Monday, 5 October 2009

Complementing the OPAC With a Full Text Search Book Catalogue

In part by way of a follow up to the Engaging With the Issues Raised By The Google Book Settlement , here's a very recent example of a Library that has engaged with Google Booksearch to produce a custom full text booksearch engine built around some of their holdings: 150 year old Wiltshire library goes digital - thanks to Google

The Wiltshire Heritage Museum library has just gone online with a full digital library created in just 5 months using the controversial Google Books service.

Wiltshire Heritage Library does Google books....

How so? By using the Google Books personal library facility: My Library, which allows you to create a custom search engine limited to searching over the full text of the books you have added to your Google book library.

At the moment there's not a lot of branding on the Wiltshire Heritage page, and the URL is a vanilla rather than redirected one (or even a vanity URL), but the functionality is there...

Wiltshite Heritage library on Google books

That said, there is a Google Books API to code against for developing custom services based around this collection. The default RSS feed provides a feed of the books added most recently to the Google books collection.

There is also potential for embedding the search facility within the Wiltshire Heritage Library domain using Google's Co-Branded Search facility.

Here's an example of such a cobranded experience, from Penn State University. First, the search box:

Penn State Google booksarch

The results page can be branded along the top:

Searching Penn State with Google books

For books with a limited or full preview, the preview page can be similarly branded:

Penn State -= google books preview

In the context of the Cambridge Libraries, I'd have thought that the sheer number of affiliated libraries means that there is at least the potential for running a small trial of this service over some of the holdings from one of the departmental or College libraries? Or maybe not...

Although not a full text search service, LibraryThing's LibraryThing for Libraries service can complement a legacy OPAC with book recommendations and tag based pivot searching around a particular book using the wisdom of the LibraryThing userbase.

LibraryThing for Libraries is currently being trialled by the OU Library with their Voyager OPAC, as this example of tag based browsing around a particular book result shows:

LibraryThing for Libraries at the OU

See also this list of examples of LibraryThing for Libraries in action.

No comments: