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Feature
Comparison

 

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AltaVista
http://www.altavista.com

AltaVista
   
Scope
One of the largest and most comprehensive, indexing over 250 million Web pages. Scooter, the Web robot updates constantly. It is a full-text index that searches the entire HTML file.

Interface

AltaVista has a simple search and tabs for advanced search, Images, MP3/Audio & Video. Simple search may give results from four different sources. A Real Name System matches search terms against registered Web sites, brand names and advertising slogans. A Real Name address link is displayed above other hits and will link to a single match or short list of possible matches. (Do not use a plus or minus or field names which will disable results.) Ask Jeeves provides information from the answer service, relevant categories of Web sites as classified with Open Directory may appear, and the numbered listings from their Web crawler provide the bulk of the results. Advanced searching allows limiting your search by date, language, Boolean searching and proximity searches. Both simple and advanced searches let you limit to title or URL or even specific domain or Web site. You may specify a format field by entering a field name [title,URL, host and links e.g., anchor, applet, image or text] then a colon followed by the search terms.

Other services

Language capabilities include limiting Web searches to 25 listed languages including the recent addition of Japanese, Chinese and Korean language searching. Machine translation is available between English, French, Italian, Portuguese, German and Spanish. Several more specialty options include "News" for major news stories between six hours to 14 days old; "Discussions" to scan newsgroups; and "Shopping" to match products with a wide range of Web merchants.

Logic

  • In simple searching the default word is or between words.
  • Advanced searching allows using full Boolean terms: or, and, and not, near.
  • Do phrase searching by enclosing in quotation marks or in many cases Alta Vista has made phrase searching automatic.
  • Truncation is not automatic; in other words to get plurals or other additional variations at the end of words, add an asterisk(*) after a root of at least three letters to get up to five additional letters.
  • + requires that a term or phrase be present; - denotes that a term not be present at all.
  • Using upper case (capital) letters forces an exact match. Lower case will search both upper and lower case.

Results

The hit display shows title, URL, first two lines, date modified, size in bytes, and language. Only one page per Web site appears in the top results. Below each numbered listing you may see up to three links: "Translate" to translate into another language, "More pages from this site" and "Company factsheet" takes you to information about the company that owns the site. If your subject is broad a "Related searches" features narrower aspects of the term at the top of the results page. A "Related pages" link will search for additional similar hits.

Revised July 05, 2001

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