Categorical Search Engines
YouTube is an example of a categorical search site for videos. It features main sub-categories of videos, channels and shows which each have respective sub-categories that render a search extremely user friendly. YouTube does not offer a help link. A Boolean search is possible by using and for results that contain both words. To avoid a search one should place a hyphen (-) in front of the word one does not want to pop up. So, if I want Fredericksburg, but not the one in Texas I would search for fredericksburg –texas. Results are ranked automatically; there is no option to sort. Sub-searches are possible by adding words to the search box on top of the results screen. Another option is to click on a relevant video and wait for new connections to reroute the search automatically. Language changes require a little trick. Instead of the ending .com which indicates a U.S. website one needs to replace .com with the target country’s ending (such as .de for Germany, .fr for France, .ch for Switzerland). The screen will still be in English. However, now the bottom of the page shows current location Germany (or France or Switzerland) and offers a choice of languages. No translating service is available.
“Fredericksburg” provided 5, 750 results of relevant and irrelevant videos, the first focusing on the history of Fredericksburg in Virginia as I had hoped for. No sub-search for Virginia was necessary.
“Fastnacht” came back with 2,210 results covering parades, food and songs.
Excellent for foreign language research this website offers a cornucopia of authentic audio and video material. Caution should be exercised, though. Material should be previewed as should be some viewer comments. Those frequenting the site seem to be under 20 and leave inappropriate comments more often than not.
Swiss info is a search engine sponsored by Swiss radio and Swiss television. It specializes in information from and about Switzerland. Unlike YouTube, this search engine has a thematic topic rather than media focus. No help link is available. Binary searches are not possible. Result rankings are automatic and can be adjusted to date published, language and media type. Language options on top of the home page include German, English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Chinese and Japanese. Translation services are not offered. Although news from Switzerland is the main information one finds here, other results are possible if limited. Main categories include business, politics, travel & culture, science & technology and sports.
“Fredericksburg”: no information on Fredericksburg was available - as suspected; a 6-year all media search on Virginia yielded 31 results. All covered news and were extremely pertinent.
“Fastnacht” provided only one result, again as expected, it was a news report and extremely pertinent.
Using the criteria I had at the beginning, this website does not seem to offer much. However, any subject that is Switzerland specific (which neither of my search criteria was) yields very good information. This is an excellent search engine for students who want to learn about Switzerland - especially news and Swiss lore.