I’ve been playing around a little more with Google Coop, and discovered that you can use wildcards when defining the sites you want to search.

The way the standard LGSearch works is that I provide Google with a list of the sites I want it to search. Every single one of them. It’s not fun. But it does mean I can tag them with the category of site it falls into, making the filtering possible.

But with I just submitted one ‘site’ – * In other words, every site that ends with! This means that as new sites are added, or taken away, the search engine will update automatically.

I don’t think this will be as useful as the standard LGSearch, but it might be a useful second option if you can’t find what you want first time round.

Education LGSearch?

You might wonder why I haven’t put education sites into LGSearch. Well, the reason is that someone else already has done, and I’m not in the business of thunder stealing.

The new links page at LGSearch reveals all. At the moment, the links are limited to three, but they are good ones. The first two are both from Simon Dickson‘s Findless project: Health and Safety and Education.

The third is DirectionlessGov, which lets you compare the results you get from and Google. No prizes for guessing which produces the better links.

[tags]findless, simon dickson, directionlessgov, lgsearch[/tags]

LGSearch+ Update

The ‘slicing’ of the RSS feeds is now working, so now only 10 items per feed are displayed. I had only tested the layout in FireFox at the weekend, and having now tested it in IE 5.5 the feeds carry on to the right of the screen, needing a scroll. I don’t know if this is the same for more up to date versions of IE – if anyone can check, this would be great!


The latest development to LGSearch is LGSearch+ – which is simply a different search page, but with the latest news from the IDeA, The Guardian‘s ‘Society’ section, the latest links from Info4Local and the Local Government Association‘s news.

These are automatically updated through RSS. I used the open source RSS parser MagpieRSS to produce the content.

One issue still outstanding is the simply vast feed from IDeA. I need to slice this off so we only get the latest 10 items – but this is proving a little tricky at the moment!

I’m also unsure at the moment whether four columns of information is just too much and whether the page looks overly cluttered. Maybe I could get rid of the IDeA stuff anf kill two birds (magpies?) with one stone…

[tags]magpierss, rss, lgsearch[/tags]

Making Search Humane

Having added the various sets of new links to LGSearch, aside from keeping the list of links up-to-date, I think LGSearch is pretty much fully developed with what’s available from Google Coop right now.

I still wonder, though, whether there should be a further way of presenting information found on the web with a human element of quality control, whether by rating web pages or documents as to their usefulness or some other means.

I don’t think I could build this sort of functionality into LGSearch itself, but it could be stored in a subsite off there easily enough.

I had a go previously with an open source package called (I think) Scuttle which was in effect a clone but which lacked robust user accounts and spam filtering, with disastrous results. Another option might be to use Pligg, which is a digg clone, which features accounts and voting on links and might be the better option.

I’d like to know whether people here can see the value in having a human-determined list of good quality web based material that could be searched, and what ideas people have with regard to how it might work, whether using Pligg or not.

Also, would people in any great numbers use such a service? I think the benefits are significant, but you need people in early to make that obvious.

Health, Police, Fire and More!

Yep, a stackload of more sites have been added to LGSearch, making it a very useful thing indeed. The sites added come under the labels:

  • Police and Fire
  • Health
  • LG Related

And as with the Councils and Central Government sites, you can specify which ones you want to appear in your search.

As always the list of sites is on the wiki. Please check for yours and let me know any corrections, or any I have missed.

Central Government added to LGSearch

The first major update has been made to LGSearch, the now-inaccurately described local government search engine.

The sites for central government departments have now been added. You can find a list of the sites included on the LGSearch project page on the wiki.

You can still just search for local government stuff though, if you want to. When you run your search, you’ll notice a couple of extra links at the top of the page:

refining LGSearches

Just click which type of sites are the ones you want to appear, and hey presto!

Soon I’ll get round to added police, health and fire authorities too.

LGSearch Stats

Google’s Coop cusomised search engine now provides usage statistics. This is undoubtably a Good Thing.

My customised search engine is LGSearch, one which searches local government websites. Sounds dull, but when you work for in local government, it’s useful. Obviously others think so too.

chart thumbnail

As well as the basic numbers, it also lets you know what the top searches have been:

LGSearch searches

Interesting stuff, and a great feature.

[tags]google coop, lgsearch[/tags]