OCLC, the University of Washington, and Syracuse University are working together to create a “credible” search engine, one that offers results with preference to sites selected by librarians.
According to the press release, “Reference Extract is envisioned as a Web search experience similar to those provided by the world’s most popular search engines. However, unlike other search engines, Reference Extract will be built for maximum credibility of search results by relying on the expertise of librarians. Users will enter a search term and receive results weighted toward sites most often used by librarians at institutions such as the Library of Congress, the University of Washington, the State Library of Maryland, and over 2,000 other libraries worldwide.”
I think this is a fabulous idea, despite what others might think about potential librarian bias, and hope these groups take this idea a few steps further. Wouldn’t it be great if publishers, data aggregators, and libraries who maintain scholarly content could populate this engine with data from invisible web sources – like catalogs, databases, eBook platforms. We could bridge the google gap and offer our patrons a true scholarly search engine. Information industry vendors could advertise, link resolvers could be inserted based on general IP of the user, and librarians across the world could band together to offer a real time chat service on the engine. Think of the money this could save us on metasearch tools! I know, dream on.