15 niche search engines every student needs

15 niche search engines every student should save on their favourites.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

While Google remains in a dominant position within the search engine market, and Amazon entices students with a user-friendly search for products, there are other services that can be useful tools for those currently studying.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to find something specific like an academic article on general search platforms, so consider using the roundup of search engines below to find particular content you need on the web.


1. Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a well-known and popular tool for students. By using this specialist search engine, students can find thousands of academic articles that can be read and cited for use in research papers and projects.

2. WorldCat

WorldCat connects online users to the collections and services of over 10,000 libraries worldwide. If your local library doesn't have the book you desperately need for your essay, search here and see if there is a copy available nearby.

3. Highbeam

A nice addition to Google Scholar, this subscription service allows users to search through the web to find the article you're looking for. It contains an online archive of academic articles, journals, magazine and newspaper excerpts.

4. iSeek

A resource aimed at students, teachers and education professionals, iSeek searches editor-reviewed content from universities, governments and noncommercial sources. It also includes a user rating system and dictionary to further refine your results.

5. Wikipedia

If you're uncertain about a term or wish to find a particular piece of information quickly, then Wikipedia is a user-friendly and vast tool to use. It is a user-content based encyclopedia so references and citations should be found elsewhere to ensure validity.

5. Ojose

A science-based journal search engine which allows you to scan multiple databases using a single search query. The layout can take a while to get used to -- but it remains a handy tool for researchers attempting to find somewhere to purchase a specific publication.

6. MetaGlossary

Stuck for the meaning of a word or acronym? You can use this free service to look up millions of phrases, and it comes with a Firefox plugin for quick access.


This search engine is designed for those within the life sciences and biomedical industries. A user can search for protocols, products, Powerpoint presentations or bioinformatics on their chosen search term.

8. Dogpile

This search engine compiles Google, Yahoo and Bing results in to one search function. Dogpile collects the results returned from individual search engines, decides which are most relevant to your search, eliminates duplicates and reveals them to you.

9. Fandango

Fandango is a tool which indexes real-time updates concerning film times and movie slots in cinemas near you. It's a popular search facility with over 1m likes on Facebook, and comes with a free app if you'd like to check times or book tickets online while mobile. It also hosts movie blogs, trailers and commentary on films.

10. Creative Commons

By using this Creative Commons search, a student can find images that hold the correct licenses for reproduction or editing. When plagiarism is on the rise and universities are taking the offence seriously enough that your degree could be in jeopardy or you may even be taken to court, it is a must to use a tool like this for your academic work.

11. YouTube

YouTube, the popular streaming service, can be used to find any number of media clips. Whether you are looking for an animated explanation of how online data is held, a 'how-to' guide in Adobe Creative Suite, or attempting to find information about an academic institution's research project, it remains an excellent search and streaming service.

12. Shopzilla

Browse through this price comparison website by topic, or search directly for a particular item you wish to buy. To narrow your search results, you are able to select particular fields like the store brand and price range.

13. LastFM

Available free or on a subscription basis, this online music provider allows you to search for tracks that suit your tastes, or be able to listen through the 'Audioscrobbler' function, which recommends music based on previous account activity.

14. Technorati

Technorati is a real-time search engine that allows online users to search the blogosphere in particular by interest or phrase for news and stories. It also provides popularity ratings based on each piece of user-generated content.

15. BPubs

BPubs is a search facility that concentrates on business-related content and publications.

Image credit: C.Osborne, ZDNet


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