This presentation focuses on the discovery, collection, and dissemination of digitized historical books and government documents in the public domain using the FREE (how pertinent in these troubled economic times!) online repositories, Google Books and Internet Archive. Aspects of these repositories will be examined, as well as a discussion on how libraries can promote these digital sources to patrons and the community at large using SirsiDynix Workflows and Web 2.0 tools. To put this presentation in context, I must mention that the losses in our dept. from Hurricane Rita caused me to think of using digital repositories to replenish a collection of documents that were lost, some very historical and seemingly impossible to find, but were found, most in a different medium…digital!
When Hurricane Rita hit McNeese State I was living safely in Rhode Island at the time, blissfully unaware that I would be dealing with the aftermath a year later!
Rita ruined our collection because of damage to the roof, allowing rain to soak the documents, causing mold to grow…
so we lost over 10,000 unaccounted for documents tossed out by the EPA/FEMA contractors and what was left, as you see here, had to be thrown out by us…
and they were accounted for because I helped finish documenting 3,000 of them! This list helped me later on to track down digital versions of some of these documents in Google Books and Internet Archive. I did get some replacements via grants, LOC and depository donations, etc. But that was more helpful for finding more recent materials. What about the rare and historic?
Tracking the historical documents down in free digital archives and repositories such as Google Books and Internet Archive, is what ultimately helped me and helped our patrons.
Don’t get me wrong…
If you are desperate to replace lost documents then why not try to find them in a different medium? They have to be out there! So what do you do?
You sell your soul to Google, that’s what! Just kidding. Kinda. It was pure coincidence that I stumbled into finding Gov Docs I had either lost or never had in the first place via this medium. (Found a doc for a Professor in here that we no longer owned in print…lost to Rita. Saved him time…didn’t have to use ILL) It led me to find other digital repositories containing historical/public domain books, and federal, state, and local gov docs, including Internet Archive, which we will talk about later in the presentation. These example covers of are all full-text digitized books/gov docs/magazines from all different years! Some are pre-copyright law.
This is the basic page for one’s “library” that you can create with a free Google account.
You can subscribe to my RSS feed at the bottom of my Google Book Library page under the list of tags…get alerts whenever I add a new document!
Clicking on one of the books in my Google library will open up the PDF full text. Let’s open up this page in a web browser so I can demonstrate some of the features that are hard to show via screenshots. I like that you can add or remove a book to your library right here. And you can search within the entire book and page sections will be shown for you to click on and your terms will be highlighted on the page. Link tool: links are long but you can use tinyurl.com to make the url shorter if you are going to display urls. Your handout also has links to the tips on linking to a specific title or page. When you scroll to certain pages, the url link will change to reflect that so you can simply cut and paste the link from the link tool. Sometimes hard to create a link to a section within a large book, esp. gov docs (i.e. Serial Set). That can be frustrating if you want to add that link to your OPAC, which we will discuss later. When you add it to your Google Book library though, you can include a “note” that could tell patrons what chapter or page to go to in the large document. You can also view the document in different ways, as well as zoom in and out. I love the “plain text” view because usually the scanning quality for older books is not always that great. You can also give them feedback if a page is poorly scanned or text is missing just by clicking on the feedback link. The clip tool is cool. You can highlight a paragraph, save it as an image file, or embed the image by copying and pasting this code into your blog, website, or presentation. And of course you can download the entire document or book as a PDF or Sony Reader EPUB file.
The overview page shows that you can download or read the document online like we saw earlier. The “Psychology” link there is odd, I know, but Google Books lumps books together based on academic disciplines. Clicking on that will give you a list of Psychology books (about 6,000). They probably didn’t know where else to put this document. Tag term cloud is interesting and you can click on those terms to see more books that use that term. Now, if you scroll down this screen…
… you will see places mentioned in text placed on a map, with page numbers. Book information metadata is pretty terrible and inconsistent for periodicals and gov docs. Subject terms are ok for the most part. There were more for this document but it got cut off when I made the screenshot, sorry. Women and immigration and sexuality were some of the subject terms.
Another feature of Google Books that annoys me is that the scanning quality isn’t always good. Those big university libraries partnered with Google had to scan and scan FAST. Sometimes a hand or fingers appear! That’s REALLY bad. This is not a joke…
You’ll notice the search by “Limited preview” or “Full view only” search…choose Full view unless you want to torture yourself with limited snippet views. We’ll look at that a bit later. If you want to search for only government documents, use the following terms in the publisher field: Publisher: GPO OR &quot;Government Printing Office&quot; OR Govt OR &quot;Govt. Print. Off.” Or try an author search using the above terms. You can also search by agency, (i.e. &quot;Department of the Interior&quot;) by typing the name of the agency in the Author field. Searching for “United States” OR U.S. in the author field works too.
Now, for finding digitized state docs, use the advanced search and plug in the name of the state, and try state OR department OR agency. Or you could simply enter the name of the state agency in the Author field, i.e. “Louisiana Supreme Court”.
Another search I tried was for a patron who wanted to look at historical books about Louisiana from the mid 18 th century to early 19 th century before the Louisiana Purchase. We didn’t have much of that material so I suggested they visit LSU or Tulane or do an ILL, but we tried a search in Google Books and the patron and I were pleased to get a few results. Note that you can also add books right away to your library.
