Google, Public Libraries, and the Deep Web

Alieda Blandford


A February 2012 Pew Internet survey found that 91% of online adults use search engines to find information on the web (Purcell, Brenner, & Rainie, 2012). Asked which search engine they use most often, 83% of search users say Google.

This paper outlines a (not insurmountable) challenge to public libraries, which have a mandate to facilitate public access to information. A preliminary study reveals that many public libraries in Canada currently block their catalogues from Google’s indexing robots, effectively rendering their resources invisible to the majority of internet searchers. This fact undermines the purpose and functionality of public libraries’ Online Public Library Catalogues (OPACs). This paper will address the problem of dynamic content for search engine robots, and suggest solutions, such as the creation of sitemaps, as well as illustrating the need for future studies.



Search engines; the Deep Web; OPACs

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