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Date: Friday, 11 Jul 2008 10:38

As you may have noticed, we've taken a somewhat leisurely summer break here at Librarian Central. We've been thinking about how to best communicate with you, our audience, and as a result, we've decided to close this blog in order to focus on our newsletter.

We began our outreach to the librarian community with the intention of sharing information with you about Google. This includes information about our library partnerships, products that you might find useful and details about Google Book Search. We're still committed to these goals.

To that end, we're going to provide news, product features and other Google-related announcements through our Google Librarian Newsletter, which we'll send out every few months. The Newsletter has also been on holiday, but today it's back in full effect: you can read our current issue online, and if you're not already receiving the newsletter by email you can subscribe to it here.

As always, past editions are available to view at any time on the Google Librarian Central site. Working in tandem with this page is Google for Educators, a resource for information about how to use a wide range of Google tools. We'll use the Google for Educators page to post teaching tools like our posters and tip sheets.

We want to thank everyone who has read or commented on the blog, subscribed to the newsletter or sent us an email. We've learned a lot from you about the resources you're looking for, and we greatly appreciate that you've taken the time to guide us. We want to keep this dialogue open, so please stay in touch with us.

Enjoy your summer, in moderation of course. We look forward to sending you our next newsletter.
Author: "Librarian Central (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Friday, 29 Jun 2007 12:37

Like many of you, those of us who were in DC last weekend are still recovering from the excitement of ALA (phew!). I want to thank everyone who came by to visit us at the Google booth. Meeting with you face-to-face is one of the best parts of my job. It never fails to make me reflect anew on the best ways to stay connected.

This summer, our blog team is taking a break to think about the best ways to communicate with you and keep you updated on what's happening with Google. We're not leaving you hanging, though. There are a number of great resources with which you can continue to stay current on Google news and updates:
And depending on your own interests, you may also find the following to be useful reads:Whatever your plans are for the summer, I hope you'll get a chance to kick back and relax. Stay cool!
Author: "Librarian Central (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Wednesday, 27 Jun 2007 18:04

On Sunday morning I had the pleasure of attending my colleague Ben Bunnell's session at ALA: Google Presents: New Developments. He talked about the addition of metadata records to Book Search results and other new features and updates for tools like News Archive Search and Google Patent Search. But he was especially excited to talk about Google Custom Search Engine (CSE), which makes it easy for anyone to create their own customized search engine. It turns out the CSE team just released a bit of code to make it even easier.

Let's say you've created a customized library website where you've spent years (literally) compiling links to specific resources that are useful to your community. To take advantage of your knowledge and expertise -- your "filter" for the web -- people regularly search your site and click on the useful links. Now imagine offering your fellow librarians or patrons a custom search engine built from the resources you've painstakingly collected -- without having to build it manually, URL by URL.

That's what the Custom Search team's new 'on the fly' feature lets you do. You no longer have to manually indicate which websites you'd like people to be able to search. Instead, you can embed a piece of code in your web page that automatically creates a CSE from the links on the page. And it's automatically updated, so if you add new links to your collection, the content on those websites will also be added to your search engine.

What will your search results look like? Here's an example, courtesy of our Custom Search blog: check out the abundance of Artificial Intelligence-related links on this Berkeley page, then see the results from the query "planning" using a CSE created for that page 'on the fly.'

If you have a website with links to specialized resources you want to share with people, go ahead and give it a try -- and pass the word along!
Author: "Librarian Central (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Friday, 22 Jun 2007 18:04

You may have noticed the nifty book-and-library-card Google logo on the pages of Librarian Central, but you probably don't know the story behind it. Dennis Hwang, longtime Google webmaster and the designer of countless Google holiday logos, created this one in April 2005 to celebrate National Library Week. According to a recent BusinessWeek article, "The Man Behind the Doodle," in 2005 "librarians around the country lobbied Hwang for a National Library Week doodle. After he created one, he received a big care package complete with a librarian action figure that shushed."

