Electronic Databases and Google: How do we promote quality?

Anonymous Patron writes "With libraries paying more and more each year in subscription fees for on-line databases, what are librarians doing to drive traffic to these resources rather than to Google and the web? Even more pressing, what are you doing to accomplish this when at least one of the major database vendors (Gale) is now including a direct link to Google in its major periodical databases? (No link, but go check out the search results of any Infotrac database.)"

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complain, and they'll take out the google link

We had this appear on our InfoTrac databases a few days ago, it is now gone, thank god.

If enough librarians tell them that this "feature" is not wanted, hopefully they won't try to implement it again.

Intelligent agents.

be careful with your assumptions

Don't forget that many peer-reviewed journals are adopting the open-access business model. That means they are available on the web at no charge, and will be crawled by Google and other general search engines. In your effort, which I support, to get students to notice and use the peer-reviewed journals the library has licensed at great cost, don't lump all free content into a lower tier of quality. That's as unfair an inaccurate as assuming that all open-source software is inferior to proprietary software.--Peter Suber

Re:be careful with your assumptions

I think there's nothing wrong with using google WITH library databases, when appropriate.

I was very cranky about the Gale implementation of google, because it was a google image search, which made no sense to me -- why someone researching using, say, the digitized London Times would need a google image search.

The search also just throws your database search into google without rewriting it, so if you've just shown a class how to use boolean and truncation, google image search can't deal with the search query and will return absolutley no results.

It's not only our problem

I find at our university that we need to educate the professors as well as students. Every semester I see students who are confused because their professor fails to distinguish between "internet" sources and online subscription databases.

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