Saturday, November 11, 2006

Librarian's Book Revoogle

Many of us have a degree called a Master of Library Science. We call ourselves "librarians" and never call ourselves "scientists." Maybe we should think more about science, especially running experiments, making observations, and reporting our findings. In the interest of our science, we would report our failures as well as our successes.

I am sounding a little grand. The reality is I have been playing around with something that is not working the way I want it to work. Here is what I have done.

I have tried to make a search engine using the custom search engine tool from Google Co-op. My idea was to create a search engine to search across library and librarians' websites to find book reviews written by librarians for their libraries or on their blogs. In an attempt to be clever, I have called it Librarian's Book Revoogle.

The search engine does work, but not as well as I would like. It is of use to me to locate some of my own book reviews and some of the reviews by other librarians that I read, but it is not a tool I think many of you will use. Here are the shortcomings.

1. There is too little content. I have not found many libraries posting book reviews on their websites. Along the same lines, I have found very few librarians regularly posting book reviews to their blogs. At this moment, the search engine searches the following:

Nancy Pearl's Picks Archive
Nancy Pearl's Current Picks on the King County Library website
King County's Archive of Nancy Pearl's Fiction Picks
King County's Archive of Nancy Pearl's Nonfiction Picks

Reader's Club from the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County
MADreads from the Madison Public Library
Memphis Reads from the Memphis Public Library

Maggie Reads
Nonfiction Reader's Anonymous
BookGirl (who I think is a librarian)
ricklibrarian (no link as you are already here)

Many of the other library websites that I have visited seem to post book news and reading lists, not actual reviews. I did not want to dilute the database with just one or two line statements.

I found very few librarians primarily writing reviews. In fact, my blog actually fails this test, as I seem to be writing about libraries more than writing reviews lately.

If you know of other reviews I could include, please comment on this page.

2. The results are cluttered by false hits. When I search for one of my own reviews I often get eight or more links. One is to the actual review. The rest are to the blog postings that have a link to the review in the "Recent Posts" sidebar.

It was an interesting experiment and I learned much about the websites I tested for inclusion. Perhaps that is the nature of experimentation - you learn something other than what you intended.

I wonder if a search engine for read-a-like lists would be useful. There is always something else to try.


Library Lady said...

Rick, you have got to make this work! The name is too good to let it flop!

I'm sorry about the articles on libraries and reading lately. I haven't found the time to read. I loathe reviewing a book I haven't read. My ethics won't let me do it, yet I'm obligated to write SOMETHING weekly.

Really, the name is too cool to let this idea cease. Let me know if I can help. Yea, I know, write more reviews! :P


kristin said...

As someone who does readers' advisory a search tool for read-a-like lists would be fabulous!

As for reviews... It's also possible that not every librarian who writes reviews identifies him- or herself as a librarian on the website. (Like for example)

ricklibrarian said...

Kristin, Thanks for another site. mishareads is now being searched by the Librarian's Book Revoogle.

It may be rather narrow-minded really to limit to librarians,as there are many good readers who write. I was hoping to keep out reviews with a commercial mission.

Maggie, I too only review what I read. I think two of my reviews are of books I just skimmed, one being photography book and the being the Librarian's Handbook.

The Shifted Librarian said...

You could also add , , and . More from ?

This is a great idea!

ricklibrarian said...

Thanks for the sites, Jenny. Content is rising!

The Shifted Librarian said...

Can't believe I forgot this one - !

Carla said...

This is a lovely site, and the blogger wants to be a librarian! She might welcome your counsel...

Nonanon said...

I agree this is a great idea, Rick, not only for its utility but also as a tool to GET LIBRARIANS BLOGGING, which is not happening enough to suit me. Bookshelves of Doom, a great YA site, is also written by a librarian in Maine:

Co-op said...


My name is Guha and I work on Google Custom Search. I really want to make sure this works!

What can we do to help? My email is guha at

John Dupuis said...

Hi, I'm a librarian and I review books at my Reading Diary.

Nancy said...

Hi. I'm a librarian, and I write book reivews. My personal book-review (and other review/essay stuff) site is I'd be happy if you included my blog, if it fits your criteria.



ricklibrarian said...

Everyone, I have added the suggested websites to the search engine. Try some searches!

Kate said...

I use this all of the time to check out Young Adult lit!

Susan said...

Our library book review blog is new, but we hope to have more content soon. From Newton, MA:

From the Dover, MA library:
and wiki:

And in Cincinnati:

Tim said...

You're welcome to use my website as well. I do fairly regular book reviews and they're easy to find among all the other nonsense.

Anonymous said...

would any of the blog entries on our page be a good addition?

ricklibrarian said...

I have added Cincinnati and the other suggested sources to the blog. Thanks.

HHSLibrarian said...

Nice work! Here's another blog for Revoogle (*great* name) -- see if you think it is review-y enough, though.

Michelle Jeske said...

Denver Public Library has tons of librarian reviews of adult, teen, and kids books:

ricklibrarian said...

The new suggestions have been added.

Dollar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bill Pardue said...

Hi, Rick! I just wanted to let you know that my wife Lora now has a popular fiction book blog called Pop Goes Fiction at She focuses on genre fiction, mysteries, page-turners, etc. with the approach of a Readers' Advisory librarian (10 full years at Downers Grove and still a substitute there). That means lots of read-alike suggestions as well!

Running With Books said...

Hi Rick,the Deerfield Public Library has just started a readers' advisory blog. We don't have much up yet, but we plan to have book reviews. Will you consider adding us to the Librarian's Book Revoogle?

Deb said...

I am also creating a book review CSE, and one source I found that fits your criteria (library) is Blogging for a Good Book, a review-a-day blog from the Williamsburg (Va.) Public Library.