Web search

The sites on this page are a selection of useful free to access web search tools. They should be regarded as supplementary to the subscribed resources offered by the University. We recommend that you always search within the UL Electronic Resources portal eresources@cambridge .

Page contents

  1. General web search engines
  2. Academic search and institutional and central repository search
  3. ‘Universal’ UK academic library catalogue searches
  4. Open Access journals
  5. Semantic search engines
  6. Online ebook search engines
  7. Secondhand/cheap/out of print book search engines
  8. Online map search
  9. Video search engines
  10. ‘Real-time’ search engines, plus weblog and social search
  11. Alert services
  12. Other web resources—sciences
  13. Other web resources—Music
  14. Other web resources- Languages

General web search

  • Google
  • Bing
  • Gigablast
  • WolframAlpha  Not really a search engine as we know it, but a ‘computational knowledge engine’ or a statistical/mathematical online application using curated data from the web and elsewhere.
  • Deeper Web  Sorts Google search results into groups by source and type of information. Also offers plugins for IE and Firefox browsers.
  • Europeana  Site includes over 4.6 million digital items culled from over 100 European institutions, including the National Archives of Finland, the European Archive, the Louvre, and the Slovak National Gallery.

Academic web search

  • Scopus  Possibly the most comprehensive bibliographic search engine available. Owned by publishers Elsevier.(NOTE: University subscribed subscription only service – off campus access via Raven password)
  • Web of Knowledge/Web of Science Another major bibliographic search engine (NOTE: University subscribed subscription only service – off campus access via Raven password)
  • Google Scholar  Google’s ‘scholarly’ search engine. When accessing on-campus, results available through UL Electronic Resources are highlighted. Citing information may not be accurate. We do not advise paying to access a research paper found through Google Scholar – please check with the Library first.
  • CrossRef Search  Pilot project full text search of 45 member journal publishers’ titles.
  • Microsoft Academic Search  still in ‘beta’—may not be very comprehensive?
  • BASE  (Bielefeld Academic Search Engine)
  • Driver  search for academic research in European Open Access scientific publications.
  • Institutional Repository Search
  • DOI Resolver (Digital Object Identifier) http://dx.doi.org/or  http://www.crossref.org/ and see about DOIs .
  • EThOS  British Library’s Electronic Theses Online Service—”search across 300,000+ theses from 100+ higher education institutions and order full text quickly and easily” (Free registration required to order). Also see http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/eresources/theses.php
  • OpenDOAR  Directory of Open Access Repositories.
  • OpenDOAR search  Uses a Google Custom Search Engine to search for the full-text of material held in open access repositories listed in the Directory.
  • CiteSeer  “a scientific literature digital library and search engine that focuses primarily on the literature in computer and information science.”
  • OJOSE – Online Journals Search Engine “a free powerful scientific search engine enabling you to make search-queries in different databases by using only 1 search field. With OJOSE you can find, download or buy scientific publications (journals, articles, research reports, books, etc.) in up to 60 different databases.”
  • ScienceResearch.com  ’real-time’ and ‘deep web’ scientific search: “free, publicly available deep web search engine that uses advanced “federated search technology” to return high quality results by submitting your search query – in real-time – to other well respected search engines then collating, ranking and dropping duplicates of the results.”
  • PubMed Central  A free digital repository of peer-reviewed biomedical and life sciences journal literature.
  • PubGet  “Pubget indexes nearly 20 million life science research documents, including those in PubMed®. You search it by typing terms into the search field, a lot like you’d search PubMed or Google Scholar. The difference is Pubget gets you the PDF right away.”

‘Universal’ UK academic library catalogue searches

  • Copac  “Copac is a freely available library catalogue, giving access to the merged online catalogues of many major University, Specialist, and National Libraries in the UK and Ireland, including the British Library.”
  • SUNCAT  Serials Union Catalogue for the UK.  Serials’ information from 95 UK libraries “including the British Library, the National Libraries of Scotland and Wales, some of the largest Higher Education institutions in the UK and a number of specialist libraries. Serials holdings from new libraries will be added over time”.
  • SALSER Serials catalogue for 11 Scottish academic and research libraries, the members of the Scottish Confederation of University and Research Libraries (SCURL).

