Research Clinic
supporting open source investigation

Searching for information Social media research
Finding people Archives - deleted information
Images, audio and video Business research
Domain lookup & tech tools Government
Specialist investigative tools Telecoms research
Maps and satellites News


Searching for websites

Search engines

Wolfram Alpha a "computational knowledge engine"

Yippy groups search results into subject clusters

Mashable's list of 140+ search engines

Make your own search engine Google allows you to define your own custom search

Secure searching

Encrypted Google helps hide your search terms from the sites you visit and your searching from prying eyes 

Duckduckgo searches the net but avoids search terms being revealed, user profiling, skewed personalised results

Start Page claims to be the world's most privacy-conscious search engine


Website directories and databases

Dmoz finds sites by subject - see also Vlib

Complete Planet lists databases (archived in 2014)



UK National Statistics see also, the Office of National Statistics, the Royal Statistical Society and international Statistics Societies


Other search tools

Search Engine Colossus lists search engines by country

Yandex is a Russian language-oriented search.

Baidu focuses on searching Chinese language sites

iTunes Instant find podcasts, apps, books, audio & video  by country

Data mining tools software that lets you extract and collate information from databases.


Social media tools


Facebook's membership directory

Findmyfbid finds a Facebook page's unique ID number

Researchclinic offers advice on using Facebook ID's and commands to create elaborate "Graph" searches

Inteltechniques, Graph Tips and Netbootcamp, Stalkscan and PeopleFindThor all offer Facebook Graph search generators.



Twitter's advanced search has some unique functionality

Google Twitter search (click on "cache" link to get recently deleted Tweets)

Twxplorer is a really cool search tool for current tweets, buzzwords and hashtags

Inteltechniques advanced Twitter searches and handy tools


Trends and hashtags

Trendsmap lets you zoom into a map and see current popular "trending" hashtags and keywords helps you find hashtags related to keywords



Tweetdeck Twitter's amazing monitoring tool. See also Twifferfall and Hootsuite


Analytics is a tool that analyses Twitter accounts

Tweepsect lists and sorts a Twitter user's follows, followers and mutual followings

Followerwonk compares the followings of Twitter users, analyzes a Twitter account by its followings and searches Twitter biogs

Mentionmap beautiful, graphical analysis tool looking at a Twitter user's associates

Fake follower test



Allmytweets lists all of a Twitter user's Tweet on one page (which can then be easily word searched with control +F)

Backtweets searches Twitter for Tweets containing links to web addresses

Twitter's user directory

Twellow a kind of Yellow Pages of Twitter users sorted by subject

TWDocs allows you to download Twitter data in XLS format



Inteltechniques helps identify Instagram followers and followees

Statflux - gives nice stats about Instagram users

Picodash - excellent geo-search for Insta posts and lots of info about users


Mapping social media posts

Echosec plots users' various social network posts onto a map and explores locations for content. Basic free and paid for Pro versions.

Banjo discover another cool tool that searches for social media content by area

Geosocialfootprint plots a Twitter user's Geotagged tweets onto a map

Jeffrey's EXIF viewer displays an images metadata and geolocation. See also gbimg and GeoSetter


Other social network related


Social Searcher searches the main social networks for content. 

Social Network Metasearch Inteltechniques performs a Google keyword search across various social media site pages

Chromefans has a useful site which helps you find and research Google+ accounts saves Tweets etc. to future proof them

Social Mention a fantastic tool for searching social networks and other online community sites

Intelltechniques has one of the best collections of OSINT search tools. Highly recommended


People finders

Pipl free site searches social media by username, email address. See also their advanced, raw data API

Spokeo - paid site, searches over 60 social networks, dating sites by email, user name etc.

FamilyTreenow - genealogy site that doubles as a people research tool and provides a lot of free personal information about U.S. citizens and their associates

FamilySearch - free genealogy site courtesy of the Mormons

Tracesmart is the people and business investigation tool provided by NexisLexis

192 searches the phone book and electoral roll, going back to 2001

Cameo flexible electoral roll research. You can get an ID via Research Gateway

Know UK search essential & exclusive sources eg. Debretts, Who's Who

Phonebooks Infobel brings you a database of online telephone directories

Knowem, Checkusernames & Namechk allow you to see where a username pops up on social networks

Peoplesmart & peoplefindinfo for US database people searching. TLO offer an amazing US people finding service.

