The University of Michigan library is at the cutting edge of a new trend of Universities working with traditional web search engines to make their data more accessable to the public:
Yahoo has also signed agreements with the University of Michigan to make searchable the university’s compendium of academic collections from more than 250 institutions. And it has indexed a digital repository at Northwestern University of more than 2,000 hours of Supreme Court oral arguments.
> From NYTimes: “Old Search Engine, the Library, Tries to Fit Into a Google World”
And this from the Ann Arbor News:
U-M is in a position to share data with those two search engines after winning a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to start its own networked search service in June 2002. Called OAIster (pronounced oyster), which stands for Open Archives Initiative, the service began providing access to the online collections of 50 digital academic libraries. Users can pull up images and primary source materials. Now, it provides access to the collections of about 300 libraries.
Since it’s a new system, it’s not yet widely used by students but is gaining in popularity. It recorded 5,000 hits per month at the start of the year and by the end of this academic year, OAIster recorded 17,000 hits a month.
Now, OAIster essentially provides Yahoo the electronic keys to open the doors to the institutions’ online collections and a card catalog to find materials, so the search engines can better locate and index the information. Google now gets access to some data as well.
> From “U-M wises up Google, Yahoo”
I’m not exactly sure how this will work out for average users, however it might be part of the new MIRLYN they’re planning to roll out in July.
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