Information Today (2012)

copyright 2012 by Nicholas G. Tomaiuolo, M.L.S., Elihu Burritt Library, Central Connecticut State University

 Nick Tomaiuolo's Custom Search Engine Examples

Below you will find several examples of custom search engine deployment (there are three additional custom search engines examples on this page, so please check those out also). The topics might be popular at a public or academic library. Three utilities were used: Google Custom Search Engine, Gigablast, Rollyo, and Swicki.

New! -- See this page for an example of Google Custom Search's implementation of auto-completion, which was added in May 2010.

Important: the first 3 search engines were all created to search the same subject area (Art Education), and all three search engines were created using the same Web sites (which are listen in the Google Custom Search first example). Yet each engine retrieves radically different results.

Please give each example a few test drives.

Art Education Web Search  (Google CSE)

Art Education Swicki Search

Art Education Gigablast Search

Health Resources (Rollyo -- Red Interface)

Resources for Sports Fans (Google CSE -- 2 contrasting interfaces)

What's in a Word? (definitions, etc., Rollyo -- Black Interface)

Art Education Web Search

note: this is an example of Google Custom Search; this interface shows the results on a Google hosted page

Details: Intended for use by art students and art teachers, this custom search uses, ArtsEdge (Kennedy Center), the Education Department at the Getty Museum, the Study and Research pages at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Art Education Association, Artswork at Arizona State University, Child Care & Early Education Research Connections database, and Professor Christopher Witcombe's (Sweet Briar College) Art History site.

Art Education Swicki Custom Search

note: compare results from this search engine with the results from the Google Custom Search above and Gigablast below.

Keep in mind that the Swicki was originally created to include the same sites that were specified in the Google CSE above -- but Swicki's search retrieves innumerable hits from sites that were not included in the original list used to create the search.

The point of the Swicki search is the user "votes" on the results and this helps "train" the search engine.  The concept is good, but its execution is much less than optimal.

Also, the words/phrases in the tag cloud were furnished by the end-user/creator.

Grab this swicki from

Art Education Custom Search using Gigablast

note: compare results from this search engine with the results from the Google Custom Search above and Swicki above. Are the results less precise? More precise? About the same?

Keep in mind that this Gigablast custom search was originally created to include the same sites that were specified in the Google CSE above and the Swicki search above.

Health Resources

note: This custom search engine was built at Rollyo. Using this option will take you to the customized "Health Resources" search at the Web site. Alternatively, you can place the Rollyo search box on your own Web page, as I have done below. Note that I haven't yet found a way to customize the search interface. Users need to pull the menu down and select the "Health Resources" search to engage the customized search.


Details: this custom search engine is using WebMD, MedlinePlus, PubMed, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web sites. Bear in mind that Rollyo sprinkles sponsored links throughout the search results.

 Resources for Sports Fans

note: This is another example of Google Custom Search. When searched, this gadget opens a new window to display results.

 And here is the same "Sports" custom search rendered by another Google interface -- here your search results will display right on this page. Give it a try!


Details: Fans of professional baseball, basketball, football, golf, and hockey could use this custom engine. It searches, Sports Illustrated, and, as well as Yahoo! Sports, NBS Sports,,, and


note: this is another Rollyo custom search; the database is comprised of several free online dictionaries including Tiscali's Dictionary of Difficult Words, the Urban Dictionary, and Users need to open the pull down menu and select the "Words and Meanings" option to search the custom list of sites. Of course, you can also go to its location at the Rollyo Web site. (Note that Rollyo sprinkles sponsored links throughout the search results.)

Click for More Custom Search Engine Examples

Have a question or comment about the book or these links? Please email the author at nick DOT tomaiuolo AT gmail DOT com

See also:

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