the world’s wierdest search engine

I have been playing with the _Encyclopaedia Britannica_ which is available online to the ratepayers of Essex, along with a phenomenal number of other goodies, such as the OED, much of the Lexis-Nexis newspaper database, the DNB, and the _Grove Dictionary of Music_ ($2,235.00 to you, sir, from Amazon, or £195.00 a year + VAT to read online).
In particular, I wanted to know about stones in the salivary ducts, one of which, my doctor told me this morning, is the cause of my present distress. On this topic, _EB_ is less informative than “wikipedia,”: and both are worse than the “Merck Manual”: online. But the _Encyclopaedia_ also boasts of its links to “selected web sources”, and here things get very strange. The search page gave me 8,317 hits on %(sane) “Salivary glands”: % of the top ten, two lead to 404 pages on WebMD, a pretty useless site even when it works. The other eight go to

* “Facts about the Åland Islands”:
* Salaries in the state of Western Australia
* “a Page about military history”: at the University of Texas, in Austin
* some WTO discussions about sanitation
* _Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews_ magazine
* Some information about “the eland”: from the African Wildlife Foundation
* and a 1999 press release from the American Federation of Teachers suggesting that “Teacher Salary boost is one way to stem teacher shortages”:

When _EB’s_ editors fulminate against the web, can it be because they use their own search engine?

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