The Best Search Engines For Your Information Need

Finding Your Topic

Picking a Topic

RefDesk Free and family friendly web site reviewing high quality internet resources.
RefSeek  Search academic sites and documents for a variety of subjects.
AcademicInfo   Browse a long list of relevant sites and guides for any topic of  interest.

Related topics 

Google Use google’s related searches to find more hidden topics within your topic.
Bing Find your topic and click related searches for more ideas on what to look for.

Narrow My Topic

SurfWax Find the latest news and feeds for your topic within the past 7 days.
iSeek Narrow down your search by result type, grade level, subject, subtopic, sources and file types.
Wikipedia Find an article on your topic, then check the table of contents for more ideas.

Controversial Topics

Google Trends Check the latest news, data and trends people are searching for.
Idebate Use the search bar and get all the “Points For” and “Against for” of a topic.
ProCon Get the Pros & Cons  for a wide variety of subjects.

Background for my Topic

SweetSearch  Get information about your topic from  academic articles and websites only.
Wikipedia Find an article and check the resources and links pointing out for more information.
Britannica An encyclopedia to get related articles and accurate information about your topic of interest.

High Quality Results


Chosen by Experts

Libguides Find guides for your topic coming from university and educational related websites only.
Infotopia A search engine for students  and a resource website for multiple subjects.

Personal Help

AllExperts  Get answers for your questions from many volunteering experts.
Ask a librarian Get research advice from a professional librarian. May take a few days for a reply

Quality Sites Top of the results on google have high quality content and popularity. Top answers are written by experts with their credentials listed. You can find high quality links from their answers as well.

Primary Sources

Library of Congress The best source of books, maps, photos, videos, statistics, documents for American history. Worldwide Archives and Archival Services.
Exhibitions Online Find exhibitions on the web selected the Smithsonian Library.

Peer-Reviewed Journals

Google Scholar  Find peer-reviewed journals and articles from all around the web.
Directory of Open Access Journals Narrow your results by subject, publisher and language.

By Discipline


Official Government Information Get official information from the US Government.
Foreign Governments Alphabetical list of the official websites of national governments worldwide.
UK Government Information and services from the UK’s government website

In depth Information about a Country or Territory

CIA World FactBook Select the country or area from the drop down menu.
(UNPO) Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization.  Websites from occupied nations, minorities, indigenous people and independent states and territories.

Science & Engineering

Scopus Subscription based search engine for books, journals and conference proceedings.
Google Scholar Find research papers, articles, patents and journals from any scientific discipline.
National Science Digital Library Refine your search based on your education level and subject.


MedlinePlus  Find everything about diseases and other any other health topic.
Mayo Clinic Use the search bar to find anything related to health.
Kids Health Health related information for kids and parents.

Legal Documents, Agencies & News

FindLaw Learn about the law, search cases and find news or specific cases across the US.
Legal Information Institute Worldwide information about the law including legal primary resources and law related articles organized by topics.
State Legislative Websites Directory  A database of all U.S state legislatures and territories’ home page, statutes, bills, issues, legislators and more.

Creative & Performing Arts

Intute Resource Archive  Use drop down menu and select  arts or humanities for a detailed and organized list of resources.
Art History on the Web Resources for every timeline of art history.
JURN  A customer search of thousands of e-journals and articles. Contains 3,000 links to selected to free journals in the arts & humanities.

By Timeline

Last Hour

Google Use google’s advanced search settings and select past hour.
Google Trends Find topics & pictures within the past hours.


Google News Get the latest news and topics. Refine your search any category and location.
NewsNow Breaking global news & headlines as seen by the UK
Newseum Browse today’s front page treatment of news from nearly 780 newspapers across the country.


Google Limit your search by any timeline you wish.
Yahoo News Similarly, search for news and filter by time period.

Recent & Detailed

BBC Special Reports In-depth coverage of current worldwide topics.
New York Times Topics Collected news, reference, photos, graphics, audio and video files for every topic listed.
PolitiFact  Search news by using a keyword and browse facts & statements made by Congressmen, the White Houses and other political groups.

Long term studies & reports

ProPublica News & Investigations in the public interest.
Center for Public Integrity Reporting of public issues to “to reveal abuses of power, corruption and dereliction of duty by powerful public and private institutions…”
Center for Investigative Reporting Produces stories to reveal scandals and corruption from any agency and corporation.

Particular Period ( era, decade or century)

HistoryWorld Enter a starting year and a topic . Then get a timeline with information and images for each period.
Wikipedia List of Timelines A complete list of timelines for any topic. Ex: human activity, film industry, Universe Timeline.


American Memory The United States’ primary source of documents and images. Browse by topic, period, medium and place.
ipl2 Go to the history  section or use the search to find your topic
Digital History  High quality resources including primary resources, historical documents, multimedia and guides.


Ancient History Sourcebook A search bar for online resources which include ancient-texts, images, audio and more. You can also browse by regions.
ipl2 Go to the the ancient history section or use the search bar for broad topics (Ex: Greece, Egypt).



