Windows 7: search your university library from your desktop

Federated Search, from a developers perspective, is like the search bar in Firefox and IE7. For the end user, and in this case, the student, it allows you to browse a search engine directly from your desktop, in Windows Search.

Federated Search, from a developers perspective, is like the search bar in Firefox and IE7. For the end user, and in this case, the student, it allows you to browse a search engine directly from your desktop, in Windows Search. So instead of searching "Everywhere" or "Indexed Locations", why not "Flickr", "YouTube", or "Your university library"?

To point out that I am not a developer is important, as code completely perplexes me. With a bit of help from some university friends, I've come up a way to

fedsearch-4-small.png
customise the file used to install the configuration file itself, to enable federated search of university resources. The configuration file is a simple XML document with an .osdx file extension. By double clicking it, it opens up the search box and allows you to search for anything and everything which is configured in the file.

I'll try and talk you through it gently, but it's not easier when a dead squirrel called Dave has better developing skills than me.

Start with your template Having a template to start off with is important. Having Windows 7 is a little more important, but to get you started, you can use this template from here.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?><OpenSearchDescription xmlns=http://a9.com/-/spec/opensearch/1.1/ xmlns:ms-ose="http://schemas.microsoft.com/opensearchext/2009/"> <ShortName>ENTER IN THE NAME OF YOUR SEARCH HERE</ShortName> <Description>ENTER IN YOUR DESCRIPTION HERE</Description> <Url type="application/rss+xml" template="http://search.msn.com/results.aspx?q={searchTerms}+site:WEBSITE.COM&num=10&format=rss"/> <Url type="text/html" template="http://search.live.com/results.aspx?q={searchTerms}+site:WEBSITE.COM&format=rss"/> </OpenSearchDescription>

Editing your template When playing around with this, be careful because even one character out of place will make it incompatible and screw up. Nothing major will happen, it just simply won't work.

The first red section can be edited to customise the name of your search. If you are searching your university resources, call it something like "University of X Search". The second line isn't so important, but it's best to add something anyway.

The blue section must remain intact, because this is your wildcard. This is obviosuly needed when searching for items.

The green bits are the domain name you want to search with. Ignore the fact that it is using Live Search, because ultimately it doesn't matter; there's no mention of Live Search on Windows 7 anyway. Type in kent.ac.uk, or stanford.edu or any other domain you want to search with, such as your university domain name.

Saving and installing When playing with the text document, you need to save it as a specific file type. Select Save As from the menu, type in the file name and the box underneath, change to All files under file type. The extension of the document needs to be the filename and .osdx for it to work. The icon will change to a search icon.

To install, simply double click on the tiny file and click OK. You can then start searching for what you want.

Click for larger image

Update 1: there are others out there for Flickr, as well as a whole load available for other search engines here. This site also includes a walkthrough, similar to mine.

Update 2: there's a video as well which helps developers like you (not me) to create applications with Federated Search in Windows 7, as well as a PDC session to check out.

Newsletters

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
See All
See All