Category Archives: Course Management Systems

Library database search box widgets

A growing number of library database providers are making customizable search box widgets available to subscribers. Vendors like Ebsco, Gale, Proquest, and Facts on File all simplify the process of adding a search box to a website (or CMS like Blackboard) into a few steps  that result in “copy and paste” code.

I mentioned Ebsco’s tool previously.  Here are a few more vendors I came upon recently for my library:

Do you know of others?

Embedding Library Search Forms in Blackboard

Over the past few months I’ve been experimenting with ways in which my library can integrate itself into our college course management system, Blackboard. Initially, I started with handouts, PowerPoint presentations, and links to the library website. But lately, I’ve been exploring how we might embed search forms for catalogs and other research databases directly in Blackboard. Here’s what a basic search form for my library catalog looks like in Blackboard:


And here are a few search forms that can be used to search Ebscohost databases:

I’ve been saving the HTML used to create these forms in the Course Management Resources section of the site. In Blackboard, the code can be copied, pasted, and saved into most content areas. Just remember to select “HTML” as the text type instead of “Smart text” or “Plain text” (so that Blackboard will render the code as a form instead of as text.)

Creating an Ebscohost Search form

Below is information that can be used to create Ebscohost search forms for web pages or Blackboard sites.

Product Codes for Ebscohost Databases
Use this link to find your Ebscohost product codes. Find the product codes for the database(s) that you want to search. Write them down.

HTML Code for an Ebscohost Search Box
This section has all of the HTML code that you’ll need for your search box.

——–Start Copy——–

——–End Copy——–

3. Take the product code(s) you obtained in step one and insert it (or them) as the ‘value’ attribute in these lines above

To search multiple Ebsco databases, you’ll need to duplicate the entire line above (each product code needs its own line of code).

4. Finally, create a new content item in Blackboard, choose “HTML” as the text type, and paste the code into the text window. The submitted item will result in a simple keyword search form.

Visit the Ebsco support site for more details on setting up a search form:

Library Catalog Search Forms

This page links to example library catalog search forms and the source code used to create them. The institutions covered here are all members of the Pittsburgh Blackboard Users Group. These are working forms that teaching faculty and librarians can use to experiment with the integration of library-related content into a course management system. The code for your institution’s library catalog can be copied and pasted into Blackboard or embedded into any webpage.

Community College of Allegheny County
Community College of Beaver County
Duquesne University
Point Park University
Thiel College