Metasearch on the Cheap: More on Google CSE

As I continue to explore, 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,,
  • Individual journals such as and
  • 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, 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 to the Form Action section after the http:// . Otherwise … it just doesn’t work.

Correction: On the code page, rather than adding 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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: