Panlibus Blog

OCLC announce more links with Google

From the press release:

DUBLIN, Ohio, USA, 19 May 2008—OCLC and Google Inc. have signed an agreement to exchange data that will facilitate the discovery of library collections through Google search services.

Digging in to the detail, it looks like this will mean a few things.  Apart from Google Book Search providing a Find this book in a library link to WorldCat.org as already available from other parts of Google, it appears to be only relevant to OCLC member libraries which also participate in the Google Book Search program.

It means that these libraries are able to share the MARC records for the books they have contributed [to Google Book Search] with Google, to enable them to make them easier to discover.  I am not clear if OCLC rules prevented this sharing happening prior to the agreement.  

Implicitly this also means that Google, at least in the Book Search team, recognise the value of metadata created by the library profession for making books more discoverable.  Something the library community have been saying for a long time – parsing and indexing the content is only part of the solution to making books findable.

Also in the press release:

The new agreement enables OCLC to create MARC records describing the Google digitized books from OCLC member libraries and to link to them.

OCLC should therefore be creating catalogue records for the digitized books held by Google.   This meaning that a search in WorldCat will direct a searcher to the digitized manifestation as well as to the library that contributed it.   A great way to gain wider exposure to a library’s collection without necessarily increasing the number of people through it’s doors.

To enable OCLC to create catalogue records for items in the Google Book Search collection, Google must, I presume, have made some commitment to creating and maintaining a permanent  URI for each digitized book.  I wonder if those URIs are generally available, with a commitment to maintain them, in a way that others could reliably catalogue them?

The announcement is one of a continuing series additions to the Google Book Search service, such as the recent release of their API.   

Listening to Google Product Manager, Frances Haugen in her guest slot on the Library 2.0 Gang, it is obvious that at least one person in the Book Search team is interested in and motivated by libraries – lets hope we see even more links between them and the wider library community.

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