100 Useful Niche Search Engines to Focus and Finetune Your Academic Research

Posted on 06.19.2008

Though the general Google site is often touted as the number one search engines online, college students sometimes need more specific tools to help them uncover quality information on the Web that they can use for class projects, research papers, and even job and apartment searches. This list features a huge variety of search engines that can be useful to students, including tools that find photos, sound effects, summer internships, health and medical information, reference guides, and a lot more.


Search blogs, games and even forum postings for non school-related information and fun.

  1. Bloglines: The search engine on Bloglines can find "billions of articles" and posts going back to 2003 from blogs, comics and more.
  2. FindSounds: Web workers and procrastinating students can use this search to find sound effects in all kinds of file formats, channels and resolutions.
  3. Nicado: This free search helps you find e-mail addresses and phone numbers for old friends and out-of-touch family members.
  4. Omgili: Type in a subject or keyword to find forum posts and discussions on the Web on the same topic.

Quick Answer Guides

Head to these search engines when you have a specific question that needs to be answered quickly.

  1. Answers.com: Type in your question to this search box or answer other users' questions about politics, automotive issues, TV shows and pop culture, health, technology and more.
  2. AskMeNow: Use this site to do a quick Wikipedia search from your mobile phone.
  3. Lexxe: Type in your question to this search engine, which pulls answers from its database of URLs added by users.
  4. Powerset: Powerset is another question and answer search engine that searches Wikipedia articles
  5. AskWiki Beta: This semantic search engine finds answers to your questions in Wikipedia articles.

City Guides and Travel

Get to know your college town a little better, or plan a vacation or study abroad trip with these search engines.

  1. Google Local: Many don't realize that this popular site is also a search engine. Find local businesses and addresses here.
  2. MSN City Guides: Click on a city to get started or type in a general location or activity to let this search engine find fun things for you to do in your area.
  3. Aardvark Travel: This site helps you in "sniffing out travel sites from around the world." Browse by location, type of vacation, travel activity, flights, hotels and other topics.
  4. Kayak.com: This aggregate travel search engine finds the lowest air fares, cruise vacations, car rentals and hotel stays available through the Web that match your travel requests.
  5. Ask City: Search special events, entertainment guides and maps for your city on this site.
  6. Mobissimo: Search MobiDeals or enter in your travel information to let this site find attractive airline tickets, hotel reservations and car rentals.
  7. Trabber.com: Trabber.com searches 31 different websites to bring up cheap flights based on the schedule you submit.
  8. Local Search Guide: This mega search engine connects you to local maps and directions, businesses, phone numbers, movie times and weather information.
  9. Search.Travel: This beta search engine finds information on travel deals and transportation, events and activities to do in the location you search, and more.

Shopping Search Engines

Find customer reviews, product information and shopping sites with these search engines.

  1. MySimon: This fun site lists shopping specials and gift ideas for holidays, and it lets you search within a specific category or conduct a general search.
  2. Shopzilla: Shopzilla is super easy to use. Enter in the keywords or product description for the item you're shopping for, or browse the categories on the right, to bring up results from online retailers like Amazon.com.
  3. DealTime: DealTime is a comparison shopping search engine that has information on flowers and gifts, computers and technology, home and garden items, cars, music and movies, sports equipment and a lot more.
  4. Google Product Search: "Search for stuff to buy" on the Google Product Search, which connects you to everything from beauty and fashion items to DIY home improvement shopping to gifts and furniture.
  5. Kelkoo: Shop by category or answer the search question "What are you shopping for?" to find product information and deals on all kinds of items. You can also search by brand or store to narrow down the search.
  6. PriceGrabber.com: Conduct an advanced search by shopping different categories or type in exactly what you're looking for on PriceGrabber.com.
  7. MSN Shopping: This comprehensive site lets you first browse by category to narrow your search or type in keywords to bring up something more specific.
  8. ePublicEye: This online shopping search engine specializes in finding safe, positively reviewed e-commerce sites. It also offers information on safe online shopping tips and online scams.
  9. BizRate: Compare prices of clothing items, household appliances, gifts, accessories, technology and more when you use this search engine.


Business students and those interested in staying current on business news and trends can take advantage of these niche search engines to help them prepare for class and life after graduation.

