Tag Galaxy

Tag Galaxy, one of the Flickr Tools, is a unique visual search engine which searches images from Flickr, then brings each category up like a series of planets rotating around a sun.

If you click on one of the rotating ‘planets’,  this will add extra terms to your search and reduce the number of photos in your final search.  When you have narrowed your search enough, click on the central ‘sun’ to view all the images in the unique rotating sphere, which you can then spin in different directions.

“Clicking on the central “star” will close in on that star and fill it with exactly 235 picture thumbnails. The star can be rotated with the left mouse button and zoomed with the mouse wheel. A click on a preview image will load that image in front, another click will load information about the picture like the name of the artist, a description and a link to the Flickr page.” (ghacks.net)

Click twice on an image to enlarge it, then either click a thrid time to shrink it back, or follow the link to view more photos in someone’s photostream in Flickr. If you would like to see more images, click on the link at the top of the screen to replace those images with another 235.

Watch a video of how Tag Galaxy works or, for an alternative way to view images easily, check out Cooliris.

Alternative Search Engines

If you would like to show your students some different search engines to Google, have a look at these:

Kartoo:  This search engine shows reults visually in the form of a map. When you run your mouse over various parts of the map, different links are highlighted to show the relationships between different search results.  This could be useful for students who are visual learners and prefer images to text. http://www.kartoo.com/



Grokker:  This is another visual search engine where you can choose to search Yahoo, Wikipedia and Amazon Books. It creates a circular map showing your search results. Those links which are more targeted will show up as large dots on the map; others further down the list will be smaller. As you click on each link, the map zooms in closer. http://www.grokker.com/



Clusty:  When you type a search term into Clusty, it automatically groups or categorises the results into ‘clusters’ where you can see at a glance the results most relevant to the type of information you were looking for.



CactiSearch:  This is a meta-search engine  which searches 4 other search engines at once – Google, Yahoo, Ask and MSN – similarly to Dogpile. However, unlike Dogpile it gives you the option to look at all results together, or separates them into 4 different sets of results:  http://www.cactisearch.com/


SearchMe:  My favourite though is this one, a visual search engine which displays the front page of each web site in your search list. As you scroll across the page each web page flicks over to the next. Each time you search, it also brings up category icons at the top of the page which you can click on to refine your search. This is a great one for students to use.



I have used this PPT by Kathy Schrock, called Wading Through the Web, for a number of years now. It is a good one to use with Yr 6-8 students to teach them about alternative search engines. You can save it and alter it to suit the topic the students are studying. I have also found that some of the links do not match the information exactly any more because the search engines have changed (e.g. Vivisimo now uses Clusty to search), so that’s another reason to download it and alter it to suit.

http://www.readwritethink.org/lesson_images/lesson983/presentation.ppt#289,12,Wading Through the Web 

There is also a printable handout to use with the PPT at this link:  http://www.readwritethink.org/lesson_images/lesson983/student.pdf