On 2 September and on 5 September I wrote two posts about adding discovery metadata for books that are about to be published with a focus on how this can provide a better level of service for library patrons. The book used in the example is “Girl online : going solo ISBN 9780141372198“, the third in the popular Girl Online series by Zoe Sugg. While these two posts focused on getting the discovery metadata into the world’s library metadata ecosystem it is worth asking ourselves and taking note of…

What is Google is doing, can we afford to ignore it, and what does it mean for libraries?

I created the first record for this expression of the work last Thursday (today is Monday) and as the posts outline the metadata is starting to flow through from WorldCat into Libraries Australia. In the meantime it is worth seeing what Google is doing, because guess what… they are taking action.

Today when you search Google on either the book title OR ISBN, even though the Penguin Australia edition of the book is not being released until the end of next month you get presented with the following:

  • It is book is discoverable.
  • The Google title search (which lets face it is what most people will do) includes cross references to the author, other books by the author, and links to large online book sellers such as Amazon and publishers such as Simon and Schuster.
  • A search on the Penguin Australia ISBN does still bring up results.
  • There is a Google knowledge graph that pulls information from Goodreads as well as the author’s Vlog details. Google has also got the book series information correct. This is worth noting because (in my experience) too often libraries do a bad job of presenting accurate and easy to understand series data via the catalogue. This is important because (again in my experience) this information is vital when supporting reluctant readers (especially boys) find the book they are looking for once they get into a series they enjoy.
  • The Google search cross references the Penguin Australia expression of the work to the Simon and Schuster expression of the work. In WorldCat this link is not made in part because the vendor created brief WorldCat record (OCLC Number: 953442018) for the Atris (a Simon and Schuster imprint) edition does not give the title “Girl Online: Going Solo” rather it lists the title as “Girl Online 3.” so it not immediately apparent this is the same work as the WorldCat record (OCLC Number 957573689 I created last week) for the Penguin Australia edition where the full title is used.

In this example, when compared to the world’s libraries, Google has done a MUCH better and quicker job of making accurate and easy to understand pre-publication information available for people to use. As librarians this should make us stop and think about how we can do things better.

How can libraries, and library discovery platforms, be more like Google when it comes to books that are about to be released so we delight our patrons and don’t continue to be rolled over by the Google leviathan.

Searching Google on the book’s title

This is what most people will do.


Searching Google on the book ISBN.


Image courtesy of http://searchengineland.com/amp-top-stories-now-live-243314