close this bookVolume 7: No. 54
View the documentGrant opportunities
View the documentIndustry news
View the documentVirtual reality
View the documentResearch software (in our CRS 7.27 digest this week)
View the documentMultiple search engines
View the documentMeta-search engines

AFOSR and Rome Laboratory are publishing a revised BAA (96-01-PKPX) for white papers and studies on exploitation of intelligence data. "The intelligence analyst is haunted by the glut of digital information which continues to grow exponentially." Deliverables will include technical reports, and when appropriate, demonstration prototypes including software, software licenses, hardware and documentation. . Dan Ventimiglia, 315-330-3222. [CBD, 08Aug97.]

A previous Rome Laboratory BAA (97-05-PKPX) on Advanced Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance has been extended from 15Aug to 29Aug97. . Richard Simard, 315-330-1798. [CBD, 08Aug97.]

The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Div. (Panama City, FL) solicits proposals for research in mine warfare, amphibious warfare, coastal operations, etc., including computer simulation and modeling. BAA 97-01 will remain open for two years. . [CBD, 12Aug97.]

A bill before Congress would make it a felony to make more than 10 software copies worth more than $5K, even if not done "willfully" or for profit. A first offense could net three years in jail; a second offense six years. [PC World Online, 04Aug97. EduP.]

Sen. Lauch Faircloth (R-NC) wants to remove computer games from all government computers. [USA Today, 18Jul97. EduP.]

Is it OK (in the US) to use computer-generated minors in sex films? The first court case may be . [NEWS.COM, 08Aug97.]

Canon's Specialized Transfer Art Replication System (STARS) creates images and transfers them to glass, ceramic, wood, plastic, etc. Now anyone can have a custom kitchen or bathroom tile design. . [Jeff Carlson , TidBITS, 11Aug97.]

One of the coolest products at Boston Macworld was Mitsubishi's 40-inch Leonardo gas-plasma monitor. It has good image quality and a 160-degree viewing angle, but is only 4.4 inches deep. "The carpet was a bit damp from attendees drooling on it." . [Jeff Carlson , TidBITS, 11Aug97.]

In addition to the new Macworld magazine (incorporating MacUser) and MacWeek, Mac news junkies can soak up MacAddict , MachTech , NeTProfessional , and the free TidBITS from Adam C. Engst, or . MachTech's circulation has been expanding lately. [TidBITS, 11Aug97.]

(Recent Apple announcements still provide little motivation for developers to move back to the Mac, except in multimedia production and education. Even Steve Jobs was selling his Apple stock, a few days before Amelio was fired. The company may be sound, but its market appears small.)

China has overtaken South Korea as the largest Asian-Pacific market for personal computers. One Chinese company, Legend, will sell about 400K PCs this year. [Dataquest. Financial Times, 12Aug97. EduP.]

NIST and the VRML Consortium have developed a website for testing browsers' implementation of the Virtual Reality Modeling Language. NIST also is developing a VRML parser, for release in early August. . [Mary Brady , NIST Update, 07Jul97.]

Cosmo Player is a virtual reality browser plug-in from Silicon Graphics. . [Internet-on-a-Disk, Aug97.] (May take a long time to download the software and Mars demo.)

The VRML Repository from the San Diego Supercomputing Center offers links for hardware and software, user's guides, browsers, worlds, sounds, textures, mailing lists, newsgroups, and links. . [Scout Report, 23Aug96.]

Jorn Barger is working on a webpage discussing Chris Crawford's new Erasmatron 'engine' for interactive fiction. Erasmatron helps "move interactive fiction the next step, from text adventures towards actual *literature*." For instance, a "grapevine" feature keeps track of "who's told who about what," aiding development of characters that gossip, lie, or maintain secrets. In a world with hundreds of characters, that's important. A separate knowledge structure is needed for each ignorant, mistaken, or deluded character, including beliefs about other characters' personalities and knowledge. Then you get into hypotheticals, plans, desires... . [, comp.ai, 01Aug97. David Joslin.]

aiNet (ain16124): NN and DLL development kit for Windows 3.1.

Shore 1.1: object-oriented database system.

Bayesian Networks for Pattern Classification, Data Compression, and Channel Coding: dissertation by Brendan Frey.

In TCC 7.51, I discussed some of the major WWW search engines. (Got quite a bit of reader feedback, too.) Many websites offer lists of search engines -- some lists comprehensive, others specialized. Here's a sample:

List of WWW Searching and Starting Points offers a comprehensive annotated list of concept searchers, index term searchers, browser companion software, subject pages, etc. .

Texas Tuff's Search Engine Links offers hundreds of annotated URLs to major search engines. .

Internet Research Tools provides links to 49 search engines, phone books, and email directories on a well-organized page. .

