Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Thing #14: Google Books

Thing #14: Google Books

We were going to do Technorati for Thing #14, but due to the fact that most people were rather unimpressed with the short introduction they got from the RSS feed finding, we're replacing it with Google Books. Why? We all use Google. We use it at home; we use it at work. Many people are unaware that besides searching the web, they can also use Google for searching through the full text of books.

In 2002, Google launched their Google Book Search Site as a step toward allowing people to search all of the world's book. Within a couple years, Google had partnered with the University of Michigan, Oxford University, and other prestigious libraries to digitize their large collections as part of their Google Library Project--we're talking millions of books that will be available to be searched online. Imagine being able to see first editions of local history books, or being able to search for a book relevant to an obscure topic.

Google Books offers full view options for many books in the public domain and preview (or snippet) view of others that still retain copyright. You can limit your search to full view if you only want to retrieve books that are completely available in digitized form.

To finish Thing #15:

1) Visit Google Book Search. Try a sample search on a topic that interests you--be sure to try out the "Full View only," so that you can find some books that will be presented in their entirety. If you're having trouble, try Google's Help Center.

2) Click on a book to view. Look at how you can explore the pages by browsing, the table of contents (if there is one), and searching within the book.

3) Create a blog post about your experience. What benefits does Google Book Search have for our libraries? What does it mean for extending access to information? What don't you like about this site? Do you have concerns about copyright? Let us know your thoughts.

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