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PENN WEB TEAM - Preliminary Screening of Search Engines (11/96)

    Existing Comparisons of Search Engines
  1. C-Net Reviews
  2. Calafia Consulting Reviews
    End-user Requirements
  1. Speed
  2. Boolean capability
  3. Full-text indexing
  4. Meta Tag support
  5. Field specific search capability
  6. Ability to index beyond the first level
    Commercial Search Engines
  1. AltaVista
  2. Excite
    Notes**: Excite is the most promising, best compromise based on speed, maintenance, cost, and user interface but the OSF port is not yet available, though it has been promised for early '97. I have asked for space on a Solaris machine so that I can at least download and start to test it to see if we would consider waiting for the OSF port.
  3. HotBot
  4. Magellan
  5. Open Text
    Freeware Search Engines
  1. Glimpse
    Notes**: Glimpse is a simple, yet effective search engine. There is no relevancy ranking and search results are very real and understandable. The limitations are the terrible speed and to be used most effectively, the end-user should understand the use of regular expressions. With the use of regular expressions, a user has full Boolean search capability but if you don't understand regular expressions, you're left in the cold unless the site is willing to provide a more user-friendly interface. Glimpse continues to be developed unlike Harvest or WAIS.
  2. Harvest
    Notes**: Harvest can use different search engines as a base. AT Penn, we are using WAIS and a limited WAIS, at that. We patched the Harvest process to speed up the searching but it would be interesting to see how Harvest behaves with Glimpse as a search engine rather than WAIS and to also make use of Harvest Cache an add-on which promised to increase performance.
  3. WAIS
    Notes**: WAIS is fast and supports full Boolean searching but due to its relevancy ranking, the results can be confusing.

** - These notes reflect the author's opinion only.

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