Google Book Covers and Previews

by Denise Bonin Tuesday, October 20, 2009 9:11 PM

Library catalogues are boring.  Face it, their dullness is only mitigated by the thrill received when your catalogue search results have either a link to the full text or a website or to an image or something other than just the basic bibliographic details.  Ok, some folks use the library catalogue to find books - on the shelf and in their library - but if you are not familiar with that book, how do you know if it is worth your while seeking out? 

See the cover and preview the book.  Now there is a way to liven up and to add value to your catalogue, with both a book cover image and a preview of the text, if they are available.  Just by having the book's ISBN in the catalogue database, a link can be made to Google Books.  With this link you can have an image of the book's cover in full and beautiful colour displayed next to the bibliographic information.  You can also have a link to the Google Book Preview, if it is available.  Andornot has long since advocated enhancing the library catalogue and added the Google Books covers and previews to its own Starter Kit.  We then suggested that Inmagic WebPublisher PRO hosted clients do the same. 

Several clients took up the offer and now there are many examples to show you.  Elizabeth Lamont from the Royal Victoria Hospital Library, who oversees the coordination of the McGill University Health Centre Libraries catalogue (try the New Books link), loved this feature:  "Nice visuals for our users. We particularly like the added information on book contents. All without any extra work on our part!"  Both Lance Nordstom and Marci Gibson from WorkSafeBC appreciated the addition to their library catalogue of "a bit of colour to the results pages".  When it was suggested to Leah Harms, the librarian at the Resource Library for the Environment and the Law, that she add this feature to her library catalogue, she said of the Google Books Preview example shown to her that she "had no idea how great that book was until I read the preview."  And after we added them Leah commented: "I really am very pleased with the vibrancy of the covers and the usefulness of having the preview links. They function to better pique curiosity much like abstracts do for journal articles."

You can also see this feature on a few other catalogue databases:  Northern Health, Interior Health, Vancouver Coastal Health, Fraser Health, and the Resource Centre for Voluntary Organizations.  For best results, may we suggest that you search for books published since 2000.

Contact us to help you add Google Book covers and previews to your online catalogue. 

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