Libraries and Google Journal

The journal, Library Philosophy and Practice has published a special issue devoted to Libraries and Google. Looks like an informative publication, which I have added to my virtual “to read” stack. 🙂

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Master Plan – About the power of Google

In his blog, Unit Structures, Fred Stutzman pointed to this site. It is a documentary, a la Googlezon, created by a team of undergraduates from the University of Ulm, Germany. It paints a sinister picture of Google’s intentions and its ability to compromise individual privacy rights. I think it would be a great discussion piece in a classroom setting. Not only is the content interesting and engagingly presented, but it is entirely undocumented. Not a single citation. Therefore, after discussing the allegations the authors make and their truth or falsehood, it would be a logical next step to evaluate the site’s accuracy and reliabilty. Double whammy!

Master Plan – About the power of Google

TravelinLibrarian.info Posts Video on YouTube by Google

Exactly my point! http://www.travelinlibrarian.info/2006/10/on-google-purchase-of-youtube.html

From the TravelinLibrarian.info

YouTube may add to Google’s copyright worries | CNET News.com

As you’ve probably heard, Google announced yesterday that it has plans to buy video sharing power house, YouTube. I’m not sure what to think. I love Google and I love YouTube. So this should be a good thing, right? Well, with the spectre of Googlezon hovering just underneath the surface, even I find this a bit creepy. Is Google trying to take over the world? What next? Google buys Harvard?

Also, I am concerned about the impact on YouTube’s format and content. Analysts are speculating that Google will now face an onslaught of lawsuits over YouTube’s copyrighted content. Likely, Google will need to impose some changes in policy at YouTube that make it more difficult to post copyrighted material. I believe that would be unfortunate. If the copyright policy is clearly stated and users choose to ignore it and post copyrighted materials, they should be held personally liable for their own actions. The alternative, more stringent oversight and even censorship on the part of video or music hosting sites, will inhibit the flow of creative and legal content.

Lonelygirl15, you got out just in time!

YouTube may add to Google’s copyright worries | CNET News.com

Most reliable search tool could be your librarian | CNET News.com

I must admit it’s gratifying to get a nod of support from SearchEngineWatch.com, the expert on searching. The article below discusses some of the ways in which librarians still add value to the research process. I do agree with the author of this article and would surely encourage everyone at the University engaged in more than a cursory search to talk to the Reference Faculty. However, having said that, I would like to point out that there may be some issues with the example used in this article.

The site used as evidence for Google’s unreliability is a white supremacist site on Martin Luther King, Jr. This site looks quite informative and authentic and comes up high in the Google rankings. Therefore, librarians use it often as a teaching tool for students about why evaluation is necessary. Ironically, the fact that many library guides link to the page probably contributes to its prominent positioning in Google search results. If you want to see it for yourself, you’ll have to Google it, I’m not going to link to it here. 🙂 To learn more about how Google and other search engines work, take a look at SearchEngineWatch.com.

Most reliable search tool could be your librarian | CNET News.com
Your child wants to learn more about Martin Luther King Jr. You might consider consulting a librarian instead of Google, AOL or Microsoft search engines.

Google Books

People are talking about an article that appeared in the Washington Post yesterday in defence of Google Books. One of our librarians, Karen Pardue, sent it to me today. You can read the article on Washington Post Web site.(You may be asked to create a free account before you can access the article.)

The author Richard Ekman, president of the Council of Independent Colleges, makes the case that many books published today are only printed in limited runs and that, in the future, many fairly mainstream resources may be hard to access. Because Google Books only provides keyword searching of and limited access to the content of these copyrighted materials, he argues that it should be viewed as a valuable access tool which will ultimately increase the public’s demand for printed resources.

Another way of thinking about this might be the trailers that film companies make available to increase the public’s desire to see the whole movie. In my opinion, the most important component to Google’s new service is the link they provide to “find this book in a library”. In my experience this option is not always as useful as one would hope. Case in point being a search I just ran as a test. I searched Google Books for “San Luis Valley”. I found a book called Minot, North Dakota; Oroville-Tonasket, Washington; and San Luis Valley Project, Colorado–water resource legislation : hearing before the Subcommittee on Water and Power of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, United States Senate, One Hundredth Congress, first session, on S. 641 … S. 649 … S. 1549 … August 5, 1987. When I clicked on “Find in a Library” I was taken to OCLC’s Worldcat database, which is great. But upon entering my zip code I was given only one holding for this book in Colorado. If I weren’t a librarian, I might not realize that this is a Government Document and that many regional and selective depositories (of which my library is one) probably also have this document, but haven’t cataloged it separately.

My point is that I think there is a lot of potential for access to previously inaccessible materials via Google Book. However, I would encourage Google to continue to develop ties with local libraries that lead readers from the Google search page to the more specific sources of information.

Google Away!