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  • Print publication year: 2017
  • Online publication date: June 2018

12 - Specialised search engines



It's an unfortunate fact of life that not everything can be put into neat little accurately labelled boxes, and search engines are no exception to this rule. Much though it grieves me, it really is necessary to have a chapter that looks at search engines that don't fit neatly into any of the other categories that I have used in the book. It may be because the search engine is so unusual that it defies any sort of categorisation (as you'll see later, Bananaslug fits that description perfectly), or because it covers content that isn't included elsewhere. Whatever the reason, there are several engines that really deserve inclusion in the book, so this chapter is where you'll find them.

Did you know?

There are over 10 million domain names that end in .uk (

Academic search engines


Academia is part social network, part database, part search engine and you can find it at It defines itself as a ‘platform for academics to share research papers. The company's mission is to accelerate the world's research.’ Almost 50 million academics have joined the service (up from the 2 million mentioned in the last edition of this book, illustrating how quickly the service has grown), adding almost 18 million papers and listing over 2 million research interests. Academia offers a simple search box, with instant suggestions as you type. Results are broken down into a variety of areas; people, documents, journals and jobs for example. Documents may range from papers that have been uploaded by individual researchers, which can be downloaded and read in a PDF format, through to links to web pages or to other social media sites such as Pinterest. If you need to find an expert in a particular area, this is a good place to start, as you can quickly see their interests, what they have published, who they are following and their recent activities on the site.