Posted by: Steven Harris | December 12, 2008


Is this a very 1.0 attitude? I like to browse. Search has never been my strong suit. Bad for a 2.0 guy to admit that, but I don’t think that browse is totally anathema to 2.0. I was thinking that when I heard about Google including magazines in their Book Search. I popped over to, um, browse them.  There ain’t no list of included magazines that I can find.  Google are the search folks afterall. They don’t know from browse! (That used to be a Yahoo thing…even they aren’t into browse anymore though.) I would hardly know the range of magazines included if librarygrrrl hadn’t been bookmarking them in delicious. (She says she’s not OCD!)

Google says, “articles are tagged with the keyword “Magazine” on the search snippet.” But damned if I can find magazines that I know are in there when I search. I’M A LIBRARIAN!! They’re making me feel inadequate. But, then, so is librarygrrrl. (OK, so there is a “magazine” limit in the advanced search, but still.)

Browsing a magazine in Google Books is actually quite nice when you find one. But what if I don’t know what I’m looking for? What if I just want to see what’s there, like on the newsstand? Let’s face it, a lot of the magazines included are for entertainment purposes and sometimes I just want to let serendipity guide my enjoyment.

Given the small number of titles included, I think a browse index would be easy to create. Hell, even with a large number of items, there are all manner of technologies to aid browsing, from something like iTunes “Cover Flow,” to Microsoft Reader’s “Riffle Control.” There are ways developers can let people flip through the content quickly. I think it’s time Google stopped fixating on search and gave browse its props!

PS: Thanks to the Meditating Librarian for pointing out Amazon’s Windowshop in beta. (That’s why I read blogs!) Windowshop is quite an awesome browsing tool. I imagine it will gag if you don’t have a really high-speed connection.



  1. This was my initial reaction to the magazines too! So frustrating! Plus, and this is totally of this moment and of my job: because there isn’t a browse feature, I can’t recommend that SerialsSolutions add them to the KB! Grrrr….

  2. Yeah, I’m thinking, “how can a library make use of this?”

    Still thinking…

  3. Hi I enjoyed reading your Post

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