Fravia's Nofrill
Web design

partly updated
November 1998

How to search: the sublime art

There are 350 million sites out there, doubling every four months... add to this the 'second' internet (the new 'university connection' net) and the wide and huge usenet, and you already have a plethora of universes to explore. And there are also all the old dark web-corridors, made of forgotten archies (and veronikas! :-), 'obsolete' fidonets and much more... Therefore: where, where, where is the info you need?
Study! If you don't master the sublime art of searching you'll never find that what you seek!
You'll be able to learn here the first elements of this art. Once you'll have understood them, you'll be able to go even further (pretty quickly) if you learn perl (THE language for bots building) and if you will study and research a LOT.
Meanwhile, for a start, you will be able to peruse this 'heavy' search engines page (which loads quickly anyway, since it does not carry silly backgrounds, useless frames or slow loading futile publicity). There is also a red"light" version, which you may want to copy onto your hard disk as a quick search starting point.
Since search engines do play a relevant role when searching (duh), I have also added a redsearch engines' vagaries page, that you may find interesting.
Of course, you should learn redhow to search the web using inter alia my own lessons!


Special 'Mover' for this search engines ('heavy') page
Useful tips
evaluate results
search engines forms (and explanations)
check which search strings others use
Go to the professional search page
inference robots and scripts
Go to the how to search page
search Fravia's site
Go to the search engines' vagaries page

some useful tips on how to search the web!

If you want to learn more about search engines, go to the redsearch engines' vagaries page

search engines explained!

Please note that there are a couple of "all in one" forms at the bottom of this nice page

AltaVista is USEFUL: it's the largest Web index, with millions of Web pages AND articles from usenet newgroups (and these may be REALLY useful). Altavista is still the search engine of choice for all "old hands" of the web, yet Infoseek is now (1998) slowly catching up!
Search and Display the Results
AltaVista can also be used to get all the page linked to your page. I can get with the following link the pages linked to a no more existing page of mine (useful in order to find stale links): try it. Another useful method is to use the *HTML TAGS*, if you for instance search "image:bettie", AltaVista will find quite a lot of images about Bettie Page.

Search Method: Keyword
Data Base System: Full text, largest and more inclusive indices
Operators: If used without suitable operators Altavista produce enormous noise and little signal

For the more paranoids (or the more careful) among you, here is a link to the anonymized Altavista search form
(Courtesy of Fravia... do not leave your tracks around!)

Yahoo (it's an attempt to catalogue the entire Web, search on a topic) Very good for beginners, well organized.

Search Method: Subject and Keyword
Data Base System: Limited coverage: indexed by human operators
Operators: In keyword searches selects only sites that contain ALL search words. If no exact match is found switches automatically to AltaVista

Exite (a concept-based search engine, tries to figure out what you mean). It's awfully slow, because they want to "impose" you to read the stupid pubs before getting on with your search. Use it only as last resource or if you are a beginner (it's very easy).
Describe what you want to find using Excite...
 I want to search Do not use query syntax in the search forms below
 My search results MUST contain
 My search results MUST NOT contain
 My search results CAN contain
 Display my results by document with and results per page.
 Display the top 40 results grouped by web site.

Search Method: Subject and Keyword
Data Base System: Full text, circa 50 millions docs, titles are not searched (or so it seems)
Operators: Automatic word-root search (without the need to use a joker like '*') and sorting by site

WWW Worm: It is extremely flexible, allowing regular expression searches on URL, subject and content. In spite of its flexibility, it's not difficult to use, and there exist a straightforward


Lykos Big and slow, Lykos has a large number of binary files in its database, has greater depth than most search engines, because it also indexes FTP archives and Gopher menus. Besides, you can search with Lykos per email. There are some other interesting Lykos resources as well, including a list of the frequency of over six million words used on the Web. Lycos is one of those facilities that's almost too good, presenting you with more information than you really need, but it's a great resource if you use it carefully to narrow down your search.

Lycos catalog Point reviews a2z directory

redlycos_ftp advanced

NORTHERN LIGHT, one of the most recent search engines.

