Instead of going straight to Google, try these other search engines and directories:

Good places to start for a search

These search engines offer suggestions based on your search words. When you put a key word in the search box, these search engines will give recommendations that will help you narrow or expand your search.
Ask.com - will narrow or expand your search
Yahoo Search - Uses proximity and frequency of search words to find results. Also offers suggestions.

When only reference sites like encyclopedias are required try....
Answers.com - All results are reference resources

Filtered Search Engines and Directories

Ask for Kids
Fact Monster - Kid's encyclopedia and search engine
The World Almanac for Kids - find unusual and "offbeat" information about practically every subject
iKnowthat.com - Learning skills for life
American Library Association Great Websites for Kids Directory
Homework Spot
Ref Desk Quick Facts
Open Directory Project for Kids and Teens
Enchanted Learning - 20,000 pages
Awesome Library
Kidsclick - results have an indication as to the reading level
Zoo.com - from Dogpile, claims to have "unsurpassed filtering"
ithaki for kids - metasearch engine
Google Safe Search
GoGooligans - Search Engine for Kids and Students
Quintura for Kids - Visual Search engine
Yahooligans - just experienced a very flashy makeover! It's difficult to use for research because of all the commercial content.

Other Search Engines and Metasearch Engines

Alltheweb or try Livesearch - Livesearch is great because as you type, the browser creates a list of suggestions. There may be a compatibility issue with older browsers.
Clusty - narrows and expands the search much like ask, but tends to give less credible results. See what you think.
Altavista
Factbites - "Where the results make sense" This site doesn't allow complex combinations of words.
Quintura - Visual search engine
Dogpile - students pick this because they like the name, also asks "Are you looking for?...."
Jux2
ixquick
ithaki
Exalead
Whonu - "be amazed at what you might find"
KartOO - visual metasearch engine
Kwmap - a keyword map of the whole internet
ujiko - visual metasearch engine
Addictomatic - Amazing search engine that searches news sites, blogs, videos, social bookmarking sites

Directories

Good for "drill down" type searches when you are not sure what you are looking for, information is sorted by "categories" by editors which often make the results more reliable and less commercial.
Open Directory Project - the largest, most comprehensive human-edited directory of the Web. It is constructed and maintained by a vast, global community of volunteer editors.
Yahoo Directory
Google Directory
Infomine - Scholarly Resources
Intute - Arts and Humanities database

Current Events

CNN Student News
Time for Kids
Current Events
Kidsnewsroom.org
Weekly Reader Online
National Geographic Stories
Scholastic News Online
New York Times Learning Network
Channel One - News
StudentNews




Tips on finding what you want on the web

  • Be specific
  • Use singular
  • Use nouns and objects as keywords
  • Most important term first
  • Use at least three keywords
  • Combine keywords into phrases
  • Avoid common words, unless they’re part of a phrase
  • Use plus (+) and minus (-) signs in front of words to force inclusion and/or exclusion in searches (no space between sign and keyword)
  • Use double quotation marks (“ “) around phrases to as they are searched exactly as is, with the words in the same order
  • Lower case returns both upper and lower case versions. Capital letter usally return exact match.
  • Combine phrases with keywords, using the double quotes and the plus and/or minus signs
  • Locate resources by file type (.pdf, .doc, .ppt)


Search Tutorials

Choose the Best Search for Your Information Need
Noodle Tools Information Literacy tool suggests the most appropriate search engine based on what you need to do with a topic

Search Strategy Wizard
Complete this online form and Noodle Tools returns a strategy to put you in the right direction

UC Berkely - The Five Step Search Strategy

Noodle Tools - Information Literacy: An Overview of Design, Process and Outcomes
This is a "must read" for teachers and librarians. The following is quote from the website:
"Information Literacy shares a fundamental set of core thinking- and problem-solving meta-skills with other disciplines. Authentic cross-disciplinary problems which include observation and inference, analysis of symbols and models, comparison of perspectives, and assessment of the rhetorical context, engage students in developing mastery information literacy over time."



Validating Tools

Look up the domain to see who owns it - http://www.easywhois.com/
Paste URL and see traffic rank, subjective reviews, site statistics, and ownership information http://alexa.com
Find out which websites are on "sponsored search" lists - http://www.overture.com/
The Wayback Machine locates previous versions of webpages - http://www.archive.org/index.php
To find all pages that link to a page you are investigating, type link: in the search bar of Google, AltaVista, Yahoo and paste the URL next to the colon (no space in between). What kind of pages link to this page? What is said about it?
Test reading levels of websites (or documents) - http://www.readability.info/



The Hidden Web

  • “The Invisible Web” – 60-80% of existing web material
  • Stuff you can’t get to from search engines
  • Collection of databases and information sites, arranged by subject, that have been reviewed and assembled by specialists.
  • You can get to good information by putting the term "databases" next to your search term.
  • Invisible Web Database List from Noodletools
  • Librarian's Internet Index - "Drill down" or search for broader terms
  • Academic Information
  • Digital Librarian
  • Infomine
  • Google Scholar
  • The Internet Public Library - a collection of online resources that are organized by subject, everything from accounting to social sciences, features standard library services such as reference, cataloging, educational outreach, exhibits, government documents, special collections and archives, serials, and online-only services such as a list of blogs. "It can be a great place to start your research as the librarians who created it have spent a great deal of time organizing and finding the best internet resources for your use."
  • Intute - "Intute is a free online service providing you with access to the very best Web resources for education and research. The service is created by a network of UK universities and partners. Subject specialists select and evaluate the websites in our database and write high quality descriptions of the resources. The database contains 118588 records." (Intute, 2007)
  • Virtual Library
  • CompletePlanet - Discover over 70,000+ searchable databases and specialty search engines.
  • Kidsclick
  • 119 Authoritative, Invisible, and Comprehensive Resources