I have been reading the September issue of the HERO Headlines magazine, which provides “the latest news from HERO Ltd, the company behind the UK’s official online gateway to higher education and research opportunities“.

An article in the magazine describes the release of a search tool which can be added to Internet Explorer and Firefox browser to enable the HERO.ac.uk Web site to be searched directly from the browser, without first having to go to the HERO Web site. Use of this search facility to search for articles about UKOLN is shown in the diagram.

Search for 'UKOLN' on Hero Web site

At one stage there was a tendency in various Web development circles that browser-specific enhancements should be avoided, as they don’t necessarily provide universal solutions (in this case, users of the Opera browser may feel disenfranchised). I don’t go along with this argument – I feel that this provides a richer and easier-to-use solution for many users, whilst still allowing users of more specialist browsers (or old versions of Internet Explorer or Firefox) to search the Web site in the traditional way.

Congratulations to HERO for this development. Now how many institutions are configuring their browsers with similar search interfaces for their institutional Web site, I wonder?