Northern Light isn’t your typical search engine. To distinguish itself from the pack, it has integrated two competitive industries: the search engine market and the information delivery market. The Northern Light database searches both its indexed Web pages and full-text articles from 2,000+ publications in non-public databases. It sorts the search results into folders based on keywords, source and other criteria. These folders set Northern Light apart from other search engines. Instead of ranking results by keyword or other criteria, Northern Light dynamically creates theme-based, custom search folders that guide you to a set of focused results. There are four types of folders: subject, type, source and language. These folders do not contain pre-set results. The subject folders use a hierarchy of more than 200,000 subject-based phrases that matches keywords to this subject base. This pre-sorts the results for you. The source folders are often divided into top-level domain names, specific companies and personal pages. The third folder type lets you know what kind of document you’ve retrieved – whether it’s a map, a resume, an FAQ, a press release, or other document type. Northern Light’s Special Collections (the information delivery arm of its business) provide quick and easy access to an array of publications. Summaries can be accessed for free; most specialized information can be retrieved for a nominal fee from $1.00 to $4.00 per article. You pay only for what you actually retrieve. While Northern Light’s normal search uses Boolean operators, its Power Search allows you even more control over your results. You can specify the types of documents and the types of sites you want to retrieve them from and a date range. Of great help is the ability to search for words in the title of a Web page and for words within the URL. In August, Northern Light had indexed 80 million Web pages. They’ve increased that to 94-97 million now, and expect to index 100 million by the end of the week-which would rank them right up with Hot Bot and Alta Vista. These are all search engines best suited to the advanced search tasks of flipping sites and drilling down to find hidden candidates on the Internet. One last thing: bookmark ’em. You’ll want to return to their site. Next week: Search Engine Wrap-Up
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