We've established (several times) that electronics.stackexchange.com is not for shopping questions.
But, apart from searching in the usual big catalogues (Digi-Key, Mouser, Farnell, etc.) what is a good way to find parts?
Can anyone recommend good parametric searches from vendor websites?
As a hobbyist - should I be contacting my local distributors directly?
Are there online forums devoted to helping with shopping questions? ("Where can I buy part X in location Y with tolerance Z?")
(This being a meta-shopping question I've raised it on meta, although it's technically off topic, I guess)