Information and the Future

This is the blog of the Information and the Future task force of the Rolfing Library at Trinity International University. The IF task force exists to explore the role of libraries in the future of Christian higher education.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Google's Mylibrary

Google's Book Search now has a "My Library" option. Google describes this feature:

You can now create personalized libraries on Google Book Search where you can label, review, rate, and of course, full-text search, a customized selection of books. These collections will live online and be accessible anywhere you can log in to your Google account. Once you've built a collection, you can share it with friends by sending them a link to your library in Google Book Search. You can even set up RSS feeds with friends so that they're alerted when you add new books to your collection.

Wired claims this is Google's attempt to compete with Librarything and Shelfari. The wired article claims the big advantage that Google has over those services is that you can search books in your library to find specific quotes etc. However it currently lacks a lot of the social networking features that makes Librarything so interesting (and fun).

It will be interesting to see if Google tries (and is able) to harness the wisdom of the online crowd to improve searching for books, to add new books and editions to its database, and/or to improve the quality of its scanned images. If individuals would take ownership of the books in "their library" they may be willing to work on improving the metadata and the actual data. If Google could harvest these efforts there could be great utility and profit in it.

Google's My Library also seems consistent with announced plans to start charging for full text of some copyrighted work (see this for example). Perhaps we will be able to create a personalized library of full text that we've paid for.

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