Sometimes, apparently, all you have to is ask. And on that note, I would really like a shushing librarian action figure of my own (like this one).
Author: "Librarian Central (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Tuesday, 19 Jun 2007 10:49

Heading to ALA this year? If you're curious about the latest Google search tools, developments, and features, here are some sessions and events you may want to add to your itinerary:

  • Find out how to make your library's scholarly holdings discoverable via Google Scholar at Google Scholar and Your Library, which takes place Monday at 1:30pm in room 201 of the Washington Convention Center.

  • Get the scoop on how our expanding Library Project is shaping up at the LITA session The Google Five Libraries -- Two Years, Six Months, and Seven Days in the Life of the Google Library Project on Saturday at 4:00pm in the Renaissance Washington's Grand Ballroom.

  • Hear about the latest features and uses for Google Book Search, Custom Search Engine, and other tools from Googler/librarian Ben Bunnell at Google Presents: New Developments on Sunday at 10:30am in Room 143B of the Washington Convention Center.

  • Visit the Google booth (#1943) -- we'll show you "What's Cooking in Google Labs" in our teaching theater, and you can test your mad search skillz with our online scavenger hunt. You'll also find more tangible treats (edible and otherwise), and (back by popular demand) our giant Google doodle.

(Click here for more info on these sessions and to RSVP).

As for me, ALA just isn't ALA without a peek at the Book Cart Drill Team World Championship.

See you in DC!
Author: "Librarian Central (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Thursday, 07 Jun 2007 12:34

This morning, as I tinkered with slides for a talk that I'm giving at the ALA Annual Meeting on Google Scholar and Libraries, a recent statistic on our Scholar Library Links program caught my eye. In fact, it made me exclaim "Holy moly!" out loud, much to my cubemates' amusement. I was amazed to see that Library Links -- a program that we launched just over two years ago to facilitate the connection between Scholar search results and libraries' electronic journal collections -- is now more than 1,200 libraries strong.

This number is significant not only because of its sheer size, but more so because it indicates how successful the links have become in uniting many Google Scholar users to the digital content that libraries have licensed. In fact, participating libraries are seeing a 10-20% click-through rate on these links -- quite a high number considering typical user behavior on search results pages. Because we're invested in making research accessible to as many as possible, whether folks are searching from a library terminal or from home, figures such as these are encouraging. We still have much work to do, however, to fill the link-resolver gap and reach out to everyone that we can: numerous libraries with link resolvers have not yet shared their holdings information with Scholar, many libraries simply don't have resolvers in place, and others, particularly in developing countries, lack the resources to implement them, even if they have access to electronic journals.

If your library does not have a link resolver and you'd like to join the Library Links program, get in touch with us at scholar-library@google.com. We can help find a free solution that is right for you. And if you are working with a link resolver vendor to share your holdings information with Google Scholar, be sure to register the entire set of your IPs! The more exposure that we can provide to your licensed collections for all of your patrons, the better.

And for those of you following news about Google Book Search, just yesterday we announced that the CIC, a consortium of 10 Midwestern universities (the Big 10 plus the University of Chicago), has signed on as Library Partner. See the Inside Book Search post about this for more information.
Author: "Librarian Central (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Tuesday, 05 Jun 2007 14:57

Yesterday afternoon, I delivered a talk entitled Google Presents: New Developments to a packed room of special librarians from around the country. I talked about Universal Search, Hot Trends, News Archive Search, a few other recent launches, and also answered questions from the audience. I thought a few of the question and answers might be of interest to a broader audience, so here they are.

Q: Are international newspapers included in Google News?
A: Absolutely. We are working with news providers from around the world. In fact, you can limit your News search to sources from a particular country, by typing the country name in the Advanced News Search page or by including location:country in your query. For example, try a search for "global warming" location:UK to see News articles on global warming from UK news sources.
More information on Google News.

Q: Can you set up a Google Alert for Google Patents, so you're notified when a relevant patent is added?
A: Currently, you can only set up Google Alerts for new information from our Web, Google Groups, Blog Search or News indexes (or you can set up a comprehensive alert that includes all four). Adding Patents to this selection would be a great idea. Thanks for the suggestion -- we'll pass it on to the team at Google.
More information on Google Patents.

