Wednesday, May 21, 2008

oclc and google cooperation

On Monday a press release was issued about cooperation between OCLC and Google. Excerpted:

OCLC and Google Inc. have signed an agreement to exchange data that will facilitate the discovery of library collections through Google search services.

Under terms of the agreement, OCLC member libraries participating in the Google Book Search™ program, which makes the full text of more than one million books searchable, may share their WorldCat-derived MARC records with Google to better facilitate discovery of library collections through Google.

Google will link from Google Book Search to, which will drive traffic to library OPACs and other library services. Google will share data and links to digitized books with OCLC, which will make it possible for OCLC to represent the digitized collections of OCLC member libraries in WorldCat.


WorldCat metadata will be made available to Google directly from OCLC or through member libraries participating in the Google Book Search program.

Google recently released an API that provides links to books in Google Book Search using ISBNs, LCCNs and OCLC numbers. This API allows users to link to some books that Google has scanned through a “Get It” link. The link works both ways. If a user finds a book in Google Book Search, a link can often be tracked back to local libraries through

The new agreement enables OCLC to create MARC records describing the Google digitized books from OCLC member libraries and to link to them. These linking arrangements should help drive more traffic to libraries, both online and in person.

There are a couple of big wins here for different communities.

For WorldCat users, there is direct access to Google Book Search volumes. For Google Book users, there is improved access to physical volumes.

For Google Book participant libraries, there are better mechanisms for getting metadata about collections to Google.

Even more importantly -- and I am being hopeful here and reading something into this that may not be there -- this is a potential way to get representation of volumes digitized as part of the Google project not only into WordCat but into the OCLC/DLF Registry of Digital Masters. For folks unfamiliar with that project, it's a registry of digitized volumes -- which meet certain digitization standards and are publicly accessible -- that can be used as a tool by libraries and users to determine if volumes have already been digitized and are available. It's a slowly growing registry where a devoted group of participants have been working to develop the standards for describing digital masters and the work flows for adding records. This is a service that is poised to become essential.

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