(Click redball to perform your search)
Select: All Sources -- Search the World Wide Web & Special Collection
World Wide Web -- Search the entire World Wide Web
Special Collection -- 1 million articles not on other search engines

Webcrawler fast and cool, returns surprisingly relevant results. This excellent search engine indexes the contents of Web documents, so you can find pages that contain a particular word or phrase.
Search the web and show for results

InfoSeek Net Search Good output, their attempt to get "commercial" failed against the sound Web altruistic spirit (:-), it's now a free service. This claims to be the largest set of searchable indexes to WWW pages and to USENET newsgroups. 1998: INFOSEEK is getting better and better! (They value QUALITY very high!)
Search for information about:


Search Method:Subject and Keyword
Data Base System: Full text, over 50 million pages
Operators: detailed instructions under help>

redHotBot (ex Inktomi, claims to have the largest index and the best scalability in terms of keeping up with the Web's exponential growth, claims to be able to re-index the entire Web every week)
Well known for its awful colors, this was one of the BEST search engines available, unfortunately slowed down by useless graphics frills.

Search Method: Keyword
Data Base System: Full text, over 60 millions documents
Operators: Simple and advanced... detailed instructions under help>


redInternet search wizard Compuserve's forms' selection, this one you are using is better
redftp search 3000 FTP sites around the world, quite slow and busy at times. ("This server is located in Trondheim, Norway")
redArchie request form (but you better use Archie trough email, see redhere how to do it).

Here a useful list of Archie services (gateways) in the World Wide Web. The latest version is always at redhttp://www.nexor.com/public/archie

red All search engines of the planet... the coveted list by Andrei Nedashkovsky (some of the links do not work, though)
redPlanet search
And, finally, a 'portal' to the redJapanese search engines... (:-)
Inference robots and scripts

I have decided to use this funny name for those scripts that allow you to query (almost) simultaneously more than one search engine. I have two forms here for you: inference find and dogpile. Both are mighty interesting for the casual or the 'hurried' searcher, yet I believe inference find to be a VERY USEFUL TOOL even for advanced seekers: It will not only query AltaVista, Excite, Infoseek, Yahoo! and Webcrawler (quite a good and correctly limited choice per se), but it will present to you SURPRISING RELEVANT ANSWERS in a special formatted *.htm file that you can IMMEDIATELY DOWNLOAD AND USE!. Here you are:

Enter Query:
And click this redball:
MaxTime: seconds

Well, just try it "The Intelligent Massively Fast Parallel Web Search"... usual useless hype, yet this little juwel will really produce an *.htm file with all links (in correct order). A file that you may immediately use... an impressive inference tool indeed for automated bots and human searchqueries!
red Dogpile web search (Dogpile is the "summa" of the main search engines)

Search and then
Wait a maximum of Seconds.

Here is how you perform an e-mail search on dogpile... Infact, this is the above form "cracked".
Dogpile searches ALL main search engines and compacts the results for you. Often e-mail searches are cleverer than live searches on the web (for the same reasons that make "dead listing" more effective than live winice approach when reverse engineering, btw :-)

email an Agora server (be ashamed if you do not know what an Agora robot is) with following TEXT (if you want to search for "numega" AND "softice" for instance :-)


And, last but not least, these are my all in one forms (courtesy of Fravia)

(Altavista, Excite, Lycos, Netsearch, Webcrawler, Yahoo, ftpsearch, filez.com, interpix image search)

(AV, EX, IS, LY, YA)

Search the internet for

evaluate the results of your searches!

Do not forget that a most difficult art is to learn redhow to evaluate the results of your searches!

check which search strings others are using!

Really useful search engines allow you to check which strings others are using as queries. We have already seen (inside the "klebing" search technique section) how important "alien" search strings are, for each one, in order to ameliorate your own search strategies... yet it's still pretty funny to check what people look for... (and pretty sad at times :-( see how frequently people misspell their queries, and how incredibly often strings like 'Pamela Anderson' or analoguous idiotical "slave lemmings" subjects get search requests.


use a "professional" search page on your harddisk!

You should copy the "professional" ("light") version of the search engines' forms on this same page on your hard disk and choose it as "bookmarked" or "hot" (or as "favourite" if you are a Micro$oft's slave). Use it as your "main search engines" starting page. You'll have quite a lot of advantages:

You dig it? So Shift and click on redthis link.

NB!: The "light" searchpage above is A MUST
for (beginner) wizard searchers!
(and you can download it for free, say "thank!" to Fravia+ :-)

redhow to search ~ redSearch Fravia's site

redhomepage redlinks red+ORC redstudents' essays redacademy database
redtools redjavascripts wars redcocktails redanonimity academy redantismut CGI-scripts
redcounter measures redmail_Fravia
redIs reverse engineering legal?

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