Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Google and collaboration

I'm a big fan of collaboration. When I was a library director, I enlisted the help of local business folks to be presenters at the library's program series. They got free advertising, we got a presenter that knew what they were talking about, everybody won. When you've got someone who does something really well, take advantage of that fact and see if you can enlist their help.

There has been rather continuous grumbling about Google, which seems to grow with each new innovation. While they do some things that I find disturbing (i.e., censoring web pages in China) they do others that are incredible. Enter the Google Librarian.

They say in their site:
Librarians and Google share a similar mission: to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. We support librarians who work each day to further that mission. This site is a first step toward improving and expanding that support.
Librarians can sign up for updates, news of new features, and get their newsletter.

I got the latest issue of the newsletter this morning. It has a number of links that are definitely worth exploring. There's a link to a blogger who wrote a program to determine whether a book in Google Book Search is available in your library.

Another great link is to a PDF that Google has created, with very simple search instructions, to help searchers get better results. (Ahem. We could take a page from their book and do this with our own library search software.)

So. Google is creating helpful tools, discovering folks who are linking to their work and telling people about it, and are reaching out to librarians so that we can work together to help people find information. I say, let's quit vilifying Google and start taking advantage of the stuff they have to offer.


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