Open Access journals

  • DOAJ  (Directory of Open Access Journals) Information about and links to academic open access peer reviewed journals.
  • JURN  Search 4,420+ open access scholarly ejournals in the arts & humanities. The JURN Directory lists the 3,000+ English language titles by subject.
  • BioMed Central  Open access journal publisher specialising in bioscience journals (owned by Springer).
  • PhysMath Central  Open access journal publisher specialising in physics and mathematics journals (owned by Springer).
  • Chemistry Central  Open access journal publisher specialising in chemistry journals (owned by Springer).
  • SpringerOpen  New open access journal publisher to cover all Scientific/Technical/Medical subjects.
  • Public Library of Science (PLoS) Open access journal publisher specialising in science journals.

Semantic search engines

Online ebook search engines – these cover mostly out-of-copyright works

NOTE: for recent in copyright textbooks and texts pre 1800 please check the UL’s ebooks@cambridge page.

  • Google books Millions of books scanned by Google, out of copyright works available full text as scanned pdfs.
  • Internet Archive “Permanent free access for researchers, historians, and scholars to historical collections that exist in digital format […] includes texts, audio, moving images, and software as well as archived web pages”.
  • Digital Book Index A search engine of digital book repositories (including Google books, Internet Archive, and many others). http://www.digitalbookindex.com/search001a.htm avoiding (free) registration
  • Hathi Trust
  • The Open Library  ‘A page for every book’: a publicly created and accessible online book catalogue with links to over 1m full text works.
  • The Online Books Page  A very comprehensive list of archives of ebooks on this page of the Online Books site.
  • Feedbooks  ‘On Feedbooks you’ll discover thousands of public domain books and original books from new authors that you can read on any mobile device’.

Secondhand/out of print book search

  • Bookfinder.com  A comprehensive secondhand book search engine,  search for english or foreign language books.
  • Abebooks  The best known web marketplace of secondhand book dealers wordlwide. Listings are included in Bookfinder.com above.

Map search online

  • Google maps  – also provides aerial/satellite images plus the excellent ’street view’ of most areas.
  • Bing maps  – also provides aerial images plus ‘birds eye’ view (= aerial at an angle). Now makes use of MutliMaps/Ordnance Survey maps at some scales.
  • Open Street Map  Publicly created map made by contributors using GPS-equipped hardware. Free to use.

Video search engines

‘Real-time’ search engines plus weblog and other ‘social’ search

Real time search – eg searching Twitter and other continually updating web services such as blogs. The traditional web search engines’ updates are much slower.

Alert services

In addition to subscribing to RSS feeds (using, for instance, Google reader or Bloglines), the following services are invaluable web monitors:

  • Google alerts  Sends a daily email of news picked up on subjects you specify—be fairly specific in your search terms to get the most out of it.
  • Watch That Page  Sends a daily email listing any changes to web pages you specify—especially useful for monitoring sites with no RSS feed.

Other web resources—sciences

  • ChemSpider  “Access to millions of chemical structures […] ChemSpider is the richest single source of structure-based chemistry information.”
  • SciVee  YouTube for scientists
  • Journal of Visualized Experiments (JOVE)  A video journal for biological research.
  • OpenWetWare  “An effort to promote the sharing of information, know-how, and wisdom among researchers and groups who are working in biology & biological engineering.”

Other web resources—music

  • Musopen  an online music library of copyright free (public domain) music.
  • Naxos Music Library Full Naxos CD catalogue streamed at near CD audio quality. (NOTE: Subscription only subscribed resource—please ask for a password and weblink from our Librarian).
  • Petrucci Music Library  Free sheet music: “a virtual library containing all public domain music scores, as well as scores from composers who are willing to share their music with the world without charge.

Other web resources—languages

  • Language learning  A  master list of free language learning resources including audio podcast courses.

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