  1. Bloomberg: Bloomberg.com connects you to business news through its search engine, breaking news articles and market data updates.
  2. ThomasNet: ThomasNet's dedication to "connecting industry" results in this broad search tool, which lets users browse categories including products and services, as well as search for specific companies or brands.
  3. IFACnet: Accountants can use this search engine for industry news and "access to global resources and information."
  4. Nexis: LexisNexis users can use this business search to find legal resources, industry news and information about other professionals and organizations.
  5. Business.com: Entrepreneurs and business students can browse categories like software, startup, transportation, jobs, office management, real estate and health care to "quickly find anything for [their] business" and find a job.

Academic and Reference

Find reliable and authoritative sites here to help you with homework and class projects.

  1. Librarian's Internet Index: This site brings together "websites you can trust," on subjects like media, law, communications, consumer research, health and more.
  2. Scirus: This scientific search engine claims to be "the most comprehensive scientific research tool on the web" and indexes over 450 million science-related resources.
  3. Google Scholar: Search journal articles, abstracts, academic papers and bibliographies, and other scholarly publications here.
  4. Intute: Social Sciences: This division of the online search tool Intute connects you to quality information about government policy, geography, law, economics, anthropology, business management, social welfare, psychology, politics, women's studies and more.
  5. CiteSteer: Computer science and IT students can use this "scientific literature digital library."
  6. Online Journals Search Engine: Find indexed science materials and resources on this site.
  7. Google Books: Search classic literature, non-fiction books, poetry, short stories and other books at Google Books.
  8. Research Crawler: Type in your keywords in the general search box or use the Research Quick Links to find articles, textbooks, RSS feeds, podcasts and more to help you with your project or paper.
  9. Translation Crawler: This directory has sites indexed for sign language, education, interpreting and more.

Social Media and People

User-generated content and user-driven sites like these often result in more relevant search results for you.

  1. wink: wink is "where people find people." Search by location, name, interests, school or any other category to help you reach old friends and family members.
  2. Sproose: This user-driven site can perform a Web search or video search.
  3. similicio.us: Discover similar sites when you copy/paste a URL into this search engine.


These search engines offer more than just ordinary searches. Enjoy using features like shared searches, saved memory and specific search options.

  1. Trexy: Trexy can help you "blaze search trails" by saving your search memory, share your searches with the Trexy community, and add a TrailBar button to your toolbar for fast searches.
  2. MsFreckles: MsFreckles can search the entire Internet or just pages from the UK. You can also filter your search by file type, search several sites at once, only search through certain domains, search only blogs, or choose other advanced options.
  3. Clusty: Use Clusty to search the Web, news sites, images, Wikipedia or blogs.

TV, Video and Radio

Look up video clips for class presentations or discover new radio sites and web streams through these search tools.

  1. veoh: Find millions of online videos by searching this site.
  2. blinx: blinx digs into the Web to find "over 26 million hours of video" and bring up relevant results.
  3. ZippyVideos: This beta search engine is also a media sharing site, so you can upload your own videos as well as search for others.
  4. Radio-Locator: Search for over 10,000 different radio stations and 2,500 web streams from radio stations all over the world.
  5. Pandia Radio Search: This massive search site offers a radio search too.
  6. Radio Directory: The radio directory search on this site can connect you to radio stations' web sites and radio information from all over.
  7. altavista: Use this video search to find MPEG, Quicktime, Avi, Windows Media, Real, Flash and many other types of videos.
  8. Truveo: Truveo lets you search for videos from different web sites. You can also browse categories like Most Viewed Today and Highest Rated.
  9. Snipp.TV: Find video and audio content from this easy-to-use beta search engine.

Medical Students and Health Search

This list will not only help medical students research authoritative journals and publications, college students wanting to do more than just Google their symptoms can find health advice and medical resources by using these search engines.

  1. Entrez: Search life sciences publications and research materials here.
  2. PubMed: This search tool is sponsored by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.
  3. Healia: Healia claims to be "your guide to healthy decisions." Search the Web, PubMed, or the Clinical Trials option.
  4. PubGene: Find biology and genetics materials by searching this tool.
  5. Healthline: With Healthline, you can "search the Web's best health sites." Browse topics like ADD/ADHD, heart disease, depression or allergies, or type in your own symptoms.
  6. OmniMedicalSearch.com: This site has been named a Top 5 Medical Search Engine by About.com and is lauded by The Washington Post. Search the Web, images or forums to get connected to quality health and medical information.
  7. MedNets: Medical students can try out this tool, which searches databases, journals, books, jobs and medical societies. You can also customize the engine for your particular field, like internal medicine, dentistry, family medicine, nursing, pulmonary and others.
  8. American Hospital Directory: Find a nearby hospital fast by typing in your telephone area code, zip code, city or state.
  9. DrKoop.com: Research your symptoms, access a health encylopedia, or take advantage of the Web search engine powered by Healthline to find all kinds of health information.
  10. MedicineNet: This organized search engine displays your results according to different categories, like News, Symptoms, Procedures and Tests, and Medications, so you can quickly find the most relevant results.

