Digital Culture

ALA Day One – Google!

Tales, Tips and Tools: Book Search, Scholar and the Library Team
Ben Burnell, Google Library Partnerships

Once more: notes in the form of a bulleted list!

  • Larry and Sergey’s idea started as a library concept…digitize the library, make it rankable.
  • Google Print Book Search divides books into three main IP categories: Public Domain (hey, I won a hat for knowing who Emily Dickinson was!), In Print, and “other”.
  • Here’s a sobering thought: over the Google 5 (the five libraries in the Book Print project), 60% of the books in the libraries are held in only one of the participating libraries.
  • Another sobering statistic: of the Google 5, only 20% of the books in the library are in the public domain.
  • Example from Google Book Search: Earl Robichau, in a picture in a book, is discovered when his great nephew find his name in Google Book Search.
  • 5% of books are currently in print.
  • The “snippet” view is designed to legally display and make findable the other books…those not in print and those not in the public domain.
  • So there are three ways to look at a book in Book Search: Full Book View (Public Domain), Snippet view (Unknown copyright status), Sample Pages view (In Print, agreement with publishers).
  • Google Scholar

  • Will provide article results, book results, and citation results.
  • Great quote: It’s better to be frustrated than ignorant.
  • At AASL, Google handed out 200 invitations to the Google Librarian Newsletter…and got 3000 signups in a week.

By griffey

Jason Griffey is the Director of Strategic Initiatives at NISO, where he works to identify new areas of the information ecosystem where standards expertise is useful and needed. Prior to joining NISO in 2019, Jason ran his own technology consulting company for libraries, has been both an Affiliate at metaLAB and a Fellow and Affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, and was an academic librarian in roles ranging from reference and instruction to Head of IT at the University of TN at Chattanooga.

Jason has written extensively on technology and libraries, including multiple books and a series of full-periodical issues on technology topics, most recently AI & Machine Learning in Libraries and Library Spaces and Smart Buildings: Technology, Metrics, and Iterative Design from 2018. His newest book, co-authored with Jeffery Pomerantz, will be published by MIT Press in 2024.

He has spoken internationally on topics such as artificial intelligence & machine learning, the future of technology and libraries, decentralization and the Blockchain, privacy, copyright, and intellectual property. A full list of his publications and presentations can be found on his CV.
He is one of eight winners of the Knight Foundation News Challenge for Libraries for the Measure the Future project (, an open hardware project designed to provide actionable use metrics for library spaces. He is also the creator and director of The LibraryBox Project (, an open source portable digital file distribution system.

Jason can be stalked obsessively online, and spends his free time with his daughter Eliza, reading, obsessing over gadgets, and preparing for the inevitable zombie uprising.

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