Chances are, you use Google every day. As one of the most widely used search engines, it’s the first thing many of us try for our casual information needs, and sometimes even for major scholarship. Google has tried to tailor their products to support higher education – Google Scholar being one result of this. Google Scholar can link directly into our library’s catalog and databases, and even send citation information to tools like RefWorks for creating your bibliography pages – all using Google’s friendly, clean interface. And for faculty, it can track you or your colleagues’ publications, sending you an email whenever someone cites your work (and creating graphs and other metrics of its use). Another tool is Google Books, which was created with the partnerships of several major universities, including Harvard, Stanford, and the University of Michigan. If the book isn’t full text online, Google often gives you a preview of it, and it links directly into WorldCat, letting you see whether our library has the book or else letting you request it through Interlibrary Loan.
But Google wants to be ingrained in college life even further. For years, Google has run a Student Ambassador program – teaching students how to use Google applications and resources to best accommodate rigorous scholarship. Students selected to be ambassadors are brought to Google Headquarters in California for a training summit in August where they enjoy a few days hanging out with other ambassadors from around the world, playing with Google’s newest products, and learning how to make the most of them in school work. Then, they return to their campus and spread that knowledge. Ambassadorships last for one academic year and require about 10 hours per month of work.
But ambassadorship works both ways. You’re not just bringing Google to IU East, you’re bringing IU East to Google! The ambassador program is designed to help Google understand university culture and needs, so that their products do a better job promoting deep research and scholarship. Your participation will make Google work better for university students like you! You’ll also make great contacts, especially if the idea of a career with Google appeals to you.