Q: I have some Google Alerts set up but they're not always that relevant, and sometimes they link to older information. How can I fix this?
A: A great way to refine your Alerts is by using advanced search before you set up an Alert. For example, to refine your News Alerts, try the Advanced News Search page. Once you're happy with the results you get from an advanced search, copy and paste your advanced search query into the search box on the Google Alerts home page, so you can use that same query for your Alert.
More information on Google Alerts.
Author: "Librarian Central (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Thursday, 31 May 2007 13:03

As the product manager for Google Reader, I've always felt that our team and librarians have similar goals: we both want to help people access interesting and useful content. Since Google Reader has just launched offline functionality, I figured now would be a good time to highlight this useful tool. In fact, many librarians are already using Google Reader to keep their subscriptions and feeds organized. For those of you who haven't tried it yet, here are are some of the things you can do with Google Reader:

* share items of interest with friends and family on your public page
* read your feeds on your iGoogle homepage or on your mobile phone
* easily import existing feeds from your current feed reader

And now, with a new small plug-in, you can read your feeds offline too. To learn more about Google Reader, read the Getting Started info. Then give it a try and let us know what you think!
Author: "Librarian Central (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Tuesday, 29 May 2007 12:05

After a number of edits and iterations, I'm pleased to announce that the newest issue of the Google Librarian Newsletter has just been released. In this newsletter, we train the spotlight on Google Custom Search Engine. In the feature articles, Software Engineer R.V Guha explains Google Custom Search Engine and its features, and contributing writer Dan Appleman talks about how CSE enables him and like-minded developers to find the information they need faster. As usual, we also bring you the "Best of the Blog" and other releases and announcements. We hope you enjoy reading.

To sign up to receive future newsletters, join the Google Group.
To read past issues of the newsletter, check out the archives.

And should you have suggestions for the format or layout of the newsletter, please let us know.
Author: "Librarian Central (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Friday, 25 May 2007 10:41

We've been asked quite a few times whether or not we were planning to attend the annual SLA (Special Libraries Association) conference. We have good news: in about a week, a contingent of Googlers will be heading to SLA 2007 in Denver, Colorado, for three days of product demos, stimulating discussion, and good old-fashioned library-show fun.

We'll be at booth #338 in the exhibit hall, so please drop by to see what's new with Google. Also, we invite you to attend our speaking session,"Google Presents: New Developments," on Monday, June 4th. Click here for more information and to register for the session. See you in the Mile High City!

Google Holds Third Google Teacher Academy

A few weeks ago, Cristin Frodella announced an upcoming GTA (Google Teacher Academy) and invited you to apply. Well, this week, we held the third GTA in Santa Monica, California, with a fantastic group of educators, including librarians from Orange, Simi Valley, and Long Beach, CA. You can read more about the event here.
Author: "Librarian Central (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Thursday, 24 May 2007 13:00

For some time, you could use Google Translate to translate chunks of text, or even whole web pages, instantly, from one language into another. For non-native English speakers, researchers, or just the curious, this feature has allowed users to access and digest information in languages they do not read or speak. Google Translate was born out of the belief that the search for information must be able to transcend language barriers, and the librarian who sent us the following note surely agrees:

"I'm a librarian at a major public library. A couple of days ago, a woman approached the reference desk and asked about finding local government information in Spanish. I showed her how to use your language translation page, and her response was so enthusiastic I was overwhelmed. She told me I opened a whole new world for her! It was a great feeling to help this woman!"

But what if this library patron could not only translate chunks of text or single web pages? What if she could conduct, in Spanish, full searches over English content and read the complete results in her native tongue? Well, now she can. We're happy to announce that as of today, users can now search in their native languages for content in other languages, and have that content served to them in their own languages. Instantly.

Check out Google Translate at http://translate.google.com and then select the "Search Results" tab. Please note that while this feature is currently available for a handful of major languages, we're working to expand this list.

For more details on this launch, see the post on the main Google blog.
Author: "Librarian Central (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Wednesday, 23 May 2007 16:07

Hot on the heels of last week's announcements of a partnership with the Lausanne University Library and the launch of a more comprehensive Book Search index, we're pleased to announce today that the library of the Ghent University in Belgium has signed on as our fifteenth library partner. We look forward to working with them to make their thousands of public domain works -- in Dutch, French, and other languages -- discoverable to readers around the world.

