From IVP Wiki


SESSION: Alternative Search Engines & Databases

Nora Paul, University of Minnesota Silha School


  • She recommends using Northern Light search:
  • She recommends / You can break it down by sources, or types of site.
  • – A suggestions service. It searches a bunch of search sites simultaneously.
  • She likes / It looks like Pinterst. It pulls things from difference sources like Twitter, YouTube, commerce sites, Amazon. You get a visual picture of the range. It sparks search inspiration.

Semantic searching

“Artifical intelligence is still an oxymoron.” But semantic search can be good if you are imprecise in your terms. It is frustrating when you know what you want you want to search in something that is going to do the character match.

  • does semantic search. If you are looking for credible resources to get going, this is a good one to start with.
  • With sputtr, you can set up your own dashboard and edit it. You can customize the things that you do and don’t want to search in. Then if you run a search, it will search on only the search engines you have specified.
  • is one that goes beyond just text. For anything that has some kind of calculation or a numerical element, it pulls out that stuff, like an extraction engine. Use it for things that have more data. It will put out charts and stuff. Targets data, statistics.

Margot Williams, correspondent, investigations, NPR

She is on the investigative reporting team at NPR, and spends a lot of time searching public-records databases. She focuses on information not captured by search engines, only available onsite or downloadable.

  • She recommends turn off Goolge web history: “I don’t want to see stuff I’ve looked at already.”

Phone book: /

Free phone lookups at MelissaData is the new alternative to Accurint, a website from Hank Asher, who invented to Accurint. She finds cell numbers there.

You can get premium linked in for free. Go to Linked in for Journalists and take the webinar. The next one is June 20. You take it and get free for a year. With the Pro, you can search for people who worked someplace in the past. Is a UN site that has names, organizations, phone numbers for people working in human rights organizations all over the world. -- you can use to find anybody who has a license in a licensed profession. You can look up a name of a person who is a foster care provider or get phone numbers, from plumbers to attorneys. Who is a pilot?

Federal Bureau of Prisons database: allows you to get names of prisoners and where they area.

Robert Bales – soldier shooter of 16 people in Afghanistan – data work found records of a financial fraud conviction and other things.

Court public records search:

Watchlists, Wanted and Missing Persons Lists

Federal courts

Federal civil dockets: Free search of civil dockets, can search by type of case within each federal court district.

Carl Malamud PACER:

Campaign Finance For searching legislative salaries, trips, etc. All kinds of ethics and lobbyist disclosures. You can search lobbying documents in the cente.

Corporation research -- 43 million companies corporation data. They are adding a feature to search by directors name. for state-by-state searching.


International Planes and ship finders

Information about boats hijacked; information about who owns or pirates a ship. There is a ship to shore phone directory. to see were a ship is located. / Tracking flights. you can search a tail number. -- On iphone helps you find planes and ships.

Database on U.S. work visas – how many companies are bringing in foreign workers.

FOIAS, leaks and deletes

Her book: Snowstorm in August.

Favorite databases