Saturday, February 21, 2009

Build Your Own Search Engine

Instructors, are you frustrated that your students aren’t using academic and authoritative web sites for their school work? We all know that the ability to critically evaluate information is a vital skill in the 21st century, yet students still struggle. The importance of this skill is recognized in the DCCCD’s Core Curriculum, Richland College’s proposed Institutional Learning Outcomes, and the Association of College and Research Libraries’ Information Literacy Competency Standards.
You can give you’re students a push in the right direction by building your own search engine. You’ll know your students are using credible websites because you've already evaluated and selected the sites they searched. It’s actually much easier than it sounds thanks to several free custom search engine providers. Visit the Search Engine Showdown for a list and comparison of the major search builders.
My favorite is Google Custom Search. Its based on Google’s popular search database, provides helpful documentation, and it allows collaboration. For example, the Undergraduate Research Engine is a Google Custom Search Engine that is being built by several librarians. You can even embed your Google Custom Search engine into your eCampus course.
If you’re interested in learning more about Google Custom Search, I’m teaching a workshop on Monday, March 30, 2009 from 1:30 to 3:00 pm in L126. Contact to register.

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