Panlibus Blog

A view of what it will be like when you take your head out of the sand.

Take a read of this – How Google Books is Changing Academic History. (Thanks to ebyblog for the heads up)

You may not be one of the folks with your head in the sand; who are not endlessly arguing about the suitability of Marc for 21st Century cataloguing; who are not against the march of Google digitization, because it is just plain wrong; who think if you build the most functional OPAC in the world people will flock towards it by magic.

You may not be, but I still bet you didn’t realize quite how useful Google Book Search is already becoming.

Hang around for a few more half years, watch out for some forward thinking deals in the publishing industry that emulate recent ones in the music world, and things could be very different.

A recipe for despair?  No just a heads up that things in the world of the Web move a heck of a lot faster than the world of Libraries are used to moving. 

We will have to shout-up, Open-up, and keep-up to stay connected and relevant.  Libraries and librarians have, do, and will have much to offer the world if we don’t get bypassed as being out of touch, out of date, and not relevant.

We have masses of high quality metadata stored in obscure databases or behind barriers created by cost, licensing, and/or institutional pride and selfishness.  If that data from the libraries of the world, which has been around for years, had been as easy to openly search as it is to traverse the texts in Google Book Search, the author of the post in question would have found his twenty extra books [and probably many more] a long time ago.

Let us open up our silos of data and share it with all; allowing it to be mined so that the relationships between that data can also be exposed to add even more value; and yes relate it to the full-texts that Google are amassing.

It is about time that the Libraries of the world moved on from jealously guarding the metadata about the knowledge that they hold, and let their librarians get back to guiding people towards and helping them interpret and interrelate the knowledge itself.

Rant over…..


(Image posted by spcoon in Flickr)


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