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-- by Lenny Bailes
WebCompass 2.0 is a truly industrial-strength offline search tool. It covers more search engines than its competitors, allows more complex queries and downloads complete page links. The program also produces informative search summaries and can organize an HTML search database with cross-referenced topics.
Version 2.0 dispenses with the Quarterdeck Web Server and its 20MB query database, and the result is a more usable product that retains the older version's sophisticated indexing capability. You can use the New Topic Wizard to create new search topics easily, or perform queries against the included database that covers entertainment, arts, sports, geography, education, science, computing, public affairs and personal topics. WebCompass offers 38 preconfigured search sites arranged in eight categories, but these resources are highly modifiable. You can edit the search resources to delete engines, to rearrange the categories or to add other search sites.
WebCompass' superior information management tools distinguish it from the other dedicated offline search tools we tested; the program has an excellent set of options for offline organization of retrieved material. It can also scan the content of downloaded pages and group or cross-index the information into subcategories. WebCompass uses its ability to intelligently analyze page contents to create useful one-paragraph summaries of each downloaded link. The built-in scheduling agent can search the Web to update topics on an hourly, daily or weekly basis, or at other specified intervals.
WebCompass can't retrieve multiple copies of the same page over time and highlight or extract changes in content--one of the few site-capture features it lacks. NetAttaché Pro can do this, but that program lacks WebCompass' sophisticated support for organizing retrieved information.