Full-Text MBook Searches from the Library Catalog

May 30, 2008

At the University of Michigan Library, in partnership with Google, we have been busily scanning our collections. This opens up lots of possibilities, including an exciting one that launches today: search the full text of a book from within Mirlyn, the library's catalog.

If a book has been scanned by Google, there is a "search in in this book" field within the library catalog record. Depending on the particular book, a search will result in full text results (if the book is in the public domain) or search-term only view (if the book is in copyright).

Here is an example of an out-of-copyright book (with full-text results available): 1931: A Glance at the Twentieth Century. The record in the catalog looks like this:

Screen Shot of Mirlyn Record with "Search in this Book" Option

Screen shot of Mirlyn record with 'search in this book' option

And here are the results of that search:

Screen Shot of MBook Search Results

Screen shot of Mirlyn record with 'search in this book' option

All books that have been scanned -- one million and counting -- are searchable. Search results are linked to the full text for those works that are in the public domain. Search results for books that are still under copyright are shown in brief view. Brief view displays a phrase or two on either side of the search term, but doesn't include full-text display of the page. In either case, the search in the book tool will help you know if you want to get the actual book off the shelf before you visit the library or make a delivery request.

Try these sample records:

Full-text: The Miscellaneous Writings of Lord Macaulay

Search only: 500 Bracelets: An Inspiring Collection of Extraordinary Designs

Posted by Ken Varnum at 09:25 AM. Permalink | Comments (8)

MLibrary Labs Project Summary

May 22, 2008

MLibrary Labs is the University Library's test bed and playground. Here's a summary of all the tools that have been released since we launched it in September 2007. We use the Labs to get user feedback and real-world experience with tools that are not quite ready for prime time. We encourage you to try them out and -- this is important! -- let us know what you think of them by sending an email to mlibrary-labs@umich.edu.

Library RSS Feed Browser

Want to stay current on what's going on in the Library? The RSS Feed Browser gathers many of the library's RSS feeds into a single location. Browse news, events, new items, and more. Try it out!

iGoogle Gadget

The MLibrary Search Gadget for iGoogle puts commonly used library search tools on your personalized Google portal page. iGoogle can be customized with various "gadgets" (a gadget is a module that performs some simple tasks -- displays news headlines, the local weather, how many email messages are waiting for you, etc.). MLibrary has a gadget that lets you search Mirlyn, Search Tools, and the library web site -- and includes a link to our "ask a librarian" service, Ask Us, as well -- so a reference librarian is a click away. Learn about and install the iGoogle MLibrary gadget.

Interactive Maps to UM Libraries

Find a U-M library on a map and see a picture of the building it's located in with our new Library Map application. Get directions to the library of your choice.

New and Updated Facebook Applications

The Facebook Mirlyn Search application lets you post Mirlyn items to your Facebook profile, add items to your Mirlyn "My Shelf" space, and share items with your Facebook friends.

The Facebook Library Hours application lets you add the hours for your favorite UM library to your profile so you can always see when your "home" library opens and closes.

Search Plug-Ins for Firefox & Internet Explorer

Search plug-ins allow you to add collections to the search box in the upper right of many web browsers (Firefox, Internet Explorer, and others). These plug-ins allow you to search Mirlyn, OAIster, or Deep Blue directly from your browser. Learn about and install these search plug-ins.

LibX Toolbar

Have you ever found the perfect book at Amazon and wanted to see if it was available through Mirlyn? Found an article citation on a web page and wanted to get a full-text copy? The LibX Toolbar is for Firefox only and will not work in Internet Explorer, Safari, or any other browser. Learn more or go get LibX.

WorldCat Search

Want to search across the world's libraries all at once for a particular item? Try the OCLC WorldCat search. It will search across thousands of libraries' catalogs, showing you those libraries that have the item you're looking for -- sorted by proximity to wherever you are.

Posted by Ken Varnum at 09:30 AM. Permalink | Comments (0)

What to do with books in copyright

May 20, 2008

As is well known, we are digitizing all the bound volumes in our library, including books in copyright. I don't want to address the legal issues surrounding the digitization itself, but instead discuss uses of these materials after digitization. We do not show any part of in-copyright books in MBooks, leading people to wonder why we even bother to digitize them. We can answer that question in a number of ways:

1) Keyword searches. People can still conduct keyword searches within the book. We don't show snippets like Google does in copyrighted works, but we do display how many matches occur in the volume. Also, Google only shows a maximum of three snippets per volume, whereas we list all of the pages on which matches occur. We believe that this is useful information for people deciding whether they want to take the next step and retrieve the book from the library shelf.

2) Access for students with visual impairments. For many years, students with disabilities could request to have books digitized by the UM Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (OSSD). Many universities have similar services. The students could then use the digitized books with screen readers such as JAWS. This is explicitly allowed under section 121 of U.S. Copyright law: http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#121

We now have a system in place for students with visual impairments to use MBooks in much the same way. Once a student registers with OSSD, any time she checks out a book already digitized by Google, she will automatically receive an email with a URL. Once the student selects the link, she is asked to login. The system checks whether the student is registered with OSSD as part of this program, and whether she has checked out this particular book. If the student passes both of those tests, she will get access to the entire full-text of the book, whether it is in copyright or not, in an interface that is optimized for use with screenreaders.

