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Revista Interamericana de Bibliotecología

Print version ISSN 0120-0976

Abstract

GASPAROTTO, Melissa. Using Google’s Custom Search Engine Product to Discover Scholarly Open Access and Cost-Free eBooks from Latin America. Rev. Interam. Bibliot [online]. 2018, vol.41, n.2, pp.153-166. ISSN 0120-0976.  http://dx.doi.org/10.17533/udea.rib.v41n2a04.

Many Latin American scholarly monographs are available for free to read and download in a scattered fashion across the web, hosted on educational, institutional and government websites as well as commercial websites and publishing platforms. There is as of yet no single way to identify all of this content at once, but web-based discovery leveraging existing search engine indexing would seem to be a likely option. This case study suggests and evaluates one such method for discovery of open access and other cost-free scholarly monographs produced in Latin America. One possible configuration of Google’s Custom Search Engine product is proposed and evaluated, and findings suggest its usefulness for a variety of applications, including for collection development, the preparation of thematic research guides with open content, and the enrichment of existing lists of open access eBook sources from Latin America. Unlike existing open access eBook portals, which search across known collections of such materials, search portals such as the one proposed allow users to search across the entire web to uncover scholarly free eBook sources that were previously unknown to them alongside known content sources, a key advantage to this method of discovery. The results further suggest the importance of pursuing discovery of these monograph titles outside established known collections, as an astonishing 45 % of all monographs identified through the Custom Search Engine portal were not discoverable in any edition, print or electronic, through WorldCat, and only 27 % were indexed by Google Books. Additionally, the low number of these eBook titles hosted in preservation-worthy repositories raises cause for concern about their long-term digital availability.

Keywords : Open Access, eBooks, scholarly monographs, search engines; Latin America.

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