Sunday, October 22, 2006

Research Tip: FirstGov Search Upgrade

FirstGov Search screenshot

The government web portal,, has upgraded its Search to give users the choice of searching federal and state government websites, just news, or just images. The Web search option includes news and images in its search results. FirstGov Search just received a major overhaul in January, finally becoming a useful research tool, and it is now even better.

Once you have chosen a Web, Images, or News search, click on Advanced Search to make your search even more specific. For example, with a Web search, you can limit your search to federal sites or to a specific state. With a News search, you can limit your search to news from a specific source. See Search Tips for other options.

Search results are categorized using Vivísimo's clustering technology, and they can be sorted by topic, agency, or source. On some search-results screens there is a tabbed box at the top with selected links to FAQs, forms, jobs, and podcasts. Other search results may be topped by blocks of categorized news links. Featured images may be displayed in a box below the list of clusters.

For an excellent review of FirstGov Search as both a search tool and an information discovery tool, see FirstGovSearch Adds Image and News Search and Continues to Provide Dynamic Clustering on ResourceShelf.

See also Peggy Garvin, The Government Domain: FirstGov becomes First in Government Search on

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