17 Custom Search Engines


In this series of exercises, you're going to construct different versions of a custom search engine for your term project. Before you start, think of at least two or three URLs that it should search. Use these same URLs in each of the following. In each one of these cases, you will be able to go back and revise the list of URLs, so don't obsess about getting a complete and correct list here at the beginning.

Also, when you look at the custom search engines that have been created in these tools below, you should take advantage of being able to see the list of sites that these tools access (or deny) — you can add these sites to the sites you already know about when you create your own custom search engine.

After you have completed this series of exercises, you will be prepared to create a custom search engine for your term project. If you choose to use Google Custom Search Engine, you will need to embed the tool within your wiki; if you use any of the other tools, you will just include a link to the tool. I will definitely expect some type of custom search engine delivered with your term project.


  1. Use an existing search engine
    1. Go to Topicle
    2. Enter [sports search] into the search box
    3. The search engine should appear right below this
      • Notice that it is a Google Custom Search Engine.
      • Notice that it searches (at this writing) three URLs.
    4. Type [detroit lions] (or whatever sports terms you would like) into the “Sports search” search box (and press enter)
      • When using FireFox (on a Mac), no search results appeared for me
      • When using Safari (on a Mac), this worked perfectly
    5. It is possible to provide a direct link to this search engine.
  2. Other uses
    • You can search for an appropriate search engine by placing your cursor in the search box at the top of the page, and then start to type your search terms. Just like in the Google or Yahoo search engines, matching terms will appear below the search box.
    • You can also browse by name by clicking on the appropriate tab at the top of the page.
  3. Create your own search engine
    1. Click on “Create Engine” on the right side of the home page
    2. Fill in two pieces of information
      • A descriptive name for your search engine.
      • Add the URLs to the second box
    3. Click on the “Create” button.
    4. You're done. You can now use and link to this search engine.

Eurekster Swicki

Read this article describing why swickis are different than other search engines.

  1. Register and login to Eurekster.
  2. Use an existing search engine.
    1. Go to the ReadWriteWeb swicki.
    2. Notice the tag cloud below the search box.
    3. Click on “Best image search engines”
    4. Now, in the results, notice the voting mechanism and the ability (on the right) either to add the search to your browser toolbar or to add the code for the widget to your own Web site.
  3. Watch the swicki video tour to get a better idea of how to create a swicki. This has no audio — it's just text and screen captures. (Very useful.)
  4. Following those instructions, create a swicki for your project.


This is a simple tool to use and has a large user base. Read this article describing why you should use Rollyo.

  1. Register and login at RollYO.
  2. Now explore the searchrolls that have already been created.
    • Be sure to try out the search box for rollyos. Search for “business” — there are bunches of custom search engines. Many of them fairly useless.
  3. Create your own searchroll. For now keep the searchroll private. Later, if and when you improve the search engine or want to incorporate it into your project, then you can make it public.

Google Custom Search engine

Google CSEs can be embedded in your own Web page or can be accessed via a link from your Web page (like all the previous tools).

  1. Go to Google Custom Search Engine and sign in.
  2. Look at the following:
  3. Let's look at my email alerts search engine.
    • This search engine adds ["email alerts"|"e-mail alerts"|"email alert"|"e-mail alert"] to every query. So if you put [science] in the search engine text box, it actually ends up searching for [science "email alerts"|"e-mail alerts"|"email alert"|"e-mail alert"].
  4. Now look at my nutrition & fitness search engine.
    • The benefit of this search engine is that it looks through 31 scientific nutrition journals for results.
  5. Create your own search engine.
  6. You can embed the search engine in a page within your own wiki. All I did for the following was to put the code created by Google within an embed tag.

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