People Get biographies, videos and articles of the most famous people in history. Search by name, profession or any other keyword.
Who2  A search engine for famous people. Each biography includes four links related to their work and other profiles.
Dictionary of Canadian Biography  Biographies for famous Canadians throughout history.


CIA World Factbook Get facts & current issues from every country.
Country Studies Get text documents containing historical, social, economic, political and national security data of every country.
Stately Knowledge Get facts, links and encyclopedia articles of every state in the US.


NYPL: Searching for Company Information Find company information based on your need

Quick Answers for References Get basic answers for facts, statistic, biographies, etc.
Britannica Encyclopedia Get the basics for any topic.


Opinion and Perspectives

Opinions on Current Issues

Yahoo News  Get opinions from anchors, columnists and cartoonists for current issues.
Headline Spot Headlines from every state in the USA and from international newspapers.
Polling Report Browse results of U.S. public opinion surveys.

News from other Countries Perspectives

World Press Get summaries and views coming from outside the USA.
Newspaperindex A list of newspapers from around the world.
ABYZ News Links Get broadcasts, news websites, newspapers, magazines and press agencies from every country.

Multiple perspectives on hot social and political topics

ProCons Pro/con on current social issues written by experts. Links to related articles.
Public Agenda An overview by the public of current social issues with pros and cons.
UN News Centre Get News & issues as seen by the UN from each region and country

Compare news treatment

Newseum Front pages of U.S. newspapers to compare
PressReader Get news & reports from +100 countries and in +60 languages.

Specific Type of Media



Google Maps View satellite and street level maps of any part of the world.
Yahoo Maps Alternative to Google Maps.
National Geographic Maps Browse all kinds of maps. (Ex: travel, scientific, political, etc)
American Fact Finder Maps Browse thematic & reference maps (statistical data and geographical features)  from any part of the U.S

Photographs and Visual Images

Google Image Use the search bar to find an image and advanced settings to filter results by size, resolution & more.
Yahoo Images Same as google
Flickr Search user submitted photos by topic then filter out your results.

Fine Art

Artcyclopedia Search by artists, subject, location or browse by Name, Medium, Subject. Filter results by images, articles, books, museums,etc.


Google Search by keywords and filter your results by using the Tools menu.
Aol Video Browse videos by categories and subcategories.
Internet Archive Get access to films, documentaries, news, series and other cultural videos. Filter results by topics and different sources.


Public Radio Fan Radio Programs and Podcasts from around the world.


Google For lyrics search for title/performer + “song lyrics”. For song’s history search for title + “origin”.


FindSounds Get sound effects and music samples. Select a category and filter your results by file format, resolution, sample rate and file size.


American Rhetoric Use the search bar here or browse by categories to get speeches, lectures, debates, events, interviews in text, audio and video formats.
History and Politics Out Loud Browse full audio with transcripts of 20th century and historical  events, figures, songs and more.
American Memory Find sound recordings of American primary source speeches

Quotations Quotations Find classic passages, phrases and proverbs.
Quotations Page Search for quotations organized by the categories: author, motivational and subject.
Quoteland Type a keyword or search by categories.

Statistical data

World Statistics Links to worldwide websites containing statistics from every country.

Dictionary or TheSaurus

Merriam-Webster Dictionary and Thesaurus Definitions, synonyms and audio-pronunciation
WordCentral Definitions with images


Wikipedia  Volunteer-created and collaboratively edited. Useful for references and current topics. Information can easily be altered but quickly repaired.
Britannica Encyclopedia Information reviewed by experts. More reliable

Almanac Data

Information Please Almanac Facts and Statistics

Books and Other Printed Works

WorldCat Find Books and Reviews. Check your local library’s catalog
Google Scholar View Free and Paid scholarly articles and journals. Locate more information by checking citations. Use advanced search to filter results by author, title, date and subject area.
Google Books Search books by title, author or any keywords found inside books.


Special Requirements


Periodic search with Notifications of new results sent to you

Giga Alert  Get notifications of new search results sent to your email everyday (Up to 3 search queries for free subscriptions).
Google Alerts Get an email notification by google itself send to your email whenever new results are found for your topic. (No limit in number of queries)

Results by Country of Origin

Google Use advanced search to find websites of different countries by domain name or by language used.

Search Engine outside the U.S

Search Engine Colossus Get Search engines & website directories from different countries.

Locate Resources by File Type

Google Use advanced search and select file type (.pdf, .ps, .doc, .xls, .ppt, .rtf)
Yahoo Click on File Format to limit results by file type (.html, .pdf, .doc, .xls, .ppt, .xml, .txt)


Are you a…



Kids Click Shows only kid friendly sites with educational content (grades K-7). Selected by librarians.
ipl2 for Kids  Kid friendly search engine.
Kiddle Visual and safe search engine for kids.

Newbie to the Internet

Google Largest general purpose search engine
Yahoo Large, general purpose search engine

Research Expert

Google’s Advanced Search Narrow results with specific commands.
Exalead Highly specific search queries.

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