15 Dec 15 Help Us Evaluate A Different Search Engine

As of 12/14/2015, most of is now using Google Custom Search to provide search results. Google Custom Search is a free service that searches all ALA resources and displays the results on our site. Thus it automatically provides federated search of far flung ALA resources, such as public portions of, the Midwinter and Annual Conference websites, and ALA blogs and wikis.

ALA’s American Association of School Librarians elected to join the experiment to evaluate Google Custom Search, while the rest of ALA’s divisions chose to retain Apache Solr for the time being. This allows us to compare and contrast search results from the two systems while we are working with our search consultants to develop a strategic plan for ALA enterprise search that will be available in January. Future plans already include a revision of all content management system templates to require the addition of metadata. We’re also exploring ways to add metadata to downloadable files. We expect that there will be a staff training initiative in the development of quality metadata.

As a non-profit, ALA is able to use the ad free version of Google Custom Search, but sites using the search must retain Google’s branding, visible in the search box and at the bottom of the results page.

We encourage our site visitors to help us evaluate the two different systems as we work toward a plan to improve enterprise search. After 12/15/2015, please take five minutes to provide feedback at

Here are a few examples of common searches and the results retrieved using Google: