17 Custom Search Engines

We discuss custom search engines, and how you can build your own.

Class held on 11/03/2008. Student notes are available on this page. Possible questions are available on this page.

Class structure

  1. Go through “At beginning of class” information
  2. Explain what custom search engines are
  3. Work on exercises

At beginning of class

  1. No new grades
  2. Be sure to vote tomorrow.
  3. The exam is one week from today (i.e., November 10).
  4. Check the class notes page to see who is taking notes today and who is coming up with questions.
  5. Go over any other announcements you might have missed since last class.
  6. Check the start page for any blogs you might be interested in that you might have missed.
  7. There are three more opportunities to write a blog entry.
  8. Let's look over the upcoming industry updates.

My notes

  1. What is it
    • A search tool that (usually) uses Google's search engine (as the back end) but that you can instruct the following ways:
      • Look in a certain list of URLs
      • Avoid a certain list of URLs
      • Append a set of terms to any user-supplied query
  2. How can it be used
    • Its own Web page
    • An iGoogle widget
    • Embedded in random Web page
  3. Why would you use it
    • Captures creator's knowledge of the field

Blog topics

  1. Describe how useful or not Google Custom Search Engine is for your site.
  2. Describe how you chose the sites to include in your custom search engine.
  3. Compare and contrast 2 (or more) different custom search engines.


  1. Topicle
  2. Eurekster Swicki
  3. Rollyo
  4. Google Custom Search Engine
  5. BuildASearch
  6. Yahoo Search BOSS — Build your Own Search Service
  7. 3 Guides to FireFox Quick Searches (Smart Keywords)
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