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Note: To be updated in October 2006.



Search Engine: AltaVista (advanced )  updated 12/30/99

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AltaVista gives you access to the largest Web index:  over 250 million pages, 
and six million articles from 50,000 Usenet newsgroups. But ironically, the
strengths of AltaVista - the massive number of pages that it indexes, and its 
full text search, contribute to the difficulties it creates. You will benefit most
if you search for relatively obscure topics, use the advanced search, and
carefully choose your search terms, sometimes using Boolean operators 
such as AND and OR. Otherwise, you may be overwhelmed with hundreds 
or thousands of irrelevant results.

Boolean Searching
The advanced search of AltaVista differs from the basic search page 
primarily because it also gives you the ability to do Boolean searches.
In the regular search form, which is on top of the advanced page, you want
to be sure to use a + (plus) before search terms which must appear and 
a -(minus) before terms which must NOT appear, and to put quotation
marks around works which must appear together. If you  choose to use
the Boolean search option, you will instead type AND, OR, NOT (or 
AND NOT) and NEAR (for words which must occur within ten words 
of each other, or a parentheses for those which must occur together).

You will also want to list your most important keyword or keywords in the
relevance ranking field within AltaVista's advanced form, in order to make
sure that the results are listed in the order that is most relevant to you.

Searching Options
When you conduct a search with AltaVista, you can choose to search Web
pages or Usenet (the last three weeks of newsgroup posts are listed).

You may also do specialized searches using:  domain:(page on a domain)    
url:(word in url)   title:(word in site title)         image:(imagename)

link: (webpage url). Preceding a domain name with  link:  will return
a list of all pages which link to a particular site or page. See the help pages
for more options.

AltaVista 's results may be displayed in standard, compact or detailed form,
but even the detailed form reveals only a line or so from the page in question,
often without showing your keywords in context.

AltaVista is available in Europe as AltaVista Europe; it also indexes pages
within fourteen different languages, and provides a translation service.

Next: Top Search Engines (and Honorable Mentions) continued

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