TELDIR  Infobel finds telephone directories around the world

Whitepages is a great resource for searching and reverse searching US numbers

Intelltechniques has one of the best collections of people research search tools. Highly recommended


Archives - search the past

The Wayback Machine find websites, software, documents, audio and video from the past

Webcitation an alternative to the Wayback Machine. archives webpages, tweets etc.

Memento is an archive metasearch

Cached Pages finds Google's saved copies of web pages. See also Yahoo, Bing & Gigablast caches

Screenshots gives you current and former screengrabs of web pages

Search local archives Find local historical information

UK National Archives British government documents and web pages

Google Maps has historic views available in its Street View feature

Terraserver has historical satellite shots


Image, Audio & Video related

Google reverse image search clicking on the camera in the search box lets you search the web for pages containing images. See also Tineye

Jeffrey's EXIF viewer displays an images metadata and geolocation. See also gbimg and GeoSetter

My Pics Map view Flickr posts by location

Fotoforensics handy for verification, this site takes a forensic look at an image's pixels and exif metadata

Thedatapack lets you download high resolution Instagram images

Google Video finds videos on various sources including youtube, liveleak and aol. See also OVGuide

Midomi identifies music but you need to be able to sing into your computer's mic! Otherwise, Shazzam on your iPhone

YouTube Convert allows you to grab and save videos from YouTube

Youtube data viewer - a verification tool from Amnesty International. See,, & for more on verification.

Business research

Open Corporates The indispensible company search. Records of over 125 million companies worldwide

Companies House provides free UK company and director info . See also Duedil, Bizdb and Company Check

The Investigative Dashboard provides links to international official registers that help you investigate companies. See also their business document search

Intl Business Registers provides links to company registries in different countries

Tracesmart is the people and business investigation tool provided by NexisLexis

Dun and Bradstreet (paid) provide excellent international company information. So do specialist services like Edgar Online & TLO

Arachnys paid site that searches a huge array of sources in difficult to research countries.

Patents find trade mark and inventors details. See also, the UK Intellectual property office

Domain name, IP research and Analytics codes

Check domain name registration

Domaintools performs a "Whois" search is a nice alternative


Search for domains by address, phone number etc,

Whoisology (paid service) allows you to search for domains by address, name, phone number etc.

Whoismind which searches by email

Google domain owner search - key word search across various whois sites


Whois history

Domainhistory is a free service that gives you previous whois info


Analytics codes (e.g. Google ad-words)

Spyonweb provides links betweeb sites with embedded codes, so does Analyzeid


Advanced tools

Pentest Tools finds hidden subdomains. See also and Robtex

IP-adress "Reverse IP", lists domains it believes are sharing a server. See also domainbigdata (recommended) spyonweb and webhosting


UK Government sites and Municipal related The British government website directory

FOIA Requests  See who is requesting what under the Freedom of Information Act. See which datasets you can order

They Work For You Political research. Investigate your MP!

Land registry Search property and ownership details in the UK

Intellectual property office Search registered designs. See also, UK trademarks worldwide patent search

Planning permission decisions Search by local authority

Search local archives Find local historical information

Find a local MP Search by post code. See also "write to them"

UK National Archives British government documents and webpages

British & Irish Legal Search Search UK & Irish cases and laws. See Trustonline for CCJ's

British charities  Search the UK Charity Commissioner's register

UK National Statistics See also, the Office of National Statistics, the Royal Statistical Society and international Statistics Societies


US Government

Search Systems
Free directory of open source databases in the US.
The US government web portal

The US Securities and Exchange commission

Bureau of Labor statistics

The US Census Bureau 
- loads of quick stats on different states.


International Government Information

CIA World Factbook
Quick facts and profiles of countries around the world. See also, Nationsonline

The Investigative Dashboard provides links to international official registers that help you investigate companies.

