The new Google Book Search Data API has some really cool features and I’m wondering how much of it I can shoehorn into the OPAC?
Our students increasingly expect the OPAC search box to be searching the full-text of our book stock — i.e. they type in several words that it would be useful to borrow a book about. Searching just the bog-standard MARC metadata, you’ll be lucky to get much back… and perhaps then, only if we’ve got the full table of contents in the the MARC record.
So, for example, if I do a keyword search for “english media coverage of immigrants and social exclusion” on our OPAC, I’ll find nothing. However, if I run the same query through the Google API and then filter the results (using the ISBN) to just items we hold in the library, I get 6 hits from the first 40 results that Google sends me:
- European societies fusion or fission?
- Criminal and social justice
- Human geography of the UK : an introduction
- Preserving privilege California politics, propositions, and people of color
- Black youth, racism and the state : the politics of ideology and policy
- Television : the critical view
(I’d probably find more if I also used thingISBN or xISBN to match on associated ISBNs)
I’m not going to claim that those 6 are the most relevant books we hold in the library for that particular search (I’m not sure if I’d find anything of use in the “California politics” book)… but that’s only because I have no idea what the most relevant books are and, no matter how closely I scrutinise our MARC records, I probably never will 😉 So, short of quizzing a Subject Librarian, some of those books might be a worth a quick browse …which I could do virtually with the Embedded Viewer API:
I guess the big question is “how many API searches will Google let me do every day?”