A note on Google Book Search and libraries

Lorcan 1 min read

Recent developments with Google Book Search and links to library catalogs have been noted in several places, and I thought I would just note some stuff here.
Several related features:

Some notes. If you select to search library catalogs from the Advanced Search option, then you are only searching metadata.
Catalog results do not always appear at the end of the page. Why not?

… it means that your search query has not triggered Library Catalog results. That’s more likely to happen if it appears from your query that we’ve scanned a relevant book, and the data from library catalogs – basic information like author, title or subject headings – does not indicate a good match. [Book Search Help Center – Why don’t I see library catalog results on some of my searches? Does this mean no libraries have these books?]

The catalog links go to the various union catalogs that Google is working with – currently 15 in all, they say. These of course include Worldcat. The location of the user, which Google recognizes, helps determine what is presented.
Where the union catalog results are presented alongside the full range of results, it is a pity that they are at the end of the list. It will be interesting to see if they prove popular enough to be given higher billing. Make sure you click on them when you see them 😉
These are interesting steps forward, moving some of the functionality that has been available in Google Scholar over into Google Book Search. We will watch to see what impact this has on traffic to library services. Google is mixing books for which they have digital scans and those for which they don’t in their results (which affects delivery), and they are mixing searches on full-text and on metadata (which affects discovery).
As with other initiatives, they are putting something out to see how it works. We can expect to see it change where it makes sense based on user behaviors.
Check out the Library Catalog Search help pages for more info.

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