fortune or its reverse the seldom-updated lackaff.net blog

7Jun/070

How to create a custom Google Scholar search plugin for Firefox

Since I wrote this blurb a while back, that page has become one of the most-hit on this site. My referrer logs indicate that Google is sending people here due to their passionate interest in a search plugin for Scholar.

The quick and easy solution to searching Google Scholar from Firefox is to install the search engine plugin from the Mycroft Project site. That's it. Just click the link, hit the "add" button on the popup, and google scholarly to your heart's content.

There's another Scholar search scenario that requires a tiny bit more effort. If you are affiliated with a research institution or library, you may have noticed that Scholar will automatically return links to content in your library (full-text journal articles, bibliographic records, etc.) if you using one of their computers. If you would like to get this functionality from somewhere else (such as Starbucks or your home), you need to route your Scholar search requests through an HTTP proxy at your institution. Example: my institution is the University at Buffalo, and my library provides off-campus access through a proxy at https://gate.lib.buffalo.edu/.

If your institution provides access to a proxy, it's easy to build a Firefox search plugin that utilizes it for all your Scholar searches. Just go to the Plugin Generation page and fill out the relevant details. For my UB Scholar plugin, I just tweaked the default Scholar plugin URL from http://scholar.google.com to http://scholar.google.com.gate.lib.buffalo.edu, and changed the name from googlescholar to googlescholar_ub. The XML of my plugin is available here for reference.

Good luck and happy plugin-making. Feel free to drop me a comment if you have any questions.

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