For more information, see our Book Search blog post.
Author: "Librarian Central (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Thursday, 17 May 2007 10:53

Google Book Search just got a lot more comprehensive. Today on the Inside Book Search blog comes the news that we're now including results for many more books -- including ones that we have not digitized through our partnerships with publishers and libraries. We've added metadata records to the Google Book Search index, which means you can now search across a much more comprehensive index of books and find places to buy or borrow the books that interest you.

In order to make the larger index easy for you and your patrons to navigate, you can filter your results based on viewability. In addition, the book's "About this book" page often includes reviews, web references, and book references. And as before, patrons can click on the "Find this book in a library" link to access a physical copy at a local library, thanks to our union catalog partners. (As with Library Catalog Search, the union catalog you'll click through to will depend on where you are in the world -- among the more than 20 union catalogs we're working with are those from the U.S., France, Spain, China, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, Israel, Hungary, Poland, Denmark, Iceland, Lithuania, Armenia, Bulgaria, Estonia, and South Africa).

By searching over library union catalogs and other third party metadata sources, you and your patrons will be able to find even more relevant books. Give it a try at http://books.google.com.
Author: "Librarian Central (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Tuesday, 15 May 2007 14:14

Today, we announced that the University of Lausanne Library in Lausanne, Switzerland is our 14th Book Search Library Partner. We will work with our first French-language library partner to digitize the university's thousands of public domain works (which are not only in French but also in English, German, Latin, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, etc). We're excited to make this collection discoverable to readers and researchers around the world.

In the spirit of discovery, I decided to use Google Book Search to see if I could find any nuggets of information on the University Library of Lausanne. I quickly learned, on page 2,502 of the Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, that the Library of the University of Lausanne has "roots in the Reformation." We're proud to welcome this historically significant library to our group of partners.

Click here to learn more about the Google Books Library Project.
Author: "Pam (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Monday, 07 May 2007 10:01

Earlier this week, I had a great time talking to librarians at WebSearch University. I normally talk with webmasters, so it was great to look at our search index from another perspective -- from that of Google's power searchers. Talking to people and getting such valuable feedback and insight is one of my favorite parts of my job.

One question that came up was about personalized search. Librarians are often researching on behalf of clients, and the audience wondered how to keep these searches separate from personal searches.

One way to do this is to log in to your Google Account when doing personal searches and then log out when doing client searches. This ensures both that you get personalized results and that your client research results aren't influenced by our personalized search algorithms. You can now enable Web History, which can help quite a bit in providing the most relevant, useful search results possible for your personal searches, but you may not want that history impacting research for clients.

Another option is to pause Web History when you do client searches. This will prevent those searches from influencing your personalized search results. But keep in mind that even with Web History paused, the search results you see when you are logged in will still be personalized.

If you are teaching students, note that they might see slightly different search results not only due to personalization, but due to fluctuations between data centers. We route searchers to the data center that will return the fastest results based on factors such as regional location and network traffic, and results at each data center may vary slightly as we update them. In addition, we are always refreshing our index and updating our results, so students may not get exactly the same search results when they do an assignment as when you prepare it.

For more on Web History, visit the FAQ.
Author: "Librarian Central (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Tuesday, 01 May 2007 10:12

On Friday, I visited the New York Public Library to attend a light-hearted ceremony honoring the 25 best references chosen by its committee of librarians for the Best of Reference 2007. I was there to represent Google Patent Search, one this year's award recipients. As an engineer who's worked on Patent Search, it feels great to have a panel of information professionals pick our search tool. The committee describes Patent Search this way: "This handy website will show you who invented what, when they invented what they invented, and where they invented it, too. Last but not least, you will even learn how they invented it. A quick and easy way to research the many inventions that have made our lives easier." (I might also add that you can search the full text of more than seven million U.S. patents, scroll through pages or zoom in on text and illustrations, download PDFs of patents, and that you'll also see Patent results when you do a search on Google Scholar.)

