Custom Search from the Chrome Omnibar

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Google Chrome is quickly becoming my browser of choice.

One of the most powerful features is the Ominbar, a single place to type URLs and searches. I remember the first time I saw the Google search field in Safari: It made me realize two things: first, how important Google was to everything I was doing, and second, how innovative Apple was. It was so much simpler to search from the browser itself instead of navigating to Google, and then searching.

In Chrome (and also in Firefox, though I will cover that in a later post), you can configure your own set of browser search engines. In Chrome, you can run these custom queries from the Omnibar, without using a mouse.

NARA ARC SearchLet’s say you do a lot of work material at the National Archives, and you regularly need to read up in the Archival Research Catalogs. Instead of navigating to the Archives site, and searching for your ARC entry, which might point you to articles in NARAtions or The Prologue about the ARC entry, and not the ARC entry itself, you can take your search and configure your browser to perform it.
Yesterday, I looked at the Korean War-era Command Reports, which are covered in ARC 596349. The path to the ARC description is at:

To help you quickly get to this ARC entry, or any other for which you know the number:

  1. In the Ominbar, right click and click “Edit Search Engines.”
  2. Click the plus button to create a new search.
  3. Name the search anything you would like.
  4. Add a short, memorable keyword. I used “arc.”
  5. Add as the URL the path, with the search term replaced by %s. In our example, this would look like:
  6. Click OK.
  7. Test it out. Go to the Omnibar and type in your keyword followed by a tab and then a search term. In my example, this would be: arc [tab] 596354

Library of Congress Chronicling America Search

Here’s another example. To search the Library of Congress’s Chronicling America Newspaper project (previous posts: Chronicling America API and Chronicling America)on a statewide basis, to see what papers are available, the search looks like:

To make a custom search for this in Chrome, right click in the Omnibar, click “Edit Search Engines,” and then click the plus button to create a new search. Name the search what you would like, add a memorable and brief keyword, and then enter the following as the URL:

Now, whenever you are working on a new state, where you might want to take a look at some of the digitized newspapers for articles, ads, and obituaries, you can simply type your keyword, a tab, and then the name of the state. In my example, this would be:

loc-news [tab] nebraska

This would take me to:

Happy searching!