Thursday, December 22, 2005

Google Librarian Newsletter

Google Librarian Newsletter. Google has launched a new way to communicate with librarians. The first issue of the Google Librarian Newsletter is online. Google plans on publishing this on a quarterly basis.

In the words of Google, "In an effort to keep those conversations going, we're launching this newsletter. Consider it a first step toward what we hope will be a long and mutually beneficial relationship. We anticipate sending it out quarterly, with the occasional special feature as appropriate."

They are also seeking feedback from librarians and have a special e-mail address for librarians to use for this purpose.

Here are two suggestions from me:

1. Google should seriously consider using the expertise of the library community to help make the Google index better. Many of us surf extensively in doing our jobs (particularly reference work) and we find spam sites in the index all the time. What if Google had a special page librarians could use to report this spam? Reports from this page would be given faster attention than those from the general community.

Google should require proof that users of this feature are librarians. Hence, some proving of identity would be required. Also, some training should also be offered either online or at conferences. But as a whole, why not? Google would get a better index and librarians would get a better Google to help find information for patrons.

2. Google should consider getting into the open source journal movement. Libraries are being killed by predatory journal owners who are taking work produced by university faculty and then reselling it back to the universities at a continually inflated price. Our budgets can not keep up.

What if Google started hosting open source journals? How about Google Journals? Google could provide the web space and the publicity and maybe appoint initial members of a journal board. From there, the journal could run itself and a free method of distributing scholarly peer reviewed material will have been born. This would not cost Google much money but would generate considerable good will. And it would almost assure that high quality scholarly research would do well in search engines and be found by students and researchers.

I am sure I will have more ideas for Google in the future...

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