During the fun series of skits and videos, I learned about some of the other winners, a few of which I've bookmarked to check out on my own. Namely, A Global History of Architecture ("a wild and unexpected romp through the world’s most famous buildings, organized chronologically and cutting across continents") and Recalls.gov ("search current and past recalls posted by six separate federal agencies of everything from Acme toys to peanut butter to Zenith TVs").

If you haven't yet given Google Patent Search a whirl, I suggest getting a feel for it by searching for some seemingly bizarre ideas, like a jumping snail, a collapsible car, or a disappearing chair. Enjoy!
Author: "Librarian Central (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Wednesday, 25 Apr 2007 09:33

A couple of months ago I published this post about the Authors@Google program -- a program through which we invite authors to Google to share their ideas and talk about books, stories, research, and more. And I linked to the collection of taped talks in Google Video. They're still there, but I'm happy to let you know that Authors@Google now has a site to call its own. Check out our new home at www.google.com/talks/authors. Here you'll find the full (and growing) set of videos from the authors who have visited our participating offices worldwide (Mountain View and Santa Monica, CA; New York City; Ann Arbor, MI; Kirkland, WA; Boulder, CO; and London and Dublin across the pond).

Since I last posted, Jonathan Lethem, Strobe Talbott, Bob & Lee Woodruff, Tom Bissell, Allan Brandt, Don Tapscott, Senator Hillary Clinton, Eve Ensler, Jeff Cohen, and Carly Fiorina -- among others! -- have all visited us to share their thoughts and talk about their books. We're thrilled to be able to share these events with you, so do bookmark our page and visit often.

P.S. This weekend the Authors@Google team will be at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, the largest book event in the United States, to show off our new site and library of events. If you happen to be attending on the UCLA campus, stop by our booth and say hello.
Author: "Librarian Central (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Monday, 23 Apr 2007 15:28

When we visit our Google Book Search library partners or attend librarian conferences, I often get questions of particular interest to the library community, such as, "Does scanning harm the books?" and "How are digitization priorities set?" While we already have an online FAQ that's geared to librarians, we now have a new handout to help answer these questions. It's online and available for downloading, so if you want to learn more about Book Search or need a handout for a presentation about it, feel free to grab the file and distribute it to anyone who wants one. (And if the handout doesn't answer all your questions, visit the Book Search support center -- you may find your answer there.)
Author: "Librarian Central (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Tuesday, 17 Apr 2007 14:45

What better time than National Library Week to recognize those of you who dedicate yourselves to helping people find information? Given that our mission isn't too different from what many of you do, we feel privileged to have your ear, and are thankful for the thoughtful feedback and suggestions you make -- through comments on this blog, email to our feedback queue, and at the conferences we attend throughout the year. We continually benefit from your cogent product analyses and your thoughtful feature ideas -- not to mention your speedy typo alerts. Thank you.

In the spirit of continuing this conversation, we're pleased to let you know that in June we'll be exhibiting again at ALA. We're looking forward to seeing you at our booth (#1943) and at the programs we have planned. Keep an eye out for more details coming soon. In the meantime, we congratulate you for the valuable work that you do. Have a great week!
Author: "Librarian Central (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Thursday, 12 Apr 2007 10:15

Today, the ALSC and libraries around the world are celebrating Drop Everything and Read day, a day when we can all celebrate reading for leisure and enjoyment. Libraries around the world are marking the day with family programming, group readings, and storytimes -- from the Timberland Regional Library in Tumwater, Washington to the Woodford County Library in Versailles, Kentucky to the Norfolk Public Library in Norfolk, Virginia to the National Library Board in Singapore, and our own Book Search team has blogged about the origins of DEAR day.

These days, I'm engrossed in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, which, as part of the Discovering Sherlock Holmes program run by Stanford University, have been mailed to me as they originally appeared in The Strand Magazine. What about you? If you're not in the midst of a good read, why not take some time today to browse your library's shelves for something you can sink your teeth into -- or delve into Google Book Search for a topic of interest and use the "Find this book in a library" link to find the nearest library (it could be yours) that holds a copy.
Author: "Librarian Central (noreply@blogger.com)"
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