Institution Case Study: Google Books

Institution Case Study: Google Books

J. Walker (IT Consultant, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4739-8.ch011
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Place Information And Introductory General Observations

Introduction and Location Background

Each institution and how they strive to integrate information technology into their user environments is unique in its own way. Patron needs change as institutions endeavor to include new and more efficient user services. The idea of this case study is to analyze its components by the following general sections and detail considerations that are either good or poor as practiced in the overall functionality of the institution in its user environments. Being a case study, observations are subjective to the observer, and though each section is given a rating for quick reference and overall grading, no one section or its rating determines the overall effectiveness or inefficiency of the entire institution.

This introduction takes into account the following general points of consideration applicable to the entire institution as a complete user environment. Google Books is in many ways a logical extension of the company's extremely popular Web search engine, Google. The Internet--a diverse and multilingual, geographically dispersed interconnection of area networks and intranets made possible by regulated communication protocols, namely TCP/IP—shares a lot in common with libraries, archives, and museums around the world. Like the diverse private networks that are the building blocks of the Internet, we stake our claim to a physical area and fill it with information and artifacts that we find to be important and applicable to some shared goal, whether it is a public library or its university equivalent. Physical or virtual, they have the same primary problem—namely the ability to search the collection for critical data. 12 billion Websites and information portals are absolutely useless if they cannot be narrowed down to some manageable number in the face of a single query--same with books and other information artifacts.

Using their Web search algorithms and digitalization technologies, they are digitalizing entire collections of libraries and vast publications of printed material and making it available on the Internet. Though important questions of copyright are to be worked out, it is a true advancement to the field of information systems and library studies and for the availability of information to the public.

Like all Google sites, the portal is tastefully simple and almost graphic-less. This makes it superfast to load, even on some of the slowest connection such as the new generation of smart phones and their slower WWANs (your cell phone network), which was never built for high-speed throughput. Back in the day, this was a boon to dial-up users, such as myself. Compare this to Yahoo! or AOL, whose strategy of trivial information over-load and pointless video feeds seem to be a cornerstone of their business model and subsequent failures.

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