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Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

Help build a library question and answer custom search

Daniel and I were talking yesterday about his new blog at the Alaska State Library. We thought it’d be a great idea to build a Questions and Answer Google Custom Search aimed at indexing library blogs that post answered reference questions. Think about having 1 search interface to all of the library answer sites on the internet? It’d be better than MetaFilter and answers.com put together!

So far we’ve got 5 sites in the custom search: Reference Question of the WeekHomeless Law Blog, Radical Reference, Stanford Library Information Center, and Since You Asked.

We think this has potential to show off librarian expertise and librarian selected resources. If you are blogging your reference questions and answers in a way that preserves patron privacy, please leave us a comment or email us (admin AT freegovinfo DOT info) the link to your blog. If you’re not currently doing something like this, but plan to, would you let us know that as well?

This search engine is not specifically focused on documents, but it would be great to have docs Q&A’s represented. Here’s hoping you can help.

New “Government Watchers” search engine

A contributor to the Open House Project has announced the creation of a new Google Custom Search Engine that searches "about 55 sites whose focus could be loosely categorized as ‘Government Watchers’" but says that it is still "in the ‘pre-beta’ stage of development."

Link to the CSE – http://tinyurl.com/2j4qmt
Link to the list of sites – http://tinyurl.com/37ys7o
LInk to a page about the CSE and ideas – http://222fbj.googlepages.com/cse.htm

Federated Search Systems For Government Information

Exploring the deep web
Internal and external federated systems lead users to treasures that regular search engines can’t find
By Drew Robb, GCN, 06/04/07 issue.

Google makes search look simple, but in fact, search is not simple, particularly when completeness is important.

…Public search engines may be fine for locating a hotel in Singapore, but not for professional research.

Science.gov search better than ever

Science.gov, a search engine for government science information and research results, yesterday released its latest version of Science.gov search engine. Version 4.0 deploys “DeepRank” which allows search and relevancy ranking across full text of documents, when full text is available. In addition, users can now choose a “refine results” option to narrow returns within a search, as well as view search results in multiple ways: by title, author or date, as well as by relevancy rank or source. The search also includes Deep Web search capability of content not accessible by popular search engines.

Science.gov searches authoritative science information from 30 federal scientific databases and more than 1,800 science Web sites. The search is made possible by members of the Science.gov Alliance: the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, and the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Government Printing Office, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation, with support from the National Archives and Records Administration.