Changes to Search UNM

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After several months of thought, research and discussions the SearchUNM team in conjunction with UNM IT and the University Libraries (sponsors of SearchUNM), we have decided to switch to the Google Custom Search (GCS) and discontinue the Google Search Appliance (GSA) in July, 2013.  Our contract expired in May but we received an extension to make the change.

As a result, if your website search box uses the Google Search Appliance, it will stop working by August 3, 2013. So we encourage colleges and departments to set up their own Custom Search Engines now. To make that easier, we will be posting details and code samples on SearchUNM website (see “for Webmasters”).

A Google Custom Search Engine allows a webmaster to specify which websites to include in search results, similar to a GSA Collection. Like many other large universities, we realized that the Google CSE has almost all the features we’ve been using, plus quite a few more.

In our testing, we’ve found that CSE search results are almost indistinguishable from GSA search results. And since we’re a non-profit institution of higher education, our search results won’t show any ads.

Will we miss out on anything by switching? We never used Google Search Appliance’s fancier features anyway, such as Secure Search. We’ll still have access to more on-demand indexing than we need. We’ve occasionally contacted tech support about our search box, but we will no longer have to do that if we no longer have a search box…

True, the free version of Google Custom Search doesn’t offer search results in XML format, and it only indexes public websites. But if you need to parse XML feeds, crawl intranet sites, or get tech support by email, you can always sign up for the paid version, Google Site Search - $100-$250 a year for the typical college.

On the other hand, the CSE includes options that aren’t available with the GSA, such as autocompletion/search-as-you-type, automatic thumbnail images, and enhanced KeyMatch (Promotions) descriptions.

We believe this is a fiscally responsible decision that still gives UNM what it needs for Search. We welcome your questions.

We also would highly encourage you to look at (or review) our Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tips on our “For Web Authors” page.  Also see the two SEO presentations from the May 2013 Tech Days at these links Increase Website Ranking and Search Enginge Optimization