Small Demons is a new search-engine / Pinterest mashup, allegedly for books and literature.

I tried it with the name of the British city “Stoke-on-Trent”. The top three in “People” did include musicians Lemmy and Robbie Williams (both born and raised in the city), but they can hardly be called literary giants. I would at least have expected to see Arnold Bennett up there at No.1. But he’s nowhere to be found.

The “Books” tab of the results was even worse, with nothing relevant in the first page of results. No Arnold Bennett, Charles Tomlinson, Arthur Berry, Sabine Baring-Gould, A.N. Wilson, Jonathan Taylor, Stephen Foster, or even H.G. Wells (for his macabre story “The Cone” set amid the Stoke iron furnaces).

Then I tried the “Places” tab which gave me… no results at all.

Puzzled, I tried with another term, “Charing Cross” which is a famous place in London. I would have expected to see the classic book 84, Charing Cross Road high in the results. But… nothing.

Small Demons looks very pretty, and is apparently backed by most major publishers with a huge database, but it doesn’t seem at all useful for researchers.