Magazine article Online

International Search Engines and Directories: Beyond Tourist Sights and Sites

Magazine article Online

International Search Engines and Directories: Beyond Tourist Sights and Sites

Article excerpt

Finding good sites for international information is a challenge for many types of online research. In an increasingly global environment, the Web is not just for those with English as their mother tongue, nor is Google the only search engine. International search engines and directories can be useful for finding country- and language-specific Web sites as well as travel information. Unfortunately, many of them are too commercial, containing travel sites that concentrate on tourist sights and local business directories.

The challenge is to find useful sites for research in various topics such as government, law, education, statistics, economic reports, and other relevant country- and region-specific sites and links. Below are some interesting and helpful international search engines and directories that provide information without all the commercial and irrelevant links and suggest approaches for other types of international searches.

COUNTRY/REGIONAL

When it's a specific country or region that you need to research, or a specific topic within that country or region, you long for a Web site or directory that focuses on that part of the world. From there, you can usually find your specific topic or links to relevant information. If you merely Google a country or topic, you generally get too many results. Say you want to research the government system of a country. A Google search will retrieve many separate listings for various agencies. This becomes overwhelming if the country you are researching has many separate states or territorial governments, as with Canada or Australia. However, a specific search engine or directory usually has that topic listed in an easy-to-follow pattern: Government-Agencies-Agencies By Territory. Or if you know what topic you need, it will most likely be listed as a separate category.

Take New Zealand as an example. Managed by the National Library of New Zealand, the Te Puna Web Directory (http://webdirectory.natlib.govt.nz/dir/en/nz) provides a subject gateway to selected New Zealand and Pacific Island Internet information resources. If your research is focused on Maori resources, this directory is very helpful because it has a separate Maori Subject List category with research guides for Maori studies. This site allows you to search by subjects, by hierarchical subject headings, or by alphabetical lists. There is also a quick link to recently added sites.

The selection criteria include the following:

* Sites of national or regional significance

* Government sites

* Academic sites

* Electronic journal sites

* Organization sites

* Commercial sites providing financial information (such as annual reports)

* Commercial sites providing significant general-interest information (such as art or local history)

* Major New Zealand and Pacific Island tourism and travel sites providing significant information about the nation

Sites that contain a large amount of advertising and/or contact information, sites that promote illegal acts (e.g., bomb making), and sites that are sexually explicit are excluded. You are guaranteed to find useful and relevant information for whatever your research topic is without having to wade through junk.

Need to do business or economic research? Go to Business and Economy. Here you can find links to New Zealand banks that provide economic reports on various sectors of the economy. There are also links to budgets and forecasts from government agencies, including access to publications and working papers. You can also find trade resources such as associations and business directories.

EDUCATION FOR KIWIS

If you are interested in researching issues in education, look under Education. There are links to research organizations and teacher associations. For example, the New Zealand Council for Educational Research contains information for policymakers, teachers, advisors, and researchers. …

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