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August 01, 2008

SEO and digital libraries

Lorcan Dempsey, SEO is part of our business, picks up on a post by John Wilkin, Our hidden digital libraries, concerning our collective inability to expose digital library content to search engines like Google effectively.

This is something I've touched on several times in recent presentations, particularly with reference to repositories, so I'm really pleased to see it getting some air-time.  This is our problem... we need to solve it!  We can't continue to blame search engines for not trying hard enough to get at and index our content - we need to try harder to expose it in Google-friendly ways.

I agree with John that doing this for many significant digital libraries may not be trivial (though, actually, in the case of your average institutional repository I think it comes pretty close) but it needs doing nonetheless.  As Lorcan says, we need to emphasise "'disclosure' as a new word in our service lexicon. We may not control the discovery process in many cases, so we should be increasingly concerned about effective disclosure to those discovery services. Effective disclosure has be be managed, whether it is about APIs, RSS feeds, support for inbound linking, exposure to search engines, ...".

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