The key to fact-finding is developing an answer phrase that would appear on your ideal page. As Alta Vista and Google index every word on every web page, and let you "search for a phrase", they are ideal for answering this type of question.

Many times, however, the answers to these factual questions can be quickly found with a reference book at your local library. In addition, library books are usually selected in part for their accuracy and "authority". If you get a fact from a web page, make sure the source of that web page is reliable.

This page was created by Scott Nicholson

Copyright 1996, 1997, 2000, 2002 by Scott Nicholson.

Searching for a fact

The first place to ask a question is AskJeeves. Type your question in the box below, press Ask Jeeves, then choose the question most closely related to your need. AskJeeves will then send you to the single best Web site for that question. If that site doesn't answer your question, come back here and continue down the page.

Got a question? Just type it in and click "Ask."

In order to find a fact, you need to think about your question. Think of a phrase that would appear in a sentence that had the answer to your question.
Q: What is the national debt per person in the U.S.?
A: The national debt per capita is...
Q: What musica has run the longest on Broadway?
A: The longest-running broadway musical is...

Then use Alta Vista, a full-text search tool. Type your answer phrase in quotes (i.e. "national debt per capita") and select submit. If you don't find anything, come back and try another form of the answer or remove the quotes.

AltaVista   Find this:     

You can also try the same phrase search in Google.


If this fails, you should consider contacting the reference desk at your local library for further help. Despite popular belief, many things are more easily found in a library than they are on the Internet.

If this doesn't help, you can either go back to the main AskScott page or ask a human.