Custom Search from the Chrome Omnibar

Google Chrome
Google Chrome Down­load Page

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:

http://arcweb.archives.gov/arc/action/ExternalIdSearch?id=596354

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: http://arcweb.archives.gov/arc/action/ExternalIdSearch?id=%s
  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:

http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/search/titles/results/?terms=nebraska

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:

http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/search/titles/results/?terms=%s

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:

http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/search/titles/results/?terms=nebraska

Happy search­ing!

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