The intertubes are steaming with all kinds of documents and information that you can use as reference or guidelines for your projects, presentations, homework, research and what not. You can search for these documents and data using Google or any other search engine of your choice (ex. PDF Search Engine), however the results displayed as normal web search results might not be as intuitive as you want. Just try Outwit for such purposes and you will see what I mean.
Available as a Firefox addon and thus available for Windows, Linux and Mac Outwit is a web collection engine that lets you search for documents, images and other kinds of information online and displays the results in a very Windows Explorer like interface.
Head over to the Outwit webpage and install the Firefox addon. There are separate addons for Outwit Hub, Outwit Docs and Images. You can then access the Outwit interface via the toolbar button or the tools menu.
Consider Outwit Docs for example. Once you open it up its pretty intuitive, type what you want to search in the search box and you will see results from Internet and your local files. You can check/uncheck the type of files you want to search for. Found the file you were looking for? Great, just right click and choose to open it up or save it or whatever you would want to do with it.
You can have multiple searches going on simultaneously (reminiscent of something like Limewire) and the results would continue to increase when more such files are discovered that meet your search criteria.
Then there is a basket (strangely called the “catch”) which is like a temporary holding place for the documents (your catch) that you find interesting and would like to download later in bulk.
So much for documents, there is a lot more you can do. Outwit Images that lets you search for images in a similar fashion. Even more powerful tool however is the Outwit Hub. Where as Outwit docs and Outwit images search for documents and images respectively, Outwit Hub can be used to search for a variety of information types.
Outwit Hub is used for information extraction from webpages. Fire it up and then enter the search query or URL of a webpage. Outwit Hub will then show you different kinds of data that can be extracted from the webpage. Click on the view type on the left hand side pane and you can view the page, all the images on the page, links, email addresses, text, rss feeds found and so on. Then there are the data extraction tools which allow you to extract data from tables, lists and other data structures on the webpage.
These tools have a great potential if you are looking for data or documents of any kind. Granted, you can always copy and paste and search for them on Google but you can do so much more with tools like these. A lot more flexibility, more control and ease of use. You can for example extract the data from a table and export it as excel spreadsheet or as SQL statements in just a few clicks from within Outwit Hub.
Do you know of any such tools or extensions you use for similar purposes? Mention them in comments, we would love to hear and check them out!
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