Sweet Search

http://www.sweetsearch.com
An educational search engine that brings back search results based on "credibility, usability, design, accessibility"

Ideas

Have students try this search engine and compare the results to a Google search.

Pros

Offers SweetSearch4Me link geared for younger students.
There are also links to biographies and the social studies area is an excellent resource which includes primary sources.
They state that librarians and other educators help with evaluating websites though there are no librarians on staff.

Cons

The ebook they offer to teach research skills costs money.
Like many search engines, Sweet Search installs cookies so that third-party advertisers can analyze information about the user such as the browser he or she is using. Their privacy policy states that it collects anonymous data, and the cookie is deleted when the session closes.


Wolfram Alpha

http://www.wolframalpha.com/
Computational Knowledge Engine - "Wolfram Alpha uses built-in knowledge curated by human experts to compute on the fly a specific answer and analysis for every query." Therefore, it is different from a search engine which matches users to websites based on text entered in the seach box.

Ideas

Have students use this tool to find data and compute mathematical equations.

Pros

Seems to work even with Calculus problems

Cons

Wolfram Alpha will not show you how it found the answer to your math problem (the steps). This can be good because students could merely copy the entire problem, but it could also be a valuable learning tool if it did.
We can't really be sure who the "experts" are who are curating the information. Sources are not given, but it could be a good starting point for data as long as it's verified elsewhere.
There are pop up ads.


Finding Dulcinea

http://www.findingdulcinea.com
Provides online guides

Ideas

Consider directing students to use their guides either for a specific research question or for better understanding how to research.

Pros

The guide on How to Search the Web is a great resource to use with students.
There are hundreds of other guides (directories) organized into about 20 different broad categories
The website is user-friendly and colorful.

Cons

Although the front page is kept updated, the Top Stories section under "Beyond the Headlines" is updated rarely.


Internet Public Library

http://www.ipl.org/
A directory site maintained by Drexel, College of Information Science and Technology

Ideas

Have students try using the Internet Public Library for research or consult it when currating.

Pros

Updated by students and other information professionals at Drexel University.
Directories on many topics which are searchable.
You can also browse directories organized into the following categories: Subjects, Newspapers & Magazines, Special Collections, Kids, and Teens.

Cons

Depending on the topic, you may find very limited information or no information at all, but it's a good place to start.


Creative Commons Search Engine

http://search.creativecommons.org
A simple way to search for copyright free material on multiple websites.

Ideas

Advertise this search engine to teachers and demonstrate it to students when they are about to begin projects for which they will need pictures and video.

Pros

A simple way to find copyright free material.

Cons

Just because it's on there, doesn't mean the media file can be used any which way. Users must pay careful attention to the rights the creator has granted such as whether the file can be modified and if the creator must be attributed.



InstaGrok

http://instagrok.com
Interactive Concept-Mapping Search Engine

Ideas

Students can use without logging in to visually search topics.
Teachers can log in to set up classes and assignments.

Pros

Really good for visual learners who feel overwhelmed by text.
Has a journal feature students can use to record thoughts or answers to assignment questions.
Even if students aren't logged in, they can click on the Quizzes tab and take quizzes on the topic they're researching.

Cons

At the time of this writing, videos weren't showing in Chrome or Firefox, but there's a link within the pop up window which will show the video in a new tab.