Monday, January 21

Google Custom Search For Open/Free Educational Resources!

Create a SEARCH ENGINE tailored to your needs!

Do you have a website or collection of sites you'd like to search over? With Google Custom Search Engine, you can create a search engine tailored to your needs, which can include one website, multiple websites, or specific webpages. In addition, you can host the search box and results on your own website, and customize the colors and branding to match your existing webpages.

Google Custom Search has both a FREE version (I am using this one!) and a Business Edition (Starts at $100 / year). Click here to compare the differences.

Since one of my passions is discovering open or free educational resources for higher education, I have created my own little customized search engine to make my search (and finding) more efficient and effective (I hope!), which currently includes 136 sites (Open CourseWare, Podcasts, Repositories, etc).

Click here to test my new Open/Free Educational Resources customized search engine. Please do not expect 'finding' miracles yet, but I suppose if I really find this tool useful, I will continue to add sites (a specific URLs), and fine tune the results using the 'Refinements' feature, which enables labelling (Can't Google just call it 'Tags'! I suppose they like to be different!) of specific sites or URLs.

Since this tool is so easy-to-learn and use, I believe (unless a better tool comes along! Any suggestions?) many other passionate educators around the world will begin (some have!) to create their own little customized search engines. Sooner or later we will find more customized search engines zooming in on all sorts of specific areas, including research, education, psychology, thinking, business, history, science, sports, etc. Oh, if I want to find resources on maths I will go here, and if I want to find resources on psychology I go there. What about robotics and teaching and learning, just go there! Yeah, it would be cool to have one mega search space with links (or checkboxes) to open/free educational resources, enabling us conveniently from one 'search box' to select what we want to search (e.g. Only resources on 'critical thinking'). If someone is creating something like that, I would love to participate!

Google seems to have found an answer to their increasingly garbage diluted generic search (according to my poor opinion!), and realized that we humans can play an effective role using our collective filtering intelligence to improve their search results. Google serves us with useful and easy-to-use tools, and we indirectly serve Google back (can even get paid!) by improving their search results. For a short period, I thought that Google was increasingly becoming an 'Imitator' like Microsoft. Perhaps I am wrong!

    Here are a few other customized Google search engines you might want to explore:

    • Edublogs Custom Search - Stephen Downes has created a customized search on Education weblogs and related sites (Currently 456 sites).
    • CS Curriculum Search - Helps you find teaching materials that have been published to the web by faculty from Computer Science (CS) departments around the world.
    • OpenDOAR - OpenDoar, a UK-based registry for open-access repositories has created a Custom Search Engine with their registrants' sites.
    • Real Climate - Provides expert opinions on the science of climate change.
    • Green Maven - This search engine emphases websites with Green and Social Values, as approved by a team of Green MBA editors.
    • Econ Search Engine - Search the contents of some 10,000 economics web sites.

    Click here to view more examples.

    WOW! Why don't you also perhaps explore this tool and create your own customized search engine for something that really interests you? I suppose I will be busy continuing to explore and enhance my own little Open/Free Educational Resources Search Engine :)

    1 comment:

    Unknown said...

    Thanks for sharing the info...