Creating an on-line search engine

Google’s Custom Search Engine

Let’s assume you have hundreds or thousands of documents you want to share with the public.  Maybe you are a municipality that want to make your public documents truly public.  Most small organizations would create a web site and then create web pages with fixed lists of documents.  This is functional for a limted set of documents, but it is really an old school method of providing information.  Today, we search.  Search engines, like Google, have revolutionized the way we locate desired information.

If you maintain your documents on a publicly hosted web site, Google provides a free product that will allow you to create a custom search engine.  It can be found at

I have located the web site folders that the Borough of Allendale uses to contain some of their public documents.  Please note: Everything I am accessing or discussing here is completely within the public domain.

The following are examples of how custom search engines can be developed that allow the user to search public document folders:

Borough of Allendale: Council Minutes, Borough Newsletters, and Municipal Forms

Borough of Allendale: Planning Board and Board of Adjustment

Borough of Allendale: Board of Health

Borough of Allendale: M&C Ordinances and Resolutions

Borough of Allendale: EVERYTHING

Visit the above search pages. Enter a search request the same as you would when using Google Search.  It does not provide the all of the state of the art search features found in GOogle Search but it’s still pretty amazing.

The free version of this product contains ads.  This is why it’s free.  If you are willing to pay a small fee, Google will provide a version without ads.  If you can prove you are a non-profit, they will provide an add-free version for free.

Please keep in mind that to make the availability of your documents truly efficient, an experienced information professional is required to properly set up your document folders and file names and thoughtfully prepare your files for searching.

If you have any questions here, please feel free to contact me. WordPress Search

Experimental Allendale Search

Complete Code of the Borough of Allendale (PDF)