Librarian Mick O'Leary has been writing about databases—the traditional ones you first think of if you've been around the profession for a while, and database "descendents" in this age of the Web—for a long time. His experience shows in his "Database Review" in the November 2006 issue of Information Today, where he turns his discerning and skeptical eye to Google Book Search. Just check out his first several paragraphs:
Over the past 2 years, trade journals, magazines, and newspapers have been publishing articles about Google Book Search (http://books.google.com). But even if you had read every one of them, you still wouldn't know much about the project itself, because most of the discussion has focused on the copyright controversy with little about the database and how it works. So here are the details.
Book Search is difficult to research because the Google site has little documentation about the project: There's no list of participating publishers, no guidelines for the book selection process, no status reports on the library scanning program, etc. This is not only annoying, it's hypocritical for an organization with a mission "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful."
Book Search has three book search services: 1) a library union catalog search of WorldCat and others, 2) books scanned from library collections, and 3) in-stock books provided by publishers. It's ironic that the first and most innovative of these is overlooked, while the second and most rudimentary and problem-ridden gets all of the attention.
Click HERE to read all of Mick's article in Information Today.