How do you search the web for information? Google, right? That’s the most popular way. Bing is fun for some Mac users. Yahoo! is the default search tool for many others.
What if you want to search the Library of Congress? Or, PubMed? Or, Google Scholar? Or, perform special searches using Amazon? For that, your Mac needs a special tool to mine more esoteric online databases.
Google Is Not That Good
Allow me a moment to indulge in a rant before turning you on to a handy Mac app that dares to search different. I’m very tired of using Google to search for anything except a spot on a map.
Google Maps? Fine. Anything else, and Google simply returns too many crummy links.
Sometimes the first page of Google links turns up pages that are five or 10 years old and totally outdated.
Google’s prized search algorithm is the emperor with no clothes. Search results are increasingly poor, seemingly aimed more at displaying ads to be clicked and coughing up worthy information.
What’s A Better Search?
My use of Bing and Yahoo! indicates that it’s more of the same with a different face. If you really, really want to search different, you need to start with a different database.
Take the US Library of Congress. That’s a database. Reference Miner is the little Mac app that digs through PubMed, Amazon, even the Library of Congress.
Reference Miner is a multi-column, single-column search browser perfect for digging through information you’re not finding via Google, Bing, or Yahoo!
Advanced search filters? Try this with Google.
It will display inline PDF documents, comes with an advanced search function (good for articles by author, publication, subject material), and even searches Amazon’s amazing media store in ways a browser can’t handle.
This is not your father’s database search tool. The interface is a bit utilitarian. You’ll have to think about your search objectives and fill in the filters accordingly.
Got PubMed on your search engine list?
It’s an online database managed by the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.
With the right privileges, you can drag and drop to download PDFs from various institutions right to your Mac. You can search the Library of Congress in Safari, but Reference Miner makes it more fun and gives you far more search options.