When Google just isn't enough.
February 6, 2009 10:58 AM Subscribe
Can anyone recommend a powerful textual search tool I can use on anything I want?
posted by valkyryn to technology (11 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
So I'm looking for a powerful search tool for academic research. To clarify, I'm not having trouble finding sources. I want to be able to search within sources for inexact phrases.
As it turns out, Google is powerful in the sense that it can find terms almost anywhere, but the search engines on WestLaw and LexisNexis are ridiculously powerful in the arguments they allow you to use. For example, x /s y finds x in the same sentence as y; x /p y finds x in the same paragraph as y, x /5 y finds x within five words of y, etc.
This is incredibly useful, especially if a term is used in more than one way but I'm only interested in one of them. I would like to be able to do this with arbitrary text documents from sources like Project Gutenberg, but I can't seem to get Google (or Google Desktop) to do this. Does anyone have any ideas to either improve my google-fu or for an alternative search tool?
Web-based or Windows-compatible is fine, but I'd like to avoid paying for it if at all possible. Help me, hive mind!