Enhance Your Library Presence on Google

Welcome to Google My Business!

Of course users can find your library on Google.  But with a few simple steps, you can enhance your library’s presence on Google services such as Search, Google Maps, and Google+ by adding library information, photos, and hours.  You do this by creating a profile for your library in Google My Business.

When searching Google you have probably seen the the information-rich box to the right of the search results list.  Google calls this the Knowledge Graph display and it has been in use since 2012.  It uses semantic search to enhance search results when a person, topic, or place is identified.  The Knowledge Graph information can also be used to add instant information to the top of the search results list, such as today’s library hours.

Google Knowledge Graph in Search Results

Here is an example of a Knowledge Graph display before it has been claimed and enhanced:

Google Knowledge Graph (Before)

If the link “Own this business?” shows in the Knowledge Graph display for your library, no one has claimed ownership for your library’s profile. Clicking this link allows you to set up your Google My Business account. Note: This process also creates a Google+ page.

First, you’ll have to check the box that says “I am authorized to manage this business and I agree to the Terms of Service.”

On the next screen you will be given the choice to verify your business by phone or by mail.  If you choose mail, you will receive a letter at the mailing address in the Knowledge Graph display that will contain your verification code (and a Google sticker).  This usually arrives in about five days.  You don’t need to wait for verification to edit your profile.

Once you have chosen your verification method, Google will create your basic Google My Business page.

Google My Business - Home

From this Home page you can edit your library information (name, address, phone, website URL) and add library hours and photos.

Google My Business - Edit Mode

Once your Google My Business profile has been completed and your account verified, your enhanced Knowledge Graph display will appear in Google search results and other services.

Google offers an app to allow you to update information and hours from your mobile device.

Available on the App Store Android App on Google Play

Introducing Microsoft Academic

Microsoft Academic

The Microsoft Academic search tool is an open discovery service for scholarly scientific works including citation relationships between works, authors, institutions, places, and subject fields.

Microsoft is quietly developing an open discovery service for scholarly scientific works called Microsoft Academic based on Microsoft Research’s Microsoft Academic Graph (MAG).  This search database will function much like Web of Science and Scopus in linking paper citations to aid in discovery.

To build the MAG, Bing technology crawls the Web looking for “publisher websites, university repositories, researcher and departmental web pages, etc.” which then get analysed for content and citations.  If papers are determined to be scholarly works, they’re added to the MAG.

Microsoft Academic search: BIBFRAME

Microsoft describes the service in their FAQ:

This new service puts a knowledge driven, semantic inference based search and recommendation framework front and center. In addition, a new data structure and graph engine have been developed to facilitate the real-time intent recognition and knowledge serving. One illustrating feature is semantic query suggestions that identify authors, topics, journals, conferences, etc., as you type and offer ways to refine your search based on the data in the underlying academic knowledge graph. You can also refine your results using the filters on the search results page. Since we are built on top of Bing’s web crawling infrastructure, we are able to discover and index new academic papers in a more scalable manner. We now have over 150 million entities and billions of relationships in the Microsoft Academic Graph and growing!

Microsoft Academic results: BIBFRAME

Search results can be filtered by date range, author, affiliation, field of study, journal, and conference.  Users can choose to include news items or limit results to scholarly works.

The underlying MAG data is available for download or accessed via the Academic Knowledge API.

It remains to be seen if Microsoft Academic can develop the features to rival Google Scholar.  Three features would go a long way towards that goal.  The service should allow libraries to register so that search results can contain custom links including institutional authentication such as a proxy URL prefix.  Microsoft Academic could add its own altmetrics by gathering results from Bing crawling the Web and social media sites.  A simple tool to add citations to Microsoft Word documents would be a way to set Microsoft Academic apart.  But its open, non-commercial platform with downloadable data and APIs makes it a search service to watch.

Preview Microsoft Academic at https://academic.microsoft.com.

Improve Your Online Searching Skills

Finding information is a fundamental librarian skill.  Whether you are searching with library discovery tools, in online research databases, or on the Internet at large using a search engine, great searching skills are a necessity.

Here is a selection of the best up-to-date books to improve your online searching skills.

The Complete Guide to Using Google in Libraries: Research, User Applications, and Networking edited by Carol Smallwood

The Complete Guide to Using Google in Libraries: Research, User Applications, and Networking edited by Carol SmallwoodThe book is divided into four parts: Research, User Applications, Networking, and Searching. Part IV on searching includes advanced search strategies, underutilized Google search tools, and evaluating the sources of search results. Other parts cover using Google services such as Google Books, Drive, Google+, Google Scholar, and Google Translate among others.

View details and find a place to buy or borrow at Google Books.

Google Search Secrets by Christa Burns and Michael P. Sauers

Google Search Secrets by Christa Burns and Michael P. SauersAs the title suggests, this book covers the search engine Google.  It goes beyond the basic search function to give practical tips and tricks on Google’s “hidden” features.  The authors devote chapters to cover specific Google search services including Blogs, Books, Discussions, Images, Maps, News, Patents, and Videos.  The chapter on Google Scholar is particularly relevant for academic librarians. The authors created a companion blog for posting updates so have a look even if you don’t buy the book.

View details and find a place to buy or borrow at Google Books.

Librarian’s Guide to Online Searching: Cultivating Database Skills for Research and Instruction (Fourth Edition) by Suzanne S. Bell

Librarian's Guide to Online Searching: Cultivating Database Skills for Research and Instruction (Fourth Edition) by Suzanne S. BellNow in its fourth edition, this popular book for librarians has been updated for 2015.  The book looks into what a database is, parts of a database, and tools for searching such as Boolean logic and truncation.  Later chapters discuss the different databases by subject matter.  Evaluating databases is covered. Finally, the book lists eight principles of teaching databases.

View details and find a place to buy or borrow at Google Books.

Online Searching: A Guide to Finding Quality Information Efficiently and Effectively by Karen Markey

Online Searching: A Guide to Finding Quality Information Efficiently and Effectively by Karen MarkeyThis new book covers searching online using discovery tools and research databases.  It starts with the research interview and traces the steps through assessing search results.  Pre-search preparation and database selection are covered before detailing specific search types: controlled-vocabulary, free-text, and known-item.  The author ends with a look into the future of online searching.

View details and find a place to buy or borrow at Google Books.

Semantic Web Technologies and Social Searching for Librarians by Robin M. Fay and Michael P. Sauers

Semantic Web Technologies and Social Searching for Librarians by Robin M. Fay and Michael P. SauersThe final volume of The Tech Set from ALA, this guide goes beyond basic Internet searching.  As indicated in the title, the semantic Web and finding hidden data is its main focus.  Specific types of searching include location-based, multimedia, social, and semantic.  Specific search examples from Google and Bing are shown.  The book has a companion website with author information and links, downloadable files, related slide presentations, and an audio interview with the authors.

View details and find a place to buy or borrow at Google Books.