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Web metasearch engines: A comparative study on search capabilities using an evaluation check-list

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Purpose ‐ Metasearch engines (MSEs) which have been designed to solve problems of internet users in finding relevant resources are not seemingly as recognized as the other web search tools such as search engines (SEs) and directories. As a result, this paper aims to compare and evaluate some of them in terms of search features included in their interface so that users can be familiar with these search tools. Design/methodology/approach ‐ This research compares and evaluates 20 general MSEs in English, which are free of charge, based on a researcher-made checklist. Finally, those MSEs which have better search features have been introduced. Findings ‐ According to results obtained, it is self-evident that most MSEs offer an excellent alternative for users. Research limitations/implications ‐ MSEs which have great features and high facilities are not necessarily user-friendly. So, usability studies or user-oriented ones on MSEs seem to be required. Practical implications ‐ Hopefully, these findings help users choose and make use of an MSE, MSE developers design more efficient and effective ones and information professionals identify and retrieve high relevant documents, meeting their information needs. Originality/value ‐ This paper provides clear and relatively comprehensive descriptive evidence for evaluating search facilities and potentials of MSEs which are commonly used by internet users today.

Keywords: Information research; Information retrieval; Internet; Search engines; User interfaces

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 26, 2007


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