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Q. What is ?

A. is a one-stop, deep web search portal designed for science researchers everywhere. It helps provide researchers with quick access to information from a multitude of credible collections. Researchers can take advantage of 's many tools to narrow their searches, drill down into topics and discover new information collections.

Q. What is Federated Search?

A. Federated search is a powerful way to comprehensively search multiple databases in real-time. Instead of crawling and indexing static content like Google (or the other popular search engines), queries select, high quality collections to search simultaneously. While this usually takes a few seconds longer, it ensures a superior level of results.

For instance, federated search helps researchers avoid outdated articles and spam, allowing for the exploration of only the most pertinent information. Also, federated search enables private or other collections that can't be indexed, to be searched (this is more common than you might imagine). For more information on Federated Search, please visit The Federated Search Blog.

Q. Why isn't as fast as Google?

A. is simultaneously searching collections in real-time (not indexed) as though a search is being conducted on each individual website. As soon as information is published within a collection, can find it for you. The "Collection Status" link can be selected to view the number of results pulls in from each collection, as well as the total number of results the collection returned during the search.

If you have a recurring search and would like to save time, you may want to consider using 's Alerts feature. Alerts will scan the deep web for the search terms you specify, and send you an email (or RSS feed) when new content appears. This is an excellent and very effective method to stay abreast of science issues that matter to you.

Q. Why do I get different results every time I do a search with the same search term, even minutes later?

A. Two reasons. First, performs searches to other collections in real-time. Many collections are updating frequently, and if any of them make a change during between searches, you will see your results change.

Second, is persistent and will cache results. When you perform a search with , will continue to obtain results, even if you're done viewing your results. Also, due to the "incremental results" feature, will display results as quickly as possible, while it's waiting for more results from slower collections. It may be possible that slower collections report in, between the time you conduct a second search, which would then impact results. (See What are "incremental results?" for more information.)

Q. How do you select your collections?

A. Deep Web Technologies has spent years working in the search industry and is constantly evaluating collections and adding them as appropriate. Requests for new collections to add are also greatly appreciated. Please contact us if you have a collection you would like to see added to .

While many collections in are publicly available to search and view, it is possible to include subscription-based or fee-based journal content. Please contact us for more information or learn more...

Q. How does the number of results work for the different collections, under Collection Status?

A. The Collection Status list will display all collections that are searched. There are two numbers in this list, and they are "Result" and 'Totals." "Results" indicates the number of actual results obtained from each collection, while "Totals" represents the number of results that each collection indicated exists.

Why aren't these two numbers equal? That's a good question.

For many of the collections searches, they require us to "screen scrape" the results (which is a fancy term for saying that pretends it's a human and literally reads the results web page as presented by the collection). When search results are obtained vis-a-vis screen scraping, will only read the first page of results. In most cases, it will not go back and look at the second page of results. For some collections can specify how many results to put on each page, thereby increasing the number of results obtained from that collection. In general, results from such collections will range from 10 to 100, depending on the number of results available from a particular collection (i.e. if specifies 100 results on a page, but there are only 39 results, will only receive 39 results).

Note about screen scraping: Many in the federated search world view "screen scraping" as a substandard method for obtaining search results from collections. We agree. However, it is a necessary evil for those publishers who do not make it easy for a non-human (i.e. ) to obtain results for their collections. Screen scraping is used, only when absolutely necessary. The Federated Search Blog has an excellent article about screen scraping, entitled "Content access basics -Part I - screen scraping," if you would like to learn more about this topic.

For other collections, accesses search results vis-a-vis an "XML Gateway" (which is a fancy term for computer-to-computer communications). Usually, there are no limitations in how many results can get from such collections, although for speed and performance sake, will usually limit results to the first 200 or so, depending on the value and nature of a particular collection (note that some collections will not rank their results, and depending on the value of that collection, may request more results so that the results can be ranked). Again, the Federated Search Blog has an article, entitled "Content access basics -Part II- XML," which is a great read if you're interested.

There are some collections that may have tens or even hundreds of thousands of results. usually limits results to 200 or less, depending on the collection. This is done for a number of performance reasons. First, remember for those collections screen scrapes, it would need to literally read page after page of results, to obtain a complete list of results. We doubt most researchers would have the patience to wait that long. Second, if pulled in all the results from all the collections, it could potentially have millions of results to pull in, sort, de-duplicate, rank and display, for each and every search performed. Aside from taking vast amounts of computing power and network bandwidth, the publishers of the collections would become quite annoyed at because of all the work (i.e. network traffic and performance hit) associated with all the searches and results downloading.

Q. I counted the collections listed in the Collection Status window, and it definitely doesn't equal the number of collections the results page indicates has been searched. Why the discrepancy?

A. The "collection count" on the results page (i.e. "*some-number* of 262 sources complete" at the top) does indicate the proper number of collections being searched. The reason this is a larger number, than what is listed within the Collection Status list, is that is searching other federated collections. For instance, is included in the collections being searched by ., itself, searches something like 50 other collections. is smart enough to report on this in the Results List, but the Collection Status identifies the actual collections it searches, which means if is down, approximately 50 collections will be missing from the final results.

Q. How do you calculate the numbers for "top results" and "found results?"

A. "Top results" is a summation of all the results has obtained from the collections searched. It is the same number, as if you added up all the numbers under the 'Results' column in the Collection Status list.

