Glossary: Search Engines


A search engine is the software/program that allows us to search a database.

It might also be referred to as the platform or interface, although these terms are broader and also reflect how the screens appear and how the results are displayed. Typically, the interface is controlled by the provider, not the library.

A search engine may apply to only one database, or it may be possible to search several databases with one search (as with Scholars Portal Search or EBSCO). Google is a search engine, used to search the web for websites and documents.

Different search engines can respond differently to our search requests, and it's useful to click on "Help" to find out how the search engine we are using works best.