Does it really matter that most users seem to categorize all of the various search tools that are available to them under the generic, and incorrect, name of search engines? To my mind, at least, it used to - and still should. There really are differences - differences that I used to happily devote an hour or more to explaining, and then to a discussion of under which circumstances one particular tool is preferable over another. I used to explain that outside of class I didn't really care what terms people used, but while in class, it was important to me that we distinguish between search engines and indexes. I suggested that we classify both under the general term of search tools, to which we could also add expert sites and portals. It made sense to me, but didn't seem to sink in with my students. It you want to find something, you search for it, right? And if you search for it, the tool you use is, by definition, a search engine.

Go to: The tyranny of search.