Endless summer

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.

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Our summer break

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!

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Creating your Custom Search Engine just got easier

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!

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The power of a doodle

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).

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Google at ALA

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!

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Google Scholar Library Links Hits 1,200 Participating Libraries

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.

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Greetings from SLA

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.

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