At the May 17 Lunch ‘n Learn, four speakers from the University Library provided their perspectives on Google, the popular internet search engine that has become an integral part of everyday vocabulary and life.
Stephen Ferguson, the Assistant University Librarian for Rare Books and Special Collections and the Curator of Rare Books began by reminding us all that in 1994, just a dozen years ago, PC Magazine created a splash by printing the following roadmap to the internet. The map, of course, is today a relic, but it represents an ancient ancestor of the Google engine.
Google is now, a new way to do what we used to do with Bibles, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias. It is a companion, a tool for asking and answering questions. He displayed on screen several war posters from a 1918 exhibition held in the University’s East Pyne, then an annex to the Chancellor Green Library. He demonstrated how Google searches help to clarify the language that appears on the War Posters. He also used Google to find color rendering of the posters. Of interest, the number of relevant postings on Google has continued to grow, from six in January to 11 now in May.
Ferguson also took a look at the still experimental Google Book Search. He pointed out that, thanks to the scanning of government documents, we now have access to considerable more information than ever. There is, however, no clear rationale for what is scanned, and the number of documents at times appears to decrease rather than increase.
Elana Broch is the Assistant Population Research Librarian. In her assistance of students, Ms. Broch often uses and indeed, has embraced, Google Scholar and Google Book Search. Google Scholar is a subset of the full Google web. Searches are limited to materials that have been peer reviewed, published in scholarly journals, or dissertations and the like. And so, in a search within Google Scholar for “Emergency Contraception” with the author set for Trussel, 63 articles appear. Of note, the data also contains links to those who cited the article and can also assist you to find the article at the Princeton University Library, assuming that you set Princeton as your personal preference.
A useful tip: Using inurl pdf in the search box will return only documents in pdf format.
The Google Scholar project has a noble aim, but Ms. Broch does not believe that Google has yet pulled it off. In her view, there are three better tools for University scholars:
(1) Searching across all University databases, available through PU Quicksearch. You will find the link to this tool on the Library’s home page.
(2) The Web of Science citation database.
(3) and the Library’s E-Journal Finder.
The Google Book initiative involves an effort to scan all of the holdings in five libraries: Harvard, University of Michigan, Stanford, Oxford, and the New York Public Library. The project also involves publishers willing to add their material to the collection. Asked Ms. Broch, “Does it make sense for one company to have control over so much information.” It is a question that will weigh on many of us.
Jennifer Lang, the Electronic Resources Cataloger, demonstrated how to use Google to find books and datasets in University library catalog. For example, try placing “find in lib” before searches for specific book titles. And, by searching only through cached versions, you can even get view snapshots of book pages with highlighted search terms.
Wayne Bivens-Tatum is a General and Humanities Reference Librarian demonstrated numerous other uses of Google. He began by entering a telephone number and showing that Google returns data on name, address, and location. The map program, which uses satellite data, also serves up a spectacular interactive map of Mars.
More from Google? There’s G-Mail, a BLOG service, web space for pages, a translation service, and even G Romance. To find recorded lecturers at Princeton. Use Google’s Video search. You can even get the weather with: weather Princeton NJ.
Posted by Lorene Lavora