Google Librarian Newsletter: Collaborating with Google Docs & Spreadsheets

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Google Librarian Newsletter

Mar 28, 2007, 1:49:12 PM3/28/07
If you have trouble reading the newsletter below, you can access it online at

March 2007

In This Issue:
  Letter from the editor

  Google Docs & Spreadsheets:
    Collaborating in the classroom or library

Best of the Blog:
  Your library in Google Groups
  Explore the world in books
  Import citations from Google Scholar
  Start your Custom Search Engines
  Google Book Search by the numbers
  Resource update: Google for Educators

Releases & Announcements:

  New posters, bookmarks & more
  Librarian wanted

Your Two Cents:

  You never know what you'll need to know

Now accepting applications for the next Google Teacher Academy
Are you involved in professional development? Do you work in the K-12 arena? Are you located in Southern California? If so, we encourage you to apply to participate in the next Google Teacher Academy, taking place in Santa Monica, CA on May 23rd. The full-day seminar, open to librarians, will explore how educators can apply a range of technology tools in the classroom. Learn more.
Letter from the editor

Welcome to the seventh issue of the Google Librarian Newsletter

Since we last published an official issue of this newsletter, we've made some big changes to bring you more up-to-date, timely information. The biggest change has been the transformation of our Librarian Center from a relatively static website to an interactive weblog: Google Librarian Central. You told us that a blog would open up more channels for communication and collaboration, and we have to say – you were spot-on. We've been bringing you a steady stream of news and updates from around Google, and we're thrilled that, in turn, you've been leaving comments and asking questions. Thank you.

In the same spirit of collaboration, we're focusing in this newsletter on a tool we've been using more and more to collaborate with one another on group projects: Google Docs & Spreadsheets. Chris Case, a guest writer, has lent his expertise to give you a complete introduction to the tool. He's a teacher, but he believes anyone working with students can benefit from getting to know Docs & Spreadsheets. This tool lets you create any kind of document (or a spreadsheet) and invite people to collaborate on it, with each revision saved in your online account for easy review. In our "Features" section, you can read about real-world applications for this kind of collaborative software (sometimes called "cloud computing"), and get tips from Chris on using Docs & Spreadsheets both for your own projects and for library instruction.

The next section, "Best of the Blog," brings you product updates, how-tos, and news relevant to the library community – the cream of the crop from Google Librarian Central. You'll find everything from a post on using the new features in Google Groups to create an online community for your library to step-by-step instructions for importing citations from Google Scholar.

Finally, the "Your Two Cents" section features stories from people using Google tools in unique or novel ways. The debut story had us in stitches – we hope it has the same effect on you!

As always, we encourage you to drop us a line if you have comments, questions, or feedback to share.

Thanks for reading,
Pamela Saenger
Associate Marketing Manager, Librarian Outreach


Google Docs & Spreadsheets: Collaborating in the classroom or library
By Chris Case

Middle-school teacher Chris Case describes how Google Docs & Spreadsheets has transformed his classroom , and offers tips to help you get the most out of it. (If you're a school librarian, feel free to pass this along to your teacher colleagues.)

Best of the Blog

Your library in Google Groups

In January, engineer Griff Hazen blogged about the latest updates to Google Groups, which now allows you to:

Learn more about Google Groups by taking a tour or start your group now by visiting .

Read the full post

Explore the world in books

Did you know that Google Book Search now includes maps of the places mentioned in books? Software engineer Chiu-Ki shared a few of her favorite examples, including:

Read the full post

Import citations from Google Scholar

Looking for an easy way to keep track of what you find in Google Scholar? Manager Ben Bunnell wrote about the citation import feature, which lets you to save citations automatically to your bibliography manager.

To find it, go to Google Scholar, click on the Scholar Preferences link to the right of the Scholar search box, scroll to the bottom of the Scholar Preferences page, and in the "Bibliography Manager" section, click the radio button next to "Show link to import citations into" and choose the citation manager format you prefer: BibTeX, EndNote, RefMan, etc. Then click the "Save Preferences" button.

Read the full post

Start your Custom Search Engines

In our last newsletter, we told you about how you can use Google Coop to create your own customized search engine, and pointed you to our Custom Search Engine Starter Guide (PDF), available for download from the Teaching Tools page at Librarian Central. In February, marketing manager Jen Hyman followed up with a post about some of the best librarian and teacher search engines we've come across. If you haven't taken the plunge, we think these examples might inspire you:

It's free, and there's no limit to the number of search engines you can create.

Read the full post

Google Book Search by the numbers

After we announced earlier this month that the Bavarian State Library had become the 13th library to join Google Book Search as a partner, manager Ben Bunnell gathered the latest numbers to demonstrate how far the project has come since its launch:

Publisher partners: More than 10,000 from around the world
Library partners: 13 today
Books in the index: Over a million
Book Search interfaces: 9 (English, French, Italian , German, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, and Simplified and Traditional Chinese)

Read the full post

Resource update: Google for Educators

Cristin Frodella, manager of K-12 programs, recently gave us the scoop on updates to the Google for Educators website, which now offers new tools, classroom activities , classroom posters, and a Google for Educators discussion group .

Read the full post

Releases & Announcements  

New posters, bookmarks & more

The Google Search Tips poster is one of our most popular downloads -- so popular, in fact, that we've received multiple requests for bookmark and table tent versions. Now they're here, along with a new poster designed to help you teach your patrons the surprising things they can do using the single search box at (note: these are PDF files):

Check out the rest of our Teaching Tools at Google Librarian Central. 

Librarian Wanted

Many of you have asked us whether Google is hiring librarians. Of course, some of us are librarians (like manager Ben Bunnell). But every once in a while an opportunity opens up specifically for librarians. Ben recently blogged about just such an opening:

"As the Google Book Search project grows and more libraries sign on to participate, the need for good, comprehensive collection analysis becomes ever more pressing. We're looking for a stellar collections person who will thrive in the controlled chaos that is Google, someone who will not only dive deeply into the collections we've scanned to date, but help us as we develop new library relationships with the goal of digitizing the world's books.

If you know cataloging and collections inside and out, and if the sheer hugeness of this project makes you as giddy as it does me, click to view the job posting and send us your resume via the 'Add to job cart' link at the bottom of the page."

Read the full post

Your Two Cents  

You never know what you'll need to know
By Anita Yuen, Senior Product Marketing Manager

When people share their stories about how Google has made a difference in their lives, we're happy because we know we're doing our jobs. But it also gives us the opportunity to learn about the vast breadth of information you can find on Google. Like, oh, say, how to find a Russian tortoise. Wrote Jim Lyness:

"After Christmas, my son Sam wanted a turtle. We bought a Russian tortoise instead and named him 'Rocky.' Well, one day, we let Rocky out for a stroll around the house. We could not find him that night and into the afternoon the following day. After the boys went to school, my wife, Susan, and I were stumped. Did Rocky get out the front door? My wife told me I was crazy. Susan googled 'How to find a Russian tortoise,' and bang -- we had a game plan. Russian tortoises like warm, dark spaces. We started in the boys bedroom, again. We pulled the bunk bed back and there was Rocky at the head of the bed. Case solved. When we tell friends and family about googling 'How to find a Russian tortoise,' they bust a gut in laughter!"

If you have a story like this, we'd love to hear it. Tell us about your experience, or post a video about it (and be sure to tag it "Google testimonial" so we can find it!). 

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