Google Librarian Newsletter: Delving into Google Scholar

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Google Librarian Newsletter

Dec 6, 2006, 3:18:55 PM12/6/06
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December 2006

In This Issue:

Letter from the Editor

  Q&A with Google Scholar's founding engineer
  Meet the Scholar team
  Video: Scholar overview at ALA 2006
  Add Scholar to your site

Updates and Releases:
  A new way to browse books online
  More books in more languages
  Create your own search engine
  Explore Africa with Google Earth
  Share and edit with Google Docs & Spreadsheets
  On alert for bloggers
  Connect with literacy activists around the world
Harvard University Opens
Immigration Collection
Harvard University's Open Collections Program has launched " Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930," a web-based collection of approximately 1,800 books and pamphlets, 6,000 photographs, 200 maps, and 13,000 pages from manuscript and archival collections selected from Harvard's library, archives and museums. The collection is available to Internet users everywhere. By incorporating diaries, biographies and other writings capturing diverse experiences, the collected material provides a window into the lives of ordinary immigrants. In addition to thousands of items now accessible, the collection includes contextual information on immigration and quantitative data.
More information
Harvard digital collections overview
Receive regular updates on digital collections at Harvard

Welcome to the sixth issue of the Google Librarian Newsletter

We think a lot about Google's role in connecting people to scholarly and academic information, both on the web and in libraries. For us, a core imperative is increasing searchability – helping people discover more of the world's information. Therefore, in this issue we focus on Google Scholar – our effort to empower people to "stand on the shoulders of giants," benefiting from the work of intellectual forbears and peers. We've included a Q&A with Anurag Acharya, Google Scholar's founding engineer, as well as introductions to other members of the team.

In our Updates and Releases section, we give you the latest news on a wide range of tools and resources to find, manage and share information: Google Book Search, Google Co-op, Google Earth, Google Docs & Spreadsheets, Google Alerts, Google Reader and more.

We hope you find this newsletter useful. As always, we encourage you to ask questions and tell us what you think .

Thanks for reading,

Jodi Healy
Manager, Library Partnerships Team

Q&A with Anurag Acharya, Google Scholar founding engineer

What is the Library Search program? How can my library participate in Library Links if we don't use a link resolver? How does Google come up with the "cited by" number in Google Scholar results? Read answers to these and other pertinent questions in a wide-ranging interview with Anurag Acharya.

Meet the Google Scholar Team

Curious about the people behind Google Scholar? Follow this link for personal introductions from Alex Verstak (a software engineer who has worked on Scholar since its inception and developed the Library Links program), Robert Tansley (who researches and develops systems to index and archive digital content), and Christian DiCarlo (who develops content partnerships so we can make more scholarly literature searchable online).

Video: Book Search and Scholar overview at ALA 2006

How did Google Scholar get its start? At this year's ALA annual conference, our own Ben Bunnell gave a talk on the history of Google Book Search and Google Scholar, including examples of how librarians are using them. Now you can watch his presentation at the Google Librarian Center, and in Google Video.

Add Scholar to your Site

You can add the power of Google Scholar to your library's website. Check out how schools like the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and Drexel University have implemented the Scholar search box on their sites. To add it to yours, follow the simple instructions on this page.

And don't forget – we have a poster and flyer with tips to help your patrons get the most out of Google Scholar.

A new way to browse books online

As part of our quest to bring the world of books to Internet users, we've made improvements to the way we display books in Google Book Search so browsing is easier and more intuitive. Along the way, we revised our "About this book" page to give you more relevant information, including lists of keywords, selected pages, books and articles that cite the book, lists of similar books, and more. For details on all the new features, check out the official announcement on the Google blog: A new way to browse books .

If you're not yet familiar with Google Book Search, check out the fourth Librarian Newsletter, which focused on Book Search, or watch Ben Bunnell's talk on the history of Google Book Search and Google Scholar, including examples of how librarians are using them. It's available at the Google Librarian Center and in Google Video.

More books in more languages

Over the past few months we've welcomed three new partners to the Google Books Library Project in an effort to make their extraordinary collections more accessible and discoverable by people everywhere. Read more about these partnerships by following the links here.

Create your own search engine

Ever wished you could make a search engine customized for your information needs? Now you can. Using Google Co-op's Custom Search Engine tool, you can create and launch your own search engine on any topic you like, searching the websites you specify (such as your library's website). A few examples:

In addition to choosing which sites to search, you can customize the look and feel of your search engine to match your site, invite trusted colleagues to become co-editors, and tag web pages to help users refine their searches. To learn more, visit the Google Co-op website, or download the Custom Search Engine guide .

Explore Africa with Google Earth

How much do your students know about Africa? Test them or challenge yourself with an interactive Google Earth quiz from My Wonderful World, a National Geographic-led campaign for geographic literacy. After you take the interactive quiz, check out the  new layers that we've added to Google Earth, including "Spotlight on Africa" (which overlays the flags of 53 African countries and links to handy facts about each), "Tracks4Africa" (user-submitted photos, snippets, and pointers to interesting places around Africa), and the Rumsey historical map collection (which includes a map of Africa from 1787). You can toggle these historical maps on and off to compare how cartographers depicted Africa (and other continents) in the 18th century, and how we know them today. Access the National Geographic quiz and read more about the featured content on the Google Educators Site.

Share and edit with Google Docs & Spreadsheets

We launched Google Docs & Spreadsheets, an online word processor and spreadsheet editor that lets you to create, store and collaborate on documents and spreadsheets in real time. If you or your patrons know how to use any word processing or spreadsheet editing program, you can easily use Google Docs & Spreadsheets. It's great for your library users, since they can work on writing and research without having to save files to a disk; all of their work is stored safely online, and can be accessed from any computer with an Internet connection. It's as simple as checking email.
Google Docs & Spreadsheets is free and supports all standard formats – DOC, XLS, OpenOffice and more – so you can upload and edit documents and spreadsheets you've created using other programs. And in response to users' requests, we recently updated the spell check feature so you can check your documents in more than 30 languages.

If you'd like to let your patrons know about Google Docs & Spreadsheets, here's a quick online tour.

On alert for bloggers

If you struggle to stay updated with blogs and other online news sources, here are two ways to make it easier:

  • Blog Alerts: Sign up to receive emails when topics that interest you appear in Google Blog Search results. With a "comprehensive" alert, you'll receive results from multiple sources – News, Web and Blogs – in a single email.
  • Google Reader – now even easier to use: Recently updated with a new user interface, Google Reader lets you read syndicated content from any source in one spot, and you access it from any computer or your mobile device. 
Want to try Google Reader? Here's a brief online tour – and if you'd like tips from a fellow librarian, check out this Google Reader tutorial by Yukon College librarian Laurie Prange. If you're already familiar with Google Reader, you might be interested in these useful add-ons.

Connect with literacy activists around the world

To contribute to a global initiative to support literacy, we created The Literacy Project website. You'll find tools to help you gather information and connect with people working on literacy projects, including maps for locating literacy organizations in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America.

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