ACAT Libhub

Posting to Autocat

On 1/8/2015 12:09 AM, Dan Scott wrote:

If you watched the SWIB keynote to which I linked earlier, you would have recognized many other parts of his talk today–including a succinct statement that the goal is to make it possible to find library resources through general search engines. This is*not* something that is possible with WorldCat’s approach to publishing schema.org today, because WorldCat is missing key elements of the GoodRelations resource -> offer -> agent pattern that was adopted by schema.org: links from the record descriptions, to the actual holdings of the library, to the actual library itself.

There is one other point with making something findable through general search engines: there must be links to the items you want to make findable. Just because a site is in a search engine doesn’t at all mean it is “findable” and there are entire areas of business, along with technical specialties, to ensure findability. For instance, if your site is in, let’s say, Google, and if there are no links to your site, its placement in the Google database will be similar to sludge in a vat of oil: right at the very bottom and many sites remain stuck there. In addition, Google only displays the first 1000 hits and the others are never displayed.

Of course, nobody goes through the entire 1000 records displayed in Google; and the real problem is to get the sites to rise to the top. That is what these companies and experts do. There are several ways of doing this. For instance, when I search in Google for “flowers” the first sites I see are ads that certain flower companies have paid Google for. This is how Google makes a lot of its money. There is a little “i” that I can click on and it tells me why I am looking at these ads:

“Search terms
This ad matches the exact search that you entered: “flowers”
Your age
This ad is based on the age in your Google Profile.
Your gender
This ad is based on your gender in your Google Profile.”

Another way of getting the links to the top is to utilize “Search Engine Optimization” or SEO. SEO experts normally make pretty good money, but it is a highly stressful job since the search engines change their algorithms as much as a couple of times a day! (See: http://moz.com/google-algorithm-change)

Today, lots of people think that even SEO will become obsolete very soon, as “predictive search” begins to take over everything. Everything is changing so quickly it is difficult to predict what things will be in even 5 years from now.

None of this is to say that library records should not be in the Googles and Yahoos, because they should have been there long ago–I just want to point out that getting the records in, even in a perfected schema.org microdata format, will not make our records one bit easier for the public to find because those records will be stuck at the very bottom of the Google database. (There are no links to them) If people are to actually find our records, it seems to me that SEO methods will have to be employed somehow to get them to rise high enough to where they can be found.

Perhaps Google would be willing to make something for libraries similar to the Recipe or Flight search, e.g. see https://www.google.com/search?q=chicken+pasta&tbs=rcp%3A1&hl=en&gws_rd=ssl (today you have to click on “Search tools” to see the options) but I have heard nothing about that, and in any case, there is still the SEO problem.

And yet Google may respond that they do something like that now, where you search Google Books for something, https://books.google.it/books?id=kOJWAgAAQBAJ and in the left-menu click on “Get this book in print” and then there is “Find in a library” where you are taken to Worldcat. I don’t know how many people do that however.seoeasy

While I applaud the effort to get our records into Google, it is only a single step in a major process. I think there are plenty of other options for libraries to make their records more findable to the public.

-433

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