JavaSearch runs a JavaScript-based search page offering several popular search engines. .

Rusty's Ultimate Search Tool features a consistent interface to the top eight search engines. .

The Search Zone offers a simple interface to nine popular search engines. .

The Ultimate Search Page has ten of the most popular engines on one page. .

Prime Search lets you specify keywords, then select from 36 search engines covering the Web, Usenet, software, and news. .

The Internet Search Engines webpage runs over 40 search engines from one page. .

The Search Center queries any of 45 Web directories and search engines. .

Eureka! Internet Search Engine offers a consistent interface to 46 of the major search engines on the web. Many of the engines are reviewed at length. . (Includes a link to Humor for Webmasters.)

The Needle in a CyberStack site lists over 100 search engines and directories in multiple categories, plus Cybrarians' Favorites, Hot and Cool, etc. .

Dr. Webster's Big Page of Search Engines offers 20 categories of search engines. .

Search-Center has collected as many sites as possible, in about 33 categories. .

Beaucoup! has about 800 search engines in over 20 categories (and multiple languages), including 67 employment search engines and 47 employment listings from large corporate employers. .

The Virtual Search Engine has easy-to-fill-out forms for over 800 search engines in 45 categories: reference, free stuff, images, computing topics, intelligent agents, etc. . (A handsome site.)

Internet Search Mechanisms offers articles and lots of links to Gopher searches, FTP/file searches, Usenet/email lists, Internet reference desks, stand-alone search software, meta-search and multi-threaded engines, etc. .

It didn't take long to evolve meta-search services that fork off tasks to any number of other search engines. (Parasites, one might say. The meta-search page gets credit for work done by others.) The invoked engines are usually those with similar search capabilities: phrase search, boolean search, required or excluded terms, etc., but users typically specify only the simplest search syntax. These are time-limited and count-limited searches, so don't expect complete retrieval.

It's tough for a second-level engine to rank results, as it doesn't have page information available. Still, an engine-by-engine display can be a great way to compare results of different services. Once you find a good service, try it for deeper searches. Some useful meta-searchers:

The Cyber 411 parallel engine invokes 15 of the top search engines, presenting results separately or merged. You can add a Cyber 411 search form to your own Web page. . (Searches take/are allowed less than five seconds.)

Webtaxi offers sequential and parallel searching via international and regional search engines. . (The interface is designed to stay active at the top of your browser window, so you don't have to branch to a bookmarked page.)

Dogpile will query up to 25 search engines and archives for the top 10 matches, displaying each batch separately. Proximity search is permitted, for engines that support it. After checking a few engines, Dogpile asks if you want to continue with additional ones. You can control the indexes searched and their order. . [Leonard Foner , 05Aug97.]

MetaFind, from the same company as Dogpile, searches nine web indexes (that all allow OR syntax), then merges the hits alphabetically. .

"Searches" uses a MetaCrawler engine to invoke seven search engines. .

ProFusion uses up to nine search engines, then removes duplicate hits and optionally checks for dead links. It can also run repeated searches to alert you to changes. . (I was unimpressed with the relevance ranking.)

USE IT!, the "Unified Search Engine for Internet," is a nice parallel searcher with an English, Italian, or French interface. You can also download HTML code to add USE IT! parallel search to your own Web pages. .

Bingo! is an English/Japanese applet that invokes up to 12 engines. . (Very slow site.)

Webmate Personal Search Agent (in Java) searches ten engines in parallel, then uses feedback on which sites are of interest to you. .

LiveAgent is a personal agent builder available in beta for downloading. It comes with a prerecorded Java agent called SearchAgent, able to query several search engines in parallel and return a ranked, sorted listing of sites with the duplicates deleted. Filtering specifics are determined by the user. .

W3QS supports a declarative query language called W3QL, plus several "friendly" querying interfaces to Web search engines. Full page content can be screened by PERL filters (including context-sensitive variables). Queries can be entered for future submission, e.g., at time intervals while the user is off-line. . [Oded Shmueli , dbworld, 23May97.]

EchoSearch for Windows 95/NT and PowerPC Mac queries multiple engines and merges the results. Able to download found pages and use NLP for ranking. 15-day free evaluation, then $50. .

WebFerret 1.10 for Windows 95/NT lets you perform simultaneous searches using your own list of search engines. You can limit the total number and type of search results that are returned. Free, or $14 without advertising. . (The NetFerret suite for $30 contains utilities for searching email, files, news, IRC directories, phone numbers, etc.)

Quarterdeck's WebCompass is a sophisticated commercial product (with free trial version) that queries multiple engines, sorts and cleans the results, and saves relevant info for later use. It includes a thesaurus and relational database of search terms. Windows 3.51 or 95. .

-- Ken