Friday, September 14, 2007

Google Mini

One of our early projects, which is still active, is the Google Mini. We purchased a Google Mini Search Appliance, which is designed to index Web pages and other types of files on a corporate server, web site, or intranet. These documents can then be searched through an interface like the Google search everyone knows and loves.

We had two main goals for this search appliance, to index the content on our Web site for easier access, and to experiment with providing a new interface for patrons searching our catalog. In terms of the catalog we were intrigued by the dual possibilities of "Did you mean...?" style spelling suggestions, and Google's usage based ranking algorithms applied to our library's holdings.

Jerry first found the idea in use by Danbury Public Library with their III automation system. We set out to see if we could accomplish the same thing with our Horizon ILS system. The result can be seen at

I will provide more details on how this was accomplished in a future post if readers are interested. The degree of success and usefulness of the project is still being evaluated. We'll keep you updated. And meanwhile, feel free to let us know what you think.

The Cast of Characters

Our director, Jerry is a visionary and enthusiastic leader, who has confidence in his staff to accomplish whatever we set out to do.

Andrea is our Technical Services Librarian, Cataloger, and Systems Librarian. She has a great deal of interest in databases and information storage and retrieval theory.

Karen is (I am) our Public Services Librarian and Web Developer, who is ever eager to expand her techie skill-set. Recent projects have involved online interfaces, Linux, and PHP.

Bob, occasionally on loan from a neighboring library system, is a source of inspiration and information, with his extensive knowledge of SQL and Library ILS systems.

ESRL Techs keep the computer networks running for our library system and 7 others on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and help us out in numerous other ways. Their support is indispensable.

Kent County Public Library

As a small, rural public library, Kent County Public Library has a lot of flexibility with which to test out new ideas. As part of the Maryland Library Community and the Eastern Shore Regional Library Consortium, we have a strong support network. This puts us in an excellent position to experiment with different ways to bring better library services to our community.