Public Libraries and Search Engines
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Although public libraries are dedicated to connecting people to information, the information resources offered by many Canadian libraries are currently inaccessible to search engine indexing robots, and thus effectively invisible to online searchers. This mixed-method study investigates factors that may be impacting the visibility of Canadian public library resources on search engines through semi-structured interviews with library staff in ten libraries across Canada. Quantitative data about each library’s website is used to provide a more complete picture of the current visibility of participating libraries. The study identifies attitudes, organizational factors, and technological factors that may be motivating, inhibiting, and enabling search engine visibility, and provides recommendations on how to address these factors. By delving into the underlying factors which may be affecting libraries’ progress on the issue, this study aims to help inform libraries’ decision-making processes and practices, as well as clarifying avenues for further research.