- The Complete Guide to Using Google in Libraries ed. Carol Smallwood
The Complete Guide to Using Google in Libraries is an edited, two-volume how-to guide to Google tools and services, written by library professionals with intimate, hands-on knowledge of their application and purpose. Editor Carol Smallwood is a prolific author and editor of library science publications with wide-ranging experience in school, public, academic, and special libraries. Google provides many of the most heavily used tools and services, and librarians and information professionals should find an abundance of practical applications in these two volumes. There are tips and tricks for effective searching and for getting the most from nearly every application and feature, from Fusion Tables, a service for gathering, visualizing, and sharing data tables, to Google Finance, which provides business and economic news. Some chapters address general institutional challenges such as human resource organization or efficient communication with patrons. Other chapters deal with more specific concerns, such as challenges in special collections or archives.
Two chapters in volume 1 demonstrate the synergy of using multiple Google applications. In Chapter 15, “Organizing Employees Using Google,” Adam Fullerton describes how to create an employee portal using Google Sites, a website creation tool; Google Calendar, a free online calendar; Google Drive, which provides cloud storage and file backup for photographs and videos; and Google+, a social networking application. In Chapter 22, “Simplifying ‘Contact Us,’” Laura Baker combines multiple services to create a single landing point for patron feedback and questions. While every chapter may not be relevant to specific organizational needs, browsing the ideas in these two volumes encourages readers to think creatively about combining Google tools in ways they may not have previously considered. This compilation of how-to essays is unique in its wide coverage and specific application to library and information professions.
Google tools are user-friendly, cloud-based, mobile-friendly, and easily integrated into other services or sites. One disadvantage is that they can also be changed or discontinued with little notice. [End Page 649] It is a challenge to write about services that may be defunct at the point of publication. In volume 2, Chapter 15, Barbara J. Hampton’s exploratory essay “Seeing Libraries through Google Glasses” describes the possible uses of a technology that Google withdrew from the retail market in January 2015. Despite this, Hampton provides insight on how a related product might alter patrons’ perspectives and uses of the library.
Given the speed at which technology is changing, readers should take advantage of The Complete Guide to Using Google in Libraries sooner rather than later. Librarians, technologists, and information professionals will gain insight into creatively adapting Google tools and services in new and interesting ways.
Texas Tech University Libraries, Lubbock