Currently, this system is available to UM students with visual impairments. We are investigating the possibility of including students with learning disabilities as well.

3) Establishing copyright status. One of the conundrums of digitization is knowing the copyright status of any given volume. U.S. copyright law has changed over the years, and many books published after 1923 are actually in the public domain. For instance, under previous copyright law, books needed to have a copyright symbol and statement in order to be eligible for copyright. The terms of copyright were much shorter, but copyright holders could renew their copyright after 28 years.

There is a unit in the library, headed by Judy Ahronheim, that is investigating the copyright status of U.S. works published between 1923 and 1964. They check whether the book contains a copyright statement and symbol, and also whether the copyright was renewed (using the Stanford Copyright Renewals Database at http://collections.stanford.edu/copyrightrenewals/). Over the past year, Judy's staff have examined over 26,000 volumes, and identified almost 15,000 that are in the public domain. These books are now freely available through MBooks as a result of their work.

Thus, there are multiple reasons for us to include copyrighted works in MBooks. Even though we cannot provide access to most of them for the majority of users, we can provide important services that make our collections much more accessible.

Posted by Perry Willett at 01:16 PM. Permalink | Comments (2)

MTagger Update

May 19, 2008

Since its launch in late February, MTagger has grown to more than 1250 tags and almost 500 users. MTagger is the U-M Library's tagging tool -- it allows you to save and label library catalog entries, digital images, or any web page so that you can find them again and share them with others.

How does it work? You "tag" an item by typing a few words or phrases that will help you categorize the page. You can think of a tag as a label to help you find that web page again. You may choose to give a web page several tags that describe the content of the page. Later, when you want to return to that page again, you can look for pages that you've tagged accordingly. You could tag books in Mirlyn and web pages with a course number to bring together all your research materials for a class (phil389, for Philosophy 389, for example). You could tag web pages, images, and books with a keyword to see all of them at once (see books in the catalog, digital images, and web pages tagged Russia). Working on a group project? You and your fellow students can tag resources for the project across the library web site so you can all find and share them.

You can also find web pages that other people have given the same tag, and see all the tags other users have applied to the web page you saved.

We've integrated MTagger into several of the University Library's web sites. You can see tags in these places:

You can also use our "MTag This" bookmark to tag any web page at all. Just drag this image to your browser's toolbar:

MTag This Page

MTagger also has "Collections." Collections assign categories to tags. This lets you browse items according to the source of the item (for example, the library catalog, digital images, web pages, etc.). While tags themselves would allow people to serendipitously find items in other collections, the automatically-assigned "Collections" tag will help you find the kind of resource you need more quickly.

More important than the tagging functionality itself is what MTagger will allow our faculty, staff, and students to do. MTagger brings a social component to research that we have not previously had. It will allow users to share knowledge about library resources with each other, to enable quick-and-dirty subject guides to be produced, and -- we hope -- to bring researchers together via their individual tag clouds. As research moves online, chance meetings in the stacks of researchers with overlapping interests become even more rare. Through tagging, we hope to be able to recreate some of those synergistic interactions as one researcher finds a tag of interest, and through that, the other researcher.

Posted by Ken Varnum at 04:16 PM. Permalink | Comments (1)

University of Chicago integrating MBooks in catalog using OAI

May 15, 2008

There is an alternative way to access MBooks other than through UM's online catalog Mirlyn. You can harvest the MBooks records directly via our OAI interface. The University of Chicago has done just that, and integrated these records into their library catalog.

Excluding serials, as they were more problematic to integrate, they provided access for users to MBooks and Google Books links from the catalog, for books they held.

As an example, go to http://lens.lib.uchicago.edu/ and search for "An historical sketch of the native states of India in subsidiary alliance with the British government". The second record provides the link to the MBooks full text of that book.

We're very interested in hearing from other libraries that are using MBooks records in their online catalogs.

Only records for MBooks available in the public domain are exposed through OAI. We have split these into sets containing public domain items according to U.S. copyright law, and public domain items worldwide. There are currently over 121,000 records available for harvesting. We anticipate having 1 million records available when the entire UM collection has been digitized by Google.

For more information, see http://www.lib.umich.edu/mdp/info/OAI.html.

Posted by Kat Hagedorn at 12:30 PM. Permalink | Comments (2)

What is MBooks?

May 14, 2008

MBooks is a partnership between the University of Michigan and Google, Inc. to digitize the entire print collection of the University Library. The digitized collection, called MBooks, is searchable in the library catalog, Mirlyn, as well as in Google Book Search. Full-text of works that are out of copyright or in the public domain are available.

For more information about MBooks, see http://www.lib.umich.edu/mdp/.

Posted by Kat Hagedorn at 09:30 AM. Permalink | Comments (0)