title: Using Google Books API to Improve NTU Library Book Search description: “” category: tags: []


NTU library search (http://ntulibrarysearch.appspot.com/) is an app to facilitate searching books in NTU library with improved accuracy and relevance. It is powered by Google Books search api. The application is deployed on Google Appengine and the source code is available on GitHub.


The book search provided by NTU is pretty poor. I can seldom find the most relevant books. Below are some search examples for comparison.

“game engine”

Books returned from NTU library for “game engine”


Books returned from the app for “game engine”



Books returned from NTU library for “ruby”


Books returned from the app for “ruby”


It is very obvious that the results returned from NTU library search are of low relevance and even confusing. On the other hand, the results from the app are very accurate.

How it works

  1. submit query keywords to the server;
  2. Retrieve top matched books from Google Books API;
  3. Using ISBN of retrieved books to query NTU library

Known Limitations

Final Words

Putting Google Books search api on top of the library search interface is very simple and the resulting improvement is very obvious for me. Hopefully the NTU library will adapt such advanced search api to their database to make their search function usable.

Dear all NTU library users, please try the app (http://ntulibrarysearch.appspot.com/) and save your time find the books you want.