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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Google Librarian Center is a new one to me. Google is going to be launching a quarterly newsletter *just for librarians* (although it seems that anyone can subscribe). They've started by asking for lesson plans/presentations/handouts to help others use Google. (I'd have thought they could find them themselves, but never mind). I shall subscribe and let you know what the outcome is.

Hey Phil, Gary Price here in Maryland.
Postscript from Gary: First,, has had a program for educators AND librarians for several weeks now. Posters and tools on how to best use the service. Remember, searcher engines are not mind readers (to quote Udi Manber at A9).

Second, Danny S. is correct (and so is just about every other info pro about people needing to try other search engines either on the web (Google, Yahoo, Clusty, and verticals) or tools via the web. The problem is that many of the "via the web" tools cost $$$. However, many libraries make them available for free (24x7x365) WITHOUT needing to visit the library. More about these wonderful resources in this guest article I wrote for BetaNews.
Looks a bit one way to me - Google just wants to tell librarians how wonderful it is and to find out how we promote Google....well, as one of many sources, of course! Nothing about how librarians can input to Google development.
In a way it is odd that Google, which is supposed so easy to use, needs others to write tutorials. But we library folk have been teaching them willingly and for free for the last seven years. The Google guide is perhaps a good starting point for Google.
I'll admit to being a bit biased on this one, but Chris Sherman's new Google Power is a great search guide. It's not Google-centric and has plenty about other engines. Yes, I was the techniical advisor (-: but as Phil knows (the three of us have been on panels together) Chris knows his stuff.
Sorry to be so wordy. But don't just rely on Google. Look at specialty databases (free) and of course other general purpose web search tools like Yahoo (so much better), Ask Jeeves (remember the AJ of 2005 is NOT the AJ of 1999 (when it was crap). In other words, don't let the Google marketing juggernaut get in your way as an info pro. Of course, all of you know I have much more to say about that on another
I find it sad/amusing in equal parts that Google feels the need to ask librarians for lesson plans and so on. It's as though they're saying 'we know librarians use this, but would you mind telling us what for?' If Google is that interested, I don't see why they shouldn't host a conference, or get a whole bunch of us together and ask us. Microsoft did that to an extent with the Search Champs program, even though there were only two librarians on it.

If Google was really that interested they could do that without a great deal of difficulty. But maybe as Ian says, they just want stuff from us, not the other way around.

I also echo Gary's points - there's a lot of other engines out there as well as Google, and the 'Which search engine when' page on my site lists a few of the dozen or so that I use.
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