Google’s Scholarly and Digitzation Initiatives

A couple of articles and notes about Google’s massive digitization project with libraries and Google Scholar to post here. Both come from the library and librarian community. Btw, in case you don’t already know, your SEW News Editor is also a librarian.

Roy Tennant (a living legend in my profession) writes about how Google has been not very forthcoming with details about their digitizaton project with the participating libraries. He also discusses the large amount of copyright research that Google faces in the Library Journal article, Google Out of Print.

A recent blog entry by Elizabeth Edwards, a Stanford University Libraries staff member, is particularly enlightening. According to Edwards, who was briefed on the Stanford-Google plan along with other staffers at a January meeting, “the company has not yet been forthcoming as to how the process of digitization will be implemented in detail; however, Google’s process is characterized as ‘industrial-strength digitization.'” Characterized by whom and with what evidence is unknown or unstated.

Edwards further states that “Google is being ‘coy’ about standards and specs; minimums have been given but little to no fixed specs.” It is difficult to judge the potential effectiveness of a project that provides no details.

From day one I’ve taken a wait and see attitude about this project. It sounds great in print (no pun intended) but execution (digitizing the material) and then making it findable and usable, especially when the company told me they had no plans to offer a Google Print interface is another story. I could go on but I’ll save that for another time.

I was’t surprised about Google offering minimal details about how this was all going to work during the initial press announcement/hype period. However, I’ll admit to being surprised that Google to this point hasn’t offered much info to the Stanford Library. Bottom Line: I guess we’re ALL still waiting and watching.

On the Google Scholar front, CrossRef (a project to make citation linking easier) and the 35 publishers participating in the CrossRef/Google Pilot (a review of the service here) met to discuss the pilot and Google Scholar. A post in the CrossRef newsletter gives us some details about Google and CrossRef talked about in the January meeting.

+ Google agreed with the principle that if there are multiple versions of an article shown in the Google Scholar search results, the first link will be to the publisher’s authoritative copy.

+ Google would like to use the DOI as the primary means to link to an article.

Finally, the newsletter describes Google Scholar as, “..a very broad search of all the web and includes any material that ‘looks scholarly.'” It’s a good description but the “looks scholarly” part made me smile. Why? I can’t figure out how:
+ press releases
+ Someones resume (last item) and here (last item)
+ Government contract bid announcements

and other types of material “look scholarly” using even the broadest definition.

Many thanks to DD for the news tip.

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