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Gale Databases Link to Google Image Search
Posted On October 6, 2003
Convenient, competent, and cheap—the qualities in Google appreciated by searchers everywhere have been found appealing by a major traditional information industry player. Responding to demands from users, Gale (, a subsidiary of Thomson, has created an easy transparent bridge from most of its InfoTrac products to Google's image collection. An embedded link will let users search Google's more than 425 million images—or at least those that make it through Gale's selection of the strictest of Google's SafeSearch filter options. InfoTrac users will pay no extra for searching Google.

"We added the Google Image Search in response to customer requests for additional images in our databases," said Allen Paschal, president of Gale. "We chose to partner with Google because they provide more images than any other vendor. This allows Gale to provide customers added value from our products at no charge and one convenient, single search to get the information and images they need."

To ensure that "inappropriate" images are not returned, Gale has chosen to default automatically to the Google SafeSearch "strict" filtering option. Librarians fighting the legal battle with filters (Newsbreak: "Public Libraries Face Net Filtering Following Supreme Court Decision," may choose to turn off the embedded link to the image search. However, Paschal tells us, Gale currently has no option to allow users to change or turn off just the filtering. Librarians who want full access to all Google Images will have to exit the InfoTrac system and search Google Images separately.

Before selecting Google, Gale looked into licensing content from commercial image suppliers, such as Corbis and Getty Images, but Paschal described the prices charged by those services as "ridiculous." So the company turned to Google. According to Paschal, Google put no restrictions on Gale in regard to price. "It doesn't even raise our costs since it comes off their server. As long as it lifts their traffic, it's the volume game for them. That's what they like." However, Paschal made it very clear that Gale has no plans to take an extra step and start linking to general Google searches. "We are not interested in text searches of Google. We want to keep our users heading toward the quality sources we provide."

The Google Image Search feature is active in the following InfoTrac Web products:

Academic ASAP and Backfile
Business and Company ASAP and Backfile
Business and Company ProFile Intl and Backfile
Computer Database
Contemporary Authors
Contemporary Literary Criticism
Canadian Periodical Index
European Business ASAP
Expanded Academic ASAP and Backfile
General Academic ASAP
General BusinessFile ASAP and Backfile
General BusinessFile Intl and Backfile
General Reference Center and Backfile
General Reference Center Gold and Backfile
General Reference Center and Backfile
Health Reference Center Academic
InfoTrac OneFile
InfoTrac Junior Edition
National Newspaper Index
Newsletters ASAP
InfoTrac Student Edition
The Times Digital Archive

Paschal said that Gale will wait to assess actual usage of the new feature before deciding whether to add it to other Gale products in 2004. In particular, the company might consider it for the rumored release of several new products aimed at the college market.

To search Google Images in a Gale product, users conduct a search and receive a results page with an option dialog box for a Google Images search at the top. Clicking on the link will send the search used in InfoTrac to Google. According to Gale project manager, Julia Furtaw, the system works well and fast except when the user has done an Advanced Search. The elements used in a search, including author names, journal titles, etc., will simply not transmit a useful search string to Google. However, an empty dialog box next to the link to Google Images allows searchers to enter a new and simpler statement, still without leaving InfoTrac.

Gale already provides images in some of its products, particularly those embedded in articles available in full image, e.g., with a PDF icon. However, Gale does not extract those images and provide special access to them. Identification of which articles in a result list offer images varies greatly among the various Gale products. The new Google Image connection will not reach any of Gale's own images.

Barbara Quint was senior editor of Online Searcher, co-editor of The Information Advisor’s Guide to Internet Research, and a columnist for Information Today.

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