"Found results" is a summation of all the results available at all the collections that searched. will usually limit the number of results it brings back from collections to no more than 200, even though some collections may have tens or hundreds of thousands of results for a particular search term. "Found results" is the same number, as if you added up all the numbers under the "Totals" column in the Collection Status list.

Q. Can you add my subscription-based collections?

A. currently links to several subscription-based collections that can be included to search, although the content searched cannot be accessed without a subscription (to the individual publishers of these collections). We would be happy to create your own that incorporates whatever collections important to your work. Learn more...

Q. What is the difference between basic search and advanced searching?

A. Basic search (from the homepage of ) conducts a search of all collections within the category you select. Advanced searching allows for a more precise search (be selecting specific collections) with the option to specify certain dates, titles, authors or individual collections.

Q. How does decide which results are more relevant and rank higher?

A. By default, displays a relevance-ranked results list, with those highest ranking on top. There are several factors that contribute to a higher ranking, including: the length of the title, the occurrence of the search term within the title and snippet, and the frequency of occurrence. If a collection presents highly relevant results for a query, will automatically retrieve additional results from that collection instead of only returning the first page of its results. Because native collection relevance ranking engines vary, 's sought-after ranking approach normalizes results from multiple collections for a consistent, relevance-ranked results list.

Q. How do I search just one or two collections?

A. On the advanced search page, individual collections can be selected or deselected. Simply select the individual collections (or categories) you wish to search.

Q. Can I connect to the native interface of the collection? What about full text access?

A. The native interface on any collection can be accessed through by clicking on a result title. If the collection supports full text access and you are authenticated in the case of a subscription-based collection, then you can view the full text. The collection homepage can be reached by clicking on the collection name on the advanced search page .

Q. What are the different sections of the results page?

A. has several components that can aid in searching the deep web:

1. Advanced Search - Allows for a more specific search through fields and the selection of particular collections (or categories).
2. My Selections - By clicking on the boxes that appear next to individual results, results can be saved to the "My Selections" page for later download, email or printing.
3. Clear Selection - Will remove any saved selections.
4. Print Page - A convenient way to print the page you are viewing.
5. Email Results - A convenient way to email the results list to yourself or a colleague. A popup box will display, where you enter the email address to send the results to, your name, and a few options (including HTML or text based email, as well as number of results).
7. Preferences - Allows you to select the number of results per page, as well as whether will prompt you (vis-a-vis a dialog box) to include more results when all collections have either timed out or returned their results. (Note that this is a feature called "incremental results," and allows to return faster results to you when the faster collections have returned their results. See "What are 'incremental results'?" for more information.)
8. Collection Status - Displays the collection name, collection status (i.e. green checkmark (null) for collection available and red X (null) for collection unavailable), the number of results actually obtained from the collection, and the number of results the collection said were available. See "How does the number of results work for the different collections?" for more information.
6. Topics - Allow fast drill down into specific search results by topics, authors, publications, publishers or dates.
7. Sort by: This allows you to change the sort criteria. Available options include rank, date, title and author.
8. Limit to: Allows you to filter the results to the one collection you select.

For more information on navigation or how works, please see the "> Help page.

Q. What are "incremental results?"

A. To answer this question, it's important to keep in mind that is a federated search engine that searches other collections in real-time. These other collections are operated by other companies, and are all very different in their age, value, capability, speed and overall performance. is a rare breed of federated search, in that it won't make you wait forever while results are being compiled from all the collections being searched. Imagine if it did, and one or more collections were "offline?" You could wait a couple of minutes (or more), before seeing any results.

To speed up the search process, will display results immediately from those collections that provide results immediately. And, when the slower collections have provided their results, will ask you if you want to incorporate them into your search results. Why does ask you, versus just doing it? We felt that if obtained a few high-ranking results from the slower collections, it could change the way your first page of results looks, and if you're reading a particular result and it disappears, well, we thought you might find that frustrating.

Q. How can I save my search results?

A. To save results, simply click on the box next to the result, which will "select" that result to save it. To view all your selected results, click the "My Selections" link on the top of the results page. These results can be downloaded into a bibliographic citation reader, emailed or printed. All selections will appear for the life of the browser session, so results can continue to be compiled over the course of your time at , even if you perform more than one search. Note that once you leave , close your browser or restart your computer, you will lose your selections in "My Selections."

Note that you can also email or print a particular results list, by selecting "Print Page" or "Email Results" at the top of the results page.

Q. How do I refine my search?

A. Refining the query search can be done by entering a more specific search term or phrase in the upper left search box. For greater limiting of results try: 1. Limiting the sorting by date, author or title. 2. Limiting to a specific collections. 3. Viewing results by topic.

Q. What are Clusters?

A. Clusters are a powerful tool that drills down into a topic related to a search term allowing for more specific, narrow results. This feature is available on the left-side of the results page, under "Topics."

Q. Can I export to Refworks?

A. Simply select the results that you would like to export, click on the "My Selections" link and then click on the "Citations" link in that section. The Citations tool will download your results into any number of bibliographic tools that use a .RIS format, such as BibTex and RefWorks.

Q. Will integrate with my organization's homepage?

A. The free version of must be accessed directly from . If you are interested in adopting for your own organization, and benefit by changing the collections being searched (even including subscription-based collections), removing the ads, adding email and RSS-feed based alerts, and other features), we have the solution for you! Learn more...

Q. How can I advertise with you?

A. We do have advertising opportunities with the right advertisers. Please contact us for more information.

Q. Are there other free, federated search portals available?

A. Yes. At this time, there are two freely available deep web search portals are available (although we're working on more).

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