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SweetSearch: an update and three tools for your kids’ utility belts

I’ve been a longtime fan of findingDulcinea, a carefully curated portal for educators that I reviewed years ago.

SweetSearch, its searchier sister site, is an excellent example of the power of a Google custom search engine to create a noise-free, focused search for children. Launched in 2009, SweetSearch leverages a Google CSE to search the websites included in findingDulcinea’s pathfinders and articles, as well as additional materials vetted and regularly updated by the research team.

I recently caught up with Mark Moran, founder of SweetSearch, at the Texas Library Association Conference, and he shared three exciting updates that you may want to include in your kiddos’ search utility belts:

1. SweetSearch History emphasizes results from primary sources, academic resources, and other authoritative history websites. Users may also search the image tab.


Mark explained “When you use other search engines, many of the best sources of history content may be buried on the third or fourth results page. With SweetSearch History, they are likely to be on the first or second page.”

Mark shared this image illustrating examples of websites that typically appear at the top of SweetSearch History’s results, compared to those at the top of Google’s.


2. SweetSearch News: This recently launched news search pulls results from more thnewsbanneran 1600 credible newspapers, magazines, and other current events media.  Mark shared, “It more heavily weights niche, regional and non-U.S. resources than most news search engines.  Users can choose to see all results, view international results and sort resources by date or relevance.  There’s also tab to view images. 

All of the searches include high-quality resources for younger students. Mark recommends that elementary school students use “kids,” “students” and “young” in their keywords to find the websites created for them. Here are the results when you add “kids” to “elephants.”


3. SweetSearch2Day Mark and his team are gradually updating and transitioning the evergreen content on findingDulcinea to a new platform, called SweetSearch2Day. The transition will be complete by late summer. Librarians are invited to contribute posts, for which they will receive editorial credit and free perks.

Note: To keep SweetSearch free, Google Ads appear at the top of results lists. You’ll want to remind students (as we usually do) to bypass the links labeled “Ad” at the top and to dive into the results below.

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza

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