Google Custom Search’s Planet Code4Lib as an OpenSearch Plugin

Earlier I mentioned creating a Google Custom Search for Planet Code4Lib. The Google-supplied markup puts a form on your web page that leads to Google’s server farm. (Alternatively, you can create a custom URL that points to an HTML page at Google which contains the form.) Well, that’s really neat, but not far enough. How about an OpenSearch plugin suitable for Firefox and MSIE7? Here is the plugin markup:

< ?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
 <opensearchdescription xmlns="" xmlns:moz="">
   <shortname>Planet Code4Lib</shortname>
   <description>Search the bloggers of Planet Code4Lib using Google Custom Search.</description>
   <tags>code4lib library</tags>
   <url type="text/html" template="{searchTerms}&amp;cx=017716194421589436379:zdoxzpetaxk&amp;sa=Search&amp;cof=FORID:0">
      <image height="16" width="16" type="image/png">
      <moz :searchform>

Pretty neat, eh? This link will install the search definition in Firefox and MSIE7.

Is this going too far?

One can’t help but to wonder whether this violates the Google Custom Search Terms of Service. Here is a piece of 1.1 Description of Service.

Google Custom Search for Planet Code4Lib

I wanted to mess around with Google’s new Custom Search Engine feature and in casting about for a list of URLs to feed it I thought I’d try the list of blogs at Planet Code4Lib. As it turns out, this might be a modestly useful search if you remember reading something from one of the code4lib bloggers but can’t remember which one. The exercise was pretty fun and here is the result:

To build it, I started with the Planet Code4Lib OPML feed and ran some regular expression transformations against it, replacing these matches with empty strings (I used BBEdit on the Mac for this one-off, but it could probably be automated with a PERL script to a certain degree):

Google News Archive Search — Where Are the Links to Content from Libraries?

Extra! Extra! Read All About It! “Explore History as it Happened: Google News Now Has Archive Search” Extra! Extra!

In my imagination I can see and hear the herald of the newspaper carrier on the street corner barking out this call. Except, Kids These Days would probably decry the use of dead trees to carry stale news and already be reading it on their PDAs and text-messaging each other on their cell phones. As it is, I found out about it through a story on Search Engine Watch (also found in Wall Street Journal and the U.K. Guardian and the New York Times) which itself touted Google’s “200 Year News Archive Search.” It is a nice service; I look at it, though, and have to wonder about the changing — if not outright diminishing — role of libraries as couriers of information. After all, couldn’t links to resources from the user’s local library be included right there next to the commercial article suppliers? If they could, why aren’t they? And what does it mean that they are not?