Searching Hawaii’s Web Space – Homegrown search engines keep it local and accurate

Yahoo!. AltaVista. HotBot. We’ve all heard of them. Some of the world’s most powerful search engines with web site URL counts in the millions. Where advanced, indexing and speedy query retrieval is key and localization is not. Where competition lies in who has the biggest, most comprehensive list of returns on search queries and not necessarily on accuracy.

Enter such sites like the Hawaii Catalogue of Web Pages, Hawaiian-Index and the Hawaii Home Page. Search engine web sites homegrown right here in the 50th State. Relatively accurate, extremely localized and best of all, plenty of Aloha (every site contained within each engine has a Hawaii tie).

Who better to create a web site containing Hawaii’s most creative and highly innovative Internet web pages than companies and individuals located here? Instant access to local online happenings, as well as direct contact with the technologically sound kama`aina, makes developing an accurate, Hawaii specific search engine locally a breeze.

Following is an excellent resource of local URLs that you can use to start your Hawaii search on such topics as ukuleles, poi, or the Iao Needle.

The Hawaii Catalogue of Web Pages, formerly known as Hawaii Connections, is created and run entirely by Bob Cunningham (although soon to change hands to CyberCom). With a Yahoo!-like, topically based infrastructure, the Hawaii Catalogue of Web Pages is very easy to navigate. And, with a current total of 10,350 listings, using the available search form will surely lead you to a Hawaii site of your liking. When I asked him if he utilizes “bot” technologies to search the individual sites for new pages within that site, embedded meta tags, recent updates, etc. (like how AltaVista and other search engines do), he said that the Hawaii Catalog of Web Pages “depends upon the recommendation of people who recommend URLs” (via an “Add URL” button). However, he does use these “bots” for automatic web site title retrieval and dead link checking. or

Probably one of the more popular Hawaii-based search sites is Hawaiian-Index, a web site whose slogan is “If It’s About Hawaii – It’s Here.” Utilizing a frame design for his web site, webmaster Dan Curran uses the hierarchical model of such sites like Yahoo! and Excite to present his link database. Curran estimates the number of entries at about 2 to 3 thousand, whose number fluctuates with daily removals (dead links) and additions. “In the early days I searched down links to add to the index. The site has become self fueling now, people submit their URLs and then they are screened for proper content and added to their respective directories.”

From the web site, the Hawaii Home Page describes itself as “a concerted effort to create a single entry point into the state of Hawaii for access to its various World Wide Web sites in the areas of business and commerce, education (Higher Ed and K-12), state and local government, the media, non-profit organizations, and also the visitor industry.” With ties with the University of Hawaii, the Hawaii Home Page had, at last count, 762 links total, 191 of which were educational. An easy to use search form appears right on the front page, making searching for your desired Hawaiian topic a cinch.

Another great source of Hawaii links is a site called Search Hawaii, who claims to be “the best way to find websites in Hawaii.” Heavily commercial in nature, Search Hawaii is a service from the Aloha from Hawaii Marketplace web site. Although relatively fewer search results appear as compared to the Hawaii Catalogue of Web Pages, Search Hawaii offers a “Power Search” option (developed by the OpenText Corporation) to explicitly narrow your query.

Six sites from the Mining Company round off the list of places to look online for Hawaii-based web sites. Here, each web site is run by an “expert” of that particular topic and then maintained every week, updating the links, as well as writing a new column. The uniquely Hawaiian topics at the Mining Company are Hawaii for Visitors, Hawaiian Culture, Honolulu/O`ahu, HI, Island of Hawaii, HI, Kauai, HI and Maui, HI.,,,,,

The best of the rest includes:

Now, your World Wide Web searches about Hawaii don’t have to be such a tangling process. Break free from the huge, often inaccurate results from them non-Hawaii search engines. Using local search engines for your local searches (on ukuleles, poi, the Iao Needle, and the like) shouldn’t be any problem at all. You just have to know where to look.


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