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RE: Meta-search Engines



While many of us on the list were embroiled in a discussion of matters
metaphysical 
(OK, maybe that's stretching it a bit...) Sanjay Gupta
(sanjay17963@yahoo.com) asked the following 
question regarding meta-data and meta-search:  

	> I am looking for some very good "Meta-search Engines
	> (MSEs)". Your help in this regard is solicited.
	>  
	> At present I am using following MSEs:
	  
	> (1) Mamma; [http://www.mamma.com]
	> (2) Metacrawler; [http://www.metacrawler.com]
      > (3) Search; and [http://search.metafind.com]

Sanjay --

A site which has gathered a lot of "buzz" lately and which personal
experience indicates 
does a fine job of finding FOCUSED content (rather than just lots of hits)
is the 
"Google" site (www.google.com).  Like Yahoo before it, Google is an offshoot
of Stanford University 
student efforts to employ collaborative filtering concepts -- using data
from a broad community of users
to improve the results of searching techniques.  In a nutshell, it ranks
sites according to how 
often they are linked from OTHER sites meeting the same search criteria.
Thus, sites which are viewed 
by the peer community within a domain (i.e., sustainable development) as
important are generally at the
top of Google's search list. 

Testing this concept out experimentally with your key phrase "Sustainable
Development" one finds that 
the International Institute of Sustainable Development's excellent web site
(http://iisd1.iisd.ca/) ends up on top, along with 
other pre-eminent sites like: 

	The World Wide Web Virtual Library: Sustainable Development 
	http://www.ulb.ac.be/ceese/meta/sustvl.html

	Center of Excellence for Sustainable Development 
	http://www.sustainable.doe.gov/

	The Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development 
	http://www.iesd.dmu.ac.uk/

	United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development 
	http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/csd.htm

While there are undoubtedly other great sites on the topic, these are
certainly all key starting points, and in the case of IISD and 
the DOE site, outstanding terminal sites, with good original content and
extensive collections of both 
links and documents.

Hope this helps.

Scott Butner (rs_butner@pnl.gov)
Senior Research Scientist, Environmental Technology Division
Pacific NW National Laboratory
4500 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle WA  98105 3900
206-528-3290 voice/206-528-3552 fax
http://www.chemalliance.org/