The Economics Search Engine (ESE) is a subset of the Google search engine that restricts its searches to 23,000 economics web sites. It is an outgrowth of Resources for Economists on the Internet (RFE) which lists and describes items for economists. Today many users prefer to use search engines to find resources of interest, so ESE was developed with the assistance of Hal Varian and Othar Hansson, both of Google. ESE not only searches web sites listed in RFE, but also web sites from RePEc Author Services (over 19,000 economists have registered) and Economics Departments, Institutes and Research Centers in the World (EDIRC), which lists more than 11,000 such sites. Thus, by searching at ESE, a user interested in an economic topic is searching over a substantial fraction of the web devoted to economic issues.
ESE is implemented with a Google Custom Search Engine, which enables users to set up a site that restricts a Google search to a user-selected set of sites. It takes some work to set up one as large as ESE, but smaller ones are quite straightforward and doubtless many would benefit from setting one up for their own needs. As with many Google services, it is currently in beta test-mode, so the results might be problematic at times.
To make ESE particularly easy to use, it includes a “Search Plugin” for Internet Explorer 7.0 or FireFox 2.0 and 3.0 users. This allows you to initiate searches directly from a search box in your browser; thus you don’t even need to visit ESE directly. You should be offered one for ESE when you check your search plugins when you’re at the ESE web site.