International Statistics Societies

The United Nations see also, this handy directory of UN organisation sites

Wango finds NGO's based all over the world the official website of the European Union

The World Bank data by country




Specialist investigative tools

OSINT Framework A wonderful, graphical interactive checklist of all information gathering sites and tools.

FOIA Requests  See who is requesting what under the Freedom of Information Act. See which datasets you can order.

Test your proxy See if it leaks your real IP address. This can happen when you visit a site with Flash & Java applets.

Online Virus Scan Free online check for the latest viruses - no need to install any software.

Pastebin search by Inteltechniques

Tracesmart is the people and business investigation tool provided by NexisLexis

US Background Check for personal details, addresses & criminal records of US citizens

P.I. Toolbox (Australia) a great set of links for anyone investigating Australian companies

Analyse email headers! see also whatismyip ip-address, reversemx and network-tools

Readnotify Displays the IP address of an email recipient. See also Didtheyreadit

Private Search Duckduckgo doesn't track your usage. Neither does

Tor Project Anonymizing software that also provides a way onto the Dark Web

The Hidden Wiki A portal to the Dark Web that you can use (non-anonymously) without having to install Tor. See also for mirrors and .onion links

Search the Dark Web via Google

Grab an IP Address ReadNotify sends an email which reveals the I.P. Address of the recipient. See also Sitemeter, Whatistheirip & myiptest

Get free webspace from and get IP tracking code from statcounter (for help using this, contact the Inv Hub)

Intellitamper scans a website looking for linked and hidden folders and files. See also Black Widow and Foca

Wireshark Reveals the data flying around the network you are connected up to

Creepy Software that plots geotagged Tweets, Flickr and Instagram posts onto maps. Tip: post clusters indicate significant locations


Thepaperboy finds newspapers across the world

A great way to link directly to online streaming radio broadcasts. See also vTuner

News Archives
List of online newspapers with searchable archives. For early articles, try Google's news archive search

News Now
Plugs you directly into the latest breaking news. Good UK representation. See also Google News

Lexis Nexis
Fantastic news article archive, but paid subscription only. UK users use this link. See also
BBC News for breaking news related to UK stories


Maps and satellite

Google Maps
Provides maps, satellite images, directions, landmarks, businesses and, uniquely, "Live View" shots from ground level across the US. See also Bing & Yahoo

Instant street view - a great alternative way of using Google's Street View tool

Terraserver - provides historical satellite images

Geohack sources
Nice list of satellite & map sources around the world

Historical UK Aerial Photos
See what your house looked like in the 1940's. See also Britain from above and Getmapping

Find geo-coordinates, copy them and use with Twitter's geocode: search term to find Tweets from that location

Track Shipping
MarineTraffic shows the progress & routes of ships, plotted onto maps

Track Aircraft
FlightAware shows the progress & routes of aircraft, plotted onto maps



Truecaller  - a scarily good phone number looker-upper see also, whocalld, opencnam and Pipl's API

TelDir  Infobel finds telephone directories around the world

Whitepages is a great resource for searching and reverse searching US numbers

Find someone by mobile phone network See also hlr-lookup and Phone Validator for US cells and this tool which dials a US cell number anonymously and records the response!

Find a Skype user's IP address - trace an IP address to a Skype username with this tool and find a user name via an email address with this tool.



Apps, Plug-ins and software

Chrome plug-ins

Adblock stops adverts and other annoying scripts

Hidemyass hides your IP address from many (but not all) websites

Fusker reveal numerically named images hiding on a server

Jeffrey's EXIF viewer see hidden data in images

Domaintools WHOIS see who owns a domain name

Awesome screenshot allows you to grab a screenshot on an entire webpage and save it to your computer

Tineye right click on an image to search for it on the web

View image right click on an image as view it on its own

Time travel view previous incarnations of a webpage

Wayback Chrome finds earlier versions of a page, using the Wayback Machine

Find more Chrome extensions


Firefox plug-ins coming soon

Apps coming soon

Software coming soon


(c) Paul Myers 2016. The views expressed on this site are the author's own. The links do not represent an endorsement.
altered banner image (c) Jan Krömer, used with gratitude via creative commons license