Law Students

Law students gain access to court rulings, history and political sciences resources, and other law material here.

  1. MegaLaw.com: Here, you can "look up law sites on the web" without having to search multiple times.
  2. FindLaw: Find attorneys and answers to your law questions by searching here.
  3. History Crawler: Find history references and more on this site.
  4. Meta-Index for U.S. Legal Research: Search judicial opinions, federal regulation, legislation and more on this site.
  5. World Law: Search opinions, news legislation, lawyers and law libraries from all over the world.
  6. CataLaw: This search engine can find information and resources about all types of law, including consumer law, sexual harassment cases, family law, banking, criminal law, cyber rights and much more.

Metasearch and Megasearch Engines

The following search engines work extra hard to bring you information from other search engines at the same time, including Google, Yahoo!, MSN, and others.

  1. Dogpile: Find information from "all the best search engines" here.
  2. Excite: This metasearch engine also shows you the latest sports scores, stock ticker, featured games and videos, and more.
  3. Mamma: Mamma is "the mother of all search engines," and she can search the Web, news, images, video and the Yellow Pages.
  4. HotBot: This search engine can pull information and material from Yahoo!, IyGO.com, and MSN.
  5. MetaCrawler: "Search the search engines" with MetaCrawler, a tool that lets you search filtered, family-friendly material or access unfiltered results.
  6. Info.com: Info.com retrieves information from Google, Yahoo!, LiveSearch, About.com and Ask. You can also choose to search the Web, Research, News, Images, Video, and other options.
  7. Myriad Search: This search engine searches four different engines, but only if you want it to. You can choose to require information from a particular engine or exclude the engine altogether.

Photos, Images and Visual Search Engines

Make your search a more visual experience by checking out these tools.

  1. Kart00: This visual metasearch engine displays results like a map with mini preview images of the sites themselves.
  2. Grokker: Grokker searches Wikipedia, Yahoo! and Amazon Books, and then displays your results in an outline view or a map view.
  3. Picsearch: Use Picsearch when you need to add images to a project or presentation.
  4. Fagan Finder: This site outlines different search engines, photo sharing sites or stock photography sites so that you can find everything from clip art to medical images to photoblogs.
  5. Netvue: Netvue is a no-frills image search engine that brings up animation, graphics and photos.

News Searches

College students need to stay current on business, technology, cultural and political news, so use these search engines to guide you through homework discussions, projects and more.

  1. News Lookup: Find news stories from all over the world, or just search a particular country or news topic.
  2. Google News: On this site, you can "browse 4,500 news sources" for up-to-the-minute information.
  3. AlltheWeb: Use the News search tool on this site to find relevant stories from newspapers, TV stations and other news sites.
  4. Yahoo! News: Search sports, entertainment, business, technology, world and U.S. news here.
  5. Ananova: In addition to providing a comprehensive news search, this site also posts the day's top headlines on the front page.

Jobs and Real Estate

Turn to these search engines to help you with your search for a summer internship, your first apartment or a job post-graduation.

  1. Hotpads.com: Find homes and apartment listings for sale or for rent around the country with this tool.
  2. RightMove: This UK-based site will direct you to properties for sale or rent, including vacation homes and properties in places like France, Spain and Bulgaria.
  3. Juju: This easy-to-use job search engine lets you type in a keyword and location. You can also search by company name.
  4. indeed: indeed is a metasearch engine that lets you perform one keyword and location search to find listings from all over the Web.
  5. Simply Hired: Search over 6 million jobs posted on the Web in industries like customer service, accounting, transportation, software, paralegal, PR, government and others.
  6. Dice.com: Technology students and professionals can search for jobs on this site, which connects to more than 86,000 listings.
  7. REAdb (Real Estate Agents Web Directory): This site links to both people (real estate agents) and their listings (property). Seems to mostly archive agents in the US and Canada.
  8. WhereToLive.com: WhereToLive.com is "the real estate search engine," letting you search homes on an interactive map.
  9. Internship Programs: Look for internships after you log on to this "internship search engine."