WPopac Gets Googled

Search Help.A discussion on Web4Lib last month raised the issue of Google indexing our library catalogs. My answer spoke of the huge number of searches being done in search engines every day and the way that people increasingly expect that anything worth finding can be found in Google.

There were doubts about the effectiveness of such plans, and concerns about how frustrating it might be for a searcher in California to find books (that he or she can’t access) in New Hampshire.

My answer to the first point was that once we start participating in the Google Economy, we’ll find our records well represented within it, and my answer to the second point is that we already have good solutions to that problem: ILL and OpenWorldCat. Examples: a Google search for my favorite author/friend/example returns with WPopac among the top results. And if you view one of the resulting records, you’ll see a link to “find in WorldCat Libraries.”

Thing is, it’s not just the stuff I’ve been linking to as examples that’s getting found in search engines. Listed below are the top 100 incoming search terms to WPopac from major search engines in the last week. The list is generated by bsuite, my multipurpose WordPress plugin, and the links lead to the item found with the search terms.

Some links will leave you scratching your head, others are clearly misdirected. But, I’m especially proud of this link, from a person who was especially happy to get a new book. Making our collections indexable also makes them linkable, and that means people can make libraries part of their lives — wherever their lives take them.

And this doesn’t just help Angie, it means faculty and students can link to library resources from class blogs or share them in AIM.