Thing 2 – Extend Your Browser

Did you know that your web browser can be made much more useful? The newest versions of both Internet Explorer and Firefox give you the ability to add search providers (known as search plugins) to their built-in search boxes. They also allow you to install various browser add-ons, sometimes known as extensions. Add-ons can improve how your browser functions, and even give it new features!

It’s worth noting that Firefox is much friendlier when it comes to the number and variety of add-ons available, so if you don’t normally use Firefox you might like to give it a try for this Thing.

Take a look at this video (large file) to see how you can add search providers to both Firefox and Internet Explorer, and to see how Firefox add-ons can be installed.

Your task

Install 3 search plugins and 2 extensions to your browser.

More information

Search plugins

Search plugins exist for all sorts of useful search tools, including Library catalogues and databases. More search plugins can be found by clicking on the down arrow in the search box, selecting “Manage search engines...” and then “Get more search engines...” in Firefox, or “Find More Providers” in Internet Explorer.

Search plugins can also be installed directly from websites. Libraries Australia and WorldCat (scroll down the page, Firefox only) are examples of these. If you visit this unofficial Library tools page you’ll find plugins for the Chisholm Library catalogue and the A – Z Journal Search!

Just remember to look out for the blue or orange indicator that a search plugin is available:
Firefox search plugin available indicator
Internet explorer search plugin available indicator

Handy Tip 1:Ctrl-K” (in Firefox) or “Ctrl-E” (IE) puts the cursor into the search box, ready for you to start typing!

Handy Tip 2: When the cursor is in the search box, “Ctrl” and the up or down arrow keys will scroll through the available search plugins!

Handy Tip 3: Hitting “Alt-Enter” with the cursor in the search box will cause your results page to open in a new tab – leaving your current page unchanged!


When it comes to extensions, you might like to consider Morning Coffee, QuickNote, FoxClocks, Linkification, or Sirsi Library System :: Easy Record View (all for Firefox).

Like search plugins, add-ons can also be installed directly from a developer’s website, though you need to be sure that the developer is legitimate. One potentially useful extension is View My Currency. (Great for Amazon!)


By Jason Peart for the Chisholm Institute Library.
© Chisholm Institute 2008, released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license.


3 Responses to “Thing 2 – Extend Your Browser”

  1. Colin Says:

    plugins are fun!

  2. Leeanne Says:

    Interesting! I hadn’t been using the full extent of a web browser.

  3. Kath Says:

    Good video, thanks Jason.

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