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Searching the Internet: Internet & Academic Search Engines

Find out how to get the most out of your Internet search experience. View our lists of recommended search engines and our updates advanced internet search tricks and tips.

Internet Search Engines


Considered the better search engine by experts, but beware the blind spots and missing content resulting from results skewed to favor advertisers and increase efficiency by dropping older websites (for instance). If you don't search in Google, you will miss some things, but if you only search in Google, you will miss much more. Try some of these alternatives listed below.


Microsoft's search engine and best runner-up to Google, Bing offers different search functionality and its own special sauce for relevance ranking results.


DuckDuckGo has emerged as one of the best metasearch engines that preserves your search privacy and avoids filter bubbles


"What haven't you found?" Use MillionShort's unique filters to remove the top 100 to 1 million most popular web sites from the top of the search results to discovery the untapped web sites that rank far down the results list of Google and Bing due to lack of money to spend on marketing and Search Engine Optimization.


Based in Europe, Qwant was adopted by French National Assembly in 2018 to replace Google as the default search engine over concerns that European countries needed to regain 'digital sovereignty' and to secure the privacy of citizens' data. 


StartPage is another example of a metasearch engine that relies on Google's index, but without the personalization that can trap you in a filter bubble.

Academic Search Engines Compared

Connected Papers: Using Semantic Connections to Explore Academic Literature

Search for (or paste in) the title of the best paper you've found so far (this will be the 'seed paper') and Connected Papers will use the magic of Machine Learning to provide lists and visualizations for discovering semantically connected papers.

Try this example: "Blue Economy and Competing Discourses in International Oceans Governance."


CoCites: Find articles cited together


Articles that are frequently cited together tend to be on similar topics. CoCites uses this concept to enable discover of academic papers on hard-to-research topics by revealing strong co-citation linkages; i finds and ranks articles that are frequently cited together with a selected article. Once installed, the CoCites badge will appear in Google Scholar and PubMet hit lists. Click the CoCites badge to discover similar papers.

InCiteFul: Analyze paper networks

Academic Search Engines

Library Search

Searches the physical and electronic holdings of the IMF and WBG Libraries. 

Google Scholar

The largest and most popular of the free academic search engines (estimated at 329,000,000 documents). 

Microsoft Academic

The second largest database (229,992,545 documents) of academic content next to Google Scholar, Microsoft Academic is based on Bing indexing normalized into an "Academic Graph" composed of "fields of study", journals, authors, author affiliation, and conferences. Good filtering options and visualizations.

Dimensions provides keyword search and visualizations to allow different avenues for discovery of academic content: grants, publications, citations, clinical trails and patents. Best for: refined searching of academic literature. Good filtering, visualizations; integrated altmetric badge links for discovering where research is being discussed on social media, news, policy papers etc.

Lens combines scholarly research and patent data from over 95 jurisdictions with robust search functionality and visualizations. Create free account and log in for option to export up to 50,000 items to CSV with rich info including abstracts and citation counts. 

Semantic Scholar

Specifically designed to provide better discovery of articles than Google Scholar, Semantic Scholar is artificial intelligence enhanced academic search engine worth trying. Explore the visualizations and author profile pages.  

Connected Papers

Connected papers lets you enter a "seed paper" for discovery of semantically similar papers. Best for building literature reviews or exploring narrow fields of study that are otherwise hard to track.


Scinapse is a free search engine for academic papers. It currently runs on a database collected from four major sources, namely Microsoft Academic Graph (MAG), Semantic Scholar Open Research Corpus (ORC), Springer Nature SciGraph, and PubMed