Here’s what happens if you don’t search just the “Full view only” mode. You open up a record and you can search within the book for snippets instead of the full text. Yeah, where is the rest of this book, Google? Well, some pre-copyright historical books will also have snippet views, which is silly. And despite government documents being in the public domain, Google Books treats most post-1922 (i.e. post-copyright law) government documents as copyrighted material by only allowing a snippet view! I’ve found pre-copyright law gov docs in snippet view too which is even more annoying. Clicking on that question “Where’s the rest of this book? leads you to a page that talks about copyright status and a contact form. So I contacted them. Their response: Thanks for your message. Our approach is to err on the side of caution and display at most a few snippets until we have determined that a book is no longer under copyright. We're looking into solutions to increase the number of books accessible in full view worldwide. Please note that some books that are available as PDF downloads in one location may not be available in other countries, depending on local copyright laws. Our goal is to make Google Book Search as useful as possible, and that means including books as soon as we can rather than waiting for a perfect determination of public domain status. Thank you for your understanding. Sincerely, Katharine The Google Book Search Team Ok, enough grumbling. There is another tool we can use that won’t give you snippet views…
While Google has been hastily and sometimes messily scanning zillions of books for its Book Search project or ignoring that most gov docs are in the public domain, the Internet Archive is quietly, steadily, and carefully digitizing thousands of public domain titles every day...the text collection on archive.org is the world's largest online collection of free books and other forms of media. They partner with other libraries just like Google does. They are asking the current administration to do a shovel-ready stimulus project to scan even more books. Founded in 1996, &quot;The Internet Archive is a non-profit that was founded to build an 'Internet library,' with the purpose of offering permanent access for researchers, historians, and scholars to historical collections that exist in digital format.&quot; This ever-growing site includes archived Web pages, texts (historical pre-1921 copyright, public domain books, open source books, gov docs, audio, films, etc. And you don’t feel like you’re selling your soul when using it. Your library or just you can contribute!
I love their advanced search! Mediatype: Text Custom fields: publisher, language, subject
Texts Collections include American Libraries Collection and the sub-collection of USA Gov Docs. (See next slide)
This collection has many historical books and both federal and state gov docs. You can search by keyword in just this collection.
There is also an “Additional-Sub-collection” of USA Gov Docs (over 90,000 items and growing) but it’s mainly federal. Many partner libraries, including Boston Public. No keyword search for this sub-collection! You have to use the browse features. They have an RSS feed I subscribe to. Note the spotlight gov doc…all blacked out!
Let’s look at the federal gov doc I found after doing a search for a gov doc book we lost to Rita. I know 1994 isn’t very historical but the topic is and it is a public domain book, so we’ll use it as an example!
Notice the record says “Not in copyright”! Good job, guys. They did their homework, unlike Google. Great metadata at the bottom, telling you what equipment was used. Sometimes the subject, publisher, and author metadata will not be so consistent but it is way better than Google’s metadata! URLs are stable. Different formats to view and download the book: PDF, HTML Full Text, “flip” the pages of the book! “Flip Book” link is now “Read Online”.
Let’s look at a demo of flipping and searching within the book this way.
It is kind of rudimentary (no tagging/sorting by subject) but these bookmarked documents can be shared on your website, blog, a wiki subject guide or a social bookmarking tool of your choice. Now has an RSS feed!!! I suggested it to them and they implemented it. It also kinda helps that my friend works for them.
So, you have all these wonderful books gathered. You have purls/urls. What do you do with them? You can add them to your OPAC! Rita damaged this book that we now found in Google Books. Hoorah! Let’s put that URL in our OPAC record and modify/tweak the record accordingly. I have to “un-shadow” the record (record was hidden from public view but visible to us in case we could later replace it). I add the url but add the special prefix url tracking doohickey that LOUIS created to gather stats on how many times gov doc urls in the OPAC are accessed or “clicked on”. If you don’t know what this is or not sure if your library has it, ask LOUIS or visit their website to learn about it. LOUIS also has a report for checking dead urls in the Reports section of their website or go here: http://veg002.ocs.lsu.edu/~Louis/lz0003.html
Then I have to make sure the record reflects that it’s an E-Doc on the web ONLY. It’s no longer in print format. It’s been reincarnated. You’ll notice we still have the microfiche version though. But student patrons hate using microfiche so I’m glad I found the digitized version! I don’t have a screenshot for when I actually did a call number and item maintenance tweak instead of just adding an item like so. I prefer to have a separate call number and item that says “SEE ELECTRONIC ADDRESS” and then the type is E-DOC and the home location is DOCSWEB. Like so…
But what if you didn’t have this record or never had the document in the first place? Just get it from OCLC and modify the record in your own OPAC accordingly. (i.e. add the url)
So now what else can you do you do with these wonderful documents you found? I put a link to the MSU Gov Doc GB Library account and the RSS feed as well as my IA bookmarks and RSS feed in various parts of my depository's website and in our &quot;Gov Guides&quot; wiki. Sometimes I simply mention the digital doc or url in our Gov Guides wiki. And I will have tutorials for how to search GB and IA too. Sometimes I’ll bookmark a digital book from GB or IA in Delicious. I use twitter or blog posts to highlight a cool doc or book I find in GB or IA too. Sometimes the students tweet back that they thought a title was funny or interesting. That makes my day!
Add links to these digital docs in your library website, research guides, etc. Have a section explaining how to use these digital repository tools too. I teach our History and Humanities Research Methods course how to research in Internet Archive and Google Books and they love it! So do the Professors!
It’s our job to think of and try new ways to get “documents to the people”. Many patrons, including students, are using digital documents and “Web 2.0” tools. Bring the information to them and they will also come to us and to our physical collections.
Contact me if you have further questions or need any help!
Historical Books @ Your Fingertips: Using Google Books & Internet Archive to Discover, Collect, and Share Digitized Public Domain Books
Historical Books @ Your Fingertips: Using Google Books & Internet Archive to Discover, Collect, and Share Digitized Public Domain Books Rebecca Blakeley, McNeese State University