Metasearch on the Cheap: More on Google CSE

As I continue to explore http://www.google.com/coop/cse/, I’m finding it even more useful. Thinking of the example of Google Scholar, I realized that I could set up a search engine to search across many of my IP-validated resources. Essentially what I’m finding: if Google can see it, it can be included.

Some things I have been able to add:

  • Publisher websites such as Springerlink.com, Blackwell-Synergy.com, bmj.com
  • Individual journals such as nejm.org and annals.org
  • MD Consult – a proprietary database, but visible to Google
  • Free sites such as PubMed , TRIP, Bandolier, National Guidelines Clearinghouse

Fulltext sources I could not add because Google can’t see into them:

  • Proquest
  • StatRef
  • Ebscohost

My tip for finding out what can be added:

  1. Go to Google Advanced Search
  2. Put a common medical word in the All These Words box (I’m using gastric)
  3. Put the domain portion of a URL, such as nejm.org, in the Domain Name box
  4. Click the Google Search button. If I get results, I know it will work in Google CSE.

Some advantages to setting up a Google custom search engine with IP-validated content: it’s free; patrons are comfortable with the interface; the results list links to full-text in one or two steps.

Disadvantages: no “controlled vocabulary” – need to remember to search British and US spellings (esophagus/oesophagus); doesn’t include all the resources we buy.

And here’s a tip for setting up the Google CSE box on your web page: Google’s “control panel” for your custom search engine includes a page called “Code.” When you copy and paste the “Search box code” on your internet or intranet page, be sure to add www.google.com to the Form Action section after the http:// . Otherwise … it just doesn’t work.

Correction: On the code page, rather than adding http://www.google.com to the Form Action section as I mentioned above, it’s simpler to select  “On a Google hosted page” in the Search Results Hosting section.

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