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Using a Google Custom Search Engine (CSE). Sally Kuhlenschmidt January 9, 2009. In this session you will: . Explore ideas for using a Google custom search engine (CSE), including one successful example. Get an overview of how to create your own CSE. What is a CSE?.

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Using a Google Custom Search Engine (CSE)

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using a google custom search engine cse

Using a Google Custom Search Engine (CSE)

Sally Kuhlenschmidt

January 9, 2009

in this session you will
In this session you will:
  • Explore ideas for using a Google custom search engine (CSE), including one successful example.
  • Get an overview of how to create your own CSE.
what is a cse
What is a CSE?
  • a tailored search using Google's technology,
  • which restricts search results based on websites you specify,
  • Sample:
why bother
Why bother?
  • Narrows search to a subset of the Internet that you choose.
    • E.g., benchmarks, field specific
  • Most “hits” are valuable.
  • Assures a particular quality in websites searched
    • E.g., only peer-reviewed, only HBCUs, member
instructional uses
Instructional Uses
  • Provide quality websites in your area for students to use
  • Instruct students on “quality.”
    • Have students create their own custom search
    • Contrast “good” CSE w/ ”bad” CSE
  • Select “Case” websites for investigating issues, e.g., Fortune 500 businesses
professional uses
Professional Uses
  • Search your personal bookmarks
  • Search benchmark institutions
  • Research on websites (e.g., X vs Y type of sites)
  • Alumni or advisee websites
  • Professional organization—websites of members
fund raising
Fund raising—
  • W/permission from local authorities
  • A student group or unit may set up a CSE and permit advertising. Proceeds go into the unit’s “pot” or into a charity.
steps for simple cse
Steps for Simple CSE
  • Google Account
  • Create CSE
  • Enter formatted URLs
  • Use is only you – by accessing your Google Account
1 google account
1. Google Account
  • Try various browsers if one doesn’t work. (Mozilla had some problems).
    • Sign In (upper right)…Create an account.
add cse to your account
Add CSE to your account
  • Upper left: More ….Even More….Custom Search.
  • Option to create new one or manage current (in small print under Create New…)
2 create cse
2. Create CSE
  • Complete the 1 page form.

Do a simple one first, 4-6 URLs.

*Read the Tips on Formatting URLs. Documentation is to the left.

3 enter formatted urls
3. Enter formatted URLs
  • No “http://” Add *
    •* to get everything beginning with
    • only gives that single page.
  • You can exclude subparts of websites
    • See formatting rules.
returning later
Returning later
  • Login…Upper left: More ….Even More….Custom Search.
  • Option to create new one or manage current (in small print under Create New…) (My Search Engines)
managing your cse
Managing Your CSE
  • Options
    • Statistics
    • Delete– destroys the whole CSE
    • Control Panel -(change settings.)
      • Aka Edit this Search Engine
4 for you only
4. For you only
  • Who can access?
  • Only you right now and only from your Google Account.
  • Volunteer (contacts you)
  • Contributor (you invite)
    • Max 100 invites. No limit on # contributors
    • They need a Google account
considerations of collaboration
Considerations of Collaboration
  • The websites Cr “sites” are tied to Cr’s account but use your key identifier.
    • If Cr uses same refinement label as you—it gets added in that category.
    • If Cr quits, Cr websites go too.
    • If Cr rejoins, I think you get the websites back.
  • VERY easy to quit collaborating-one click. There is No“Are you sure?”
sharing your cse w the world
Sharing Your CSE w/the World

Place code in a website

  • Control Panel…Code
  • Copy code for Search box
  • Optional: Copy code for Search results
    • Problem: Internet Explorer security question with each page
  • Paste in your page

Add item.

Select html button,

Paste in code and


  • Results are flush left.
  • Purposes for CSE
  • Creating a simple CSE
  • Formatting of URLs & the CSE
  • Collaboration issues
  • Sharing it via BB or other website
what if my collection of urls gets really big
What if my collection of URLs gets really big?
  • And if I’d like the user to be able to “refine” his/her search in specific subcategories?
steps for large cse
Steps for Large CSE
  • Plan
    • Decide on objectives, criteria
      • May need alias email for account
    • Gather, organize, & format URLs in Excel or Access
  • Create CSE (Google account)
    • Place ‘CSE label’ into URL file
    • Upload URLs to CSE
1 plan a objectives
1. Plan: a. Objectives
  • Write your objectives
  • Write your criteria for including a site.
  • Major subcategories? (refinement labels)
  • Do you need an alias e-mail? Might you “hand over” this CSE to another?
plan b gather organize format urls
Plan: b. Gather organize & format URLS
  • Goal: .txt file (tsv or tab delimited) with the URL’s
  • How?
    • By hand in Notepad – not recommended
    • Excel or Access, passed through Notepad
    • XML, OPML format is also possible.
2 create cse26
2. Create CSE

Once you have your URL file, create your CSE and upload a txt version of that file—see subsequent notes.

Make the CSE available as above and enjoy!


The next 6 slides in the presentation provide

A link to a website with template URL files for you and a link to a utility for converting Favorites to txt, and

Specific suggestions and advice on using the files with Google CSE.

http www wku edu teaching services html
  • Save “Excel” txt file to desktop.
  • Open Excel.
  • Open text file
  • Options: Tab Delimited, Text qualifier {none}
  • Save as simplest txt file.
in access more control
In Access (more control)
  • Sample
  • Work from the Query (no primary key). Enter URLs etc.
  • File Export… ‘As Text File’
  • Options: Delimited, tab, Field names 1st row, Text qualifier {none}
  • To Notepad:
    • Change field names to Label (not Label2)-first row, don’t lose tabs.
    • Don’t “clean” data even though it looks messy.
url file explained
URL File Explained
  • First label is the CSE label (e.g., _cse_sm5wromxy3).
  • Other labels are “refinements” (next slide)
  • Score means how much weight to give a page. 1.0 is top.
  • Comments – notes to yourself. Just DON’T use tabs in those notes or you throw off the file.
  • Date format: 20060504 (Doesn’t show)
  • Second and later labels can be “refinements” aka “refinement labels” or “labels”
  • Short
  • Keep total number relatively small, 4-10.
  • *After you have uploaded your file,
    • go to the Refinement tab and “add” each label (yes, even though you uploaded the file with them).
cse control panel advanced
CSE Control Panel…Advanced
  • Upload your file.
    • All CSEs for an account are in the same file
    • The CSE label in your file (e.g., _cse_sm5wromxy3 found at the Advanced tab) is what sorts URLs into different CSEs.
    • Can upload multiple files if different file names (e.g., different terms of a class)
  • Can Download a copy too.
what about later uploads
What about later “uploads”?
  • Each upload is treated as a “new” thing.
    • Includes everything in the file—even if it is an exact duplicate of a prior website.
  • Deleting
    • If you delete the sites individually under the Site tab, the file still displays under the Advanced tab.
    • You can delete the uploaded file under the Advanced tab & start fresh.
  • In the Sites tab, sites seem to be listed by order of file uploaded and then alphabetically. I never use the Site tab. I always work from my Access file and replace the old.
  • Example
  • Simple CSE
  • Large CSE
    • Planning
    • Excel vs Access