A customized Google search engine allows you to create a focused version of the main Google search page that can be used to help steer your students towards specific web-accessible resources. For example, say you wanted your students to research “Animals of Africa.” If you were to use the main Google search engine (http://www.google.com) to begin the research process you would get a vast number of “hits” from sites all across the world – using a customized Google search engine will allow you to narrow down these hits and focus the results of your search on a few, pre-selected sites that you have deemed to be authoritative and reputable.
Here’s how you can get started:
- Visit http://www.google.com/cse/
- Click on “Create a Custom Google Search Engine”
- Provide the information requested, including a title for your new search engine (“Animals of Africa”) and a description.
- Provide a listing of websites that you would like your new search engine to use. For example, you can specify that your search engine should only use the African Wildlife Foundation (“http://www.awf.org/”) and National Geographic (“http://www.nationalgeographic.com/”). You can specify multiple sites by placing them on their own lines.
- When you are finished, agree to the terms of service and click the Next button.
- Click Done. You’ll now be given a link to your search engine. You can provide this link to your students via your blog or website. Here’s a link to the “Animals of Africa” search engine that I described in this post.
- You can also embed your search into your blog using the standard embedding techniques we have covered so far. Here’s an example:
- You can always go back to the main custom search engine page (http://www.google.com/cse/) to update your engine to include additional resources at a later date.