Linux.com have an article about APT-based utilities, that remain largely unknown to desktop users. Some of these utilities offer a range of functionality far beyond those of the basic tools.
Read it here
These functions include setting up package sources (apt-cdrom and apt-spy), querying package information (apt-cache and apt-rdepends), extracting the latest list of bugs associated with a package (apt-listbugs), and receiving automatic updates (apt-watch). Many can be run from any account; you need the root account only for the final stages of configuration or the installation and removal of packages.