Saturday, January 20, 2007

ALA Midwinter Meeting - 2 Tales, Tips, and Tools: Google in your Library

Tales, Tips, and Tools: Google in your Library

Ben Brunnel (Library Partnerships Manager)

“To organize the world’s information and make if universally accessible and useful” is Google’s mission and has been since 1980.

The idea is to have Google be accessible to anyone with an internet connection whether it’s on a computer, a cell phone, etc.

Advanced Search

The average user never select advanced search. But, you can use search operators in the regular search box. For instance us “~” to search for similar words and use link: [url] to find out how many sites link to the [url].

Type “weather 78412” to get the weather. Type “13 euros in usd” for currency conversion. Works with all kinds of conversions. Go to to see them all.

Select “Language Tools” link on the main search page to use their language translator; you can copy and paste text to be translated. You can also translate entire web pages. for the poster mentioned above. And don’t forget the Google Librarian Newsletter.

Google Co-op

There’s a section at the top of a search page that allows you to “refine” a search. The co-op part comes in when they opened up the assigning of categories of refinement to a webpage. The categories are fairly limited at this point (only six). Create your own search engine. is an example of such a search engine. Go to Google Co-op, sign up, give your search site a name, invite people to contribute if you want to, then copy and paste the code they give you into your page. And if you don’t have your own site to paste code to, you can create your own in Google. The idea is that you select the sites that are searched. More info at the and join the mailing list (Google Groups). Also

Google Book Search (

Is Google’s attempt to make books as easy to search and find as other web content. The difference between book search and web search is the results, which differ depending on where they got the book. Some come from partnerships with publishers who have allowed Google to digitize their books and index every word and page and make the index available online. The others come from libraries with whom Google has also partnered including NYPL, Harvard, Ohio State, U of Wisc, Univ of California, UVA, Univ of Texas’s Spanish language collection (announced yesterday), and a couple of Spanish universities. [He showed us the graphic for a number of Google book search sites in other languages, interesting that the word “Google” seems to be the same in all languages]

Includes FT of books in the public domain (20%), no full text (allowing usually about 20% of their pages but some are moving towards making more available) but indexing for books in print (5%), the other 75% are in the gray area in between where finding the book itself is sometimes as difficult as finding out who owns the copyright. FT includes any handwritten notes that exist in the copy of the book that is digitized.

Public domain books are available for download. They also provide links to find the book (e.g. booksellers including OP titles/vendors) and a link to the WorldCat public version that you’ve used which will tell users which libraries the book is available at.

Note that even if all of the pages of a book aren’t available to view, all of the pages in the book ARE indexed and include links to purchase the book or find it in the library.

Books where they’re not sure about the copyright are made available by proxy via an “about the book” page that includes three snippets (never more), links to purchase and find the book, and additional info about the book (including references to the book). There’s an “about the book” page for all books in Google.

You can search library catalogs using the advanced search page in Google book search. It generally searches the national union catalog of the country you’re in (e.g. WorldCat).

They’ve also created “collection” sites like (they call them microsites) and banned books for banned book week, and scary books for Halloween at Someone asked if there is a list of collection sites and the answer was that there might be, he wasn’t sure.

You can also get a Google book search search box/button for your own site at the book search site at the about site.

For more info go to

[This kind of goes with the expansion of libraries that they talked about this morning in the social networking session this morning]

Google Scholar

It’s not a database. It’s an algorithmic full-text search of scholarly materials online.

Includes cited and cited by counts with links. Displays links, citations to as many versions/iterations of an article as they have indexed. You can add a link to your library. They recognized that ranking by number of hits doesn’t allow good access to new article that haven’t been cited a lot yet so they added a link to ‘recently published’ works. Click on “preferences” next to the search box where you can set preferences to download to your favorite citation manager (RefWorks, EndNote, others). ScholarSFX is a free link resolver designed exclusively for GoogleScholar [but you should probably use your version of SFX}. Blackboard course delivery has incorporated Google Scholar. Add a search box to your web page in the same way he told us to add a link to Google Book Search.

Quote from the creator of Google Scholar: “it’s better to be frustrated than ignorant” (given as the reason that they index citations as well as full text articles).

Interesting note: the idea that sparked their page ranking was that if you could digitize and link all of the books in the world by citations you could get a pretty good idea of what the most popular books are. {I have a little problem with this, the same problem that makes citation a difficult and possibly less useful proxy for popularity or authority].

Each section concluded with a couple of success stories from librarians who had posted them on the Google librarian center (where you can also get posters and help sheets on Google Scholar).

Google Earth

It’s an application you download to your desktop that is linked to an enormous database of satellite images of practically the whole world. The ideas isn’t just to find pictures of places but also to find information about those places so Google added “layers” to the earth application. There’s a places layer that allows you to bookmark you favorite places. There’s also other layers that you can customize the information that you get. He showed us an image of Mt. St. Helens and then added a layer that displayed the positions of earthquakes and volcanoes. They’ve partnered with National Geographic to allow them to add icons that link to NG articles written about the places you’re “visiting” on GE. Another layer places country flag icons on your map which link to the CIA World Factbook data on that country. The European Space Agency, Discovery Networks are other layers available. is another section of their website that librarians might find useful and informative.

He said what’s great about Google earth is that you can spend hours and hours visiting new places and when you’re done you don’t feel as if you’ve been wasting time, you feel like you’ve learned something and it was fun…another reminder of this morning’s session about social networking.

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