A New Search Engine, Where Less Is More

Blekko aims to show search results from only trustworthy sites, weeding out sites filled with little relevant information.

Article in the NYT


From the article:

Still, for many other queries, the results are quite similar. Blekko’s challenge is that most people are happy with Google’s search results, which comScore says account for two-thirds of search queries in the United States.

“Most people aren’t saying, ‘I’m just overwhelmed with content farms,’ ” said Danny Sullivan, editor in chief of Search Engine Land and an industry expert.

Response: Librarians are not "most people" we need tools that work well. If Blekko delivers the goods this may be something to use instead of Google.

If you add /lisnews to your search at Blekko it will search just at LISNEWS.

I established Infotopia ( http://www.infotopia.info ) about a year before Blekko came on the scene.

Infotopia is a student-friendly, safe search engine that accesses only trusted websites previously selected by librarians, teachers, and library/educational consortia.  The Infotopia Safe Search Engine is a good Google alternative for students. Actually Infotopia is a Google CSE custom search engine, so you still get to use most of Google's cool search features.  But you get very little junk in the search results. Infotopia is programmed to always have Safe Search on.

Infotopia does not rely on volunteers to separate the proverbial Internet "wheat from the chaff." We at Infotopia continually surf the personal and professional web sites/blogs of our librarian and teacher colleagues to see what valuable informational/reference sites they have already identified. Then we add those sites to our database. One way to look at it is that Infotopia can be considered to be one expression of the collective wisdom of the library/teaching profession.

Actually, Infotopia has two other related "sister" sites : the Virtual Learning Resources Center ( http://www.virtuallrc.com ) and the Academic Reference and Research Index ( http://www.academicindex.net ). All three are Google Custom Search engines, and all three rely on librarian/teacher recommendations as represented on educator professional and personal websites/blogs. The difference between them lies in the population served by each search engine. Infotopia is aimed at upper elementary and middle school students. The Virtual LRC is designed to serve high school and college students and adults in general. The Academic Index is the most scholarly of the three and endeavors to meet the needs of four year college and graduate students.

The Virtual Learning Resources Center was established in 1996. The other two are much newer. We will continue to perfect them to fulfill their purpose.

Michael Bell
Former Chair, Texas Association of School Librarians
[email protected]
Retired school and university librarian
webmaster at http://www.virtuallrc.com
webmaster at http://www.infotopia.info
webmaster at http://www.virtuallrc.com/magbot
webmaster at http://www.virtuallrc.com/alphamarks
webmaster at http://www.academicindex.net

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