
  • for geobased images.
  • for logos.
  • which allows you to search images by tag, and which has a delightful interface showing a number of planets circling round a sun.
  • for creative commons images at Flickr.

For a list of search engines for different media, see "" which, as its name suggests, provides names of lots of different search engines, organized by category.

And Bing, points out library guru Mary Ellen Bates, has as one of its advanced search options the facility to search for a particular file format in a page. Use the syntax "contains: files_type" and you can find pages with the subject of your search in a particular format (Bates 2010).

Personalized and custom search

Personalized search, the ability of a search engine to respond to queries on the basis of user search behaviour, and their profile if they have one, has been going since around 2007 (Koch, 2007).

Custom search also offers the possibility, via human intervention at the user end, of creating a search engine with pre-selected resources. Librarians at Western Oregon Library have been using Google Custom Search Engine to create research guides around particular subjects, which they have found particularly useful, as many of their students are non-traditional returners to education who are easily baffled by the vast amounts of information on the Web (Monge and Forbes, 2009).