GOOGLE BOOKS:UNLEASH THE POWERMary Wallace Moore @trustylibrarian
Power Tool #1: IndexingTraditionally, how have we found relevant content in books and other print literature? Tables of Contents (created by the author) Indexes (created by the publisher) Subject Headings (assigned by librarians)All of these tools are useful. But their power is limited by the amount of space available in the book or the amount of time people have to develop them.
Power Tool #1: IndexingWith Google Books, all content is indexed. The entire text of every book is searched, not just the metadata associated with the book.
Suppose you are researching portrayals of theHatfield-McCoy feud in poetry and song . . . .
Power Tool #1: IndexingThe book found by this search was not about the Hatfield-McCoy feud. The relevant content is only a small portion of a book about folk music.The tenacious researcher would have found this information eventually, but full-text searching makes this content quicker and easier to find.
Power Tool #2: Digital TextHalf the battle in research is discovering what sources hold the content you need. The other half of that battle is the struggle to obtain the source.With Google Books and other providers of public domain content such as Project Gutenberg and HathiTrust, you may be able to download the entire text to your computer, tablet or eReader.
Power Tool #2: Digital TextIf “Free GoogleeBook”appears in thebookdescription, youmay downloadthe entire text inePUB or PDFformat. Or youmay read itonline.Limit yoursearch to justfree books byclicking on “FreeGoogle eBooks”in the left-handnavigation bar.
Power Tool #2: Digital TextWho says you need the whole book? Very often researchers only need a chapter, page, or passage out of a book.Many books in Google Books are still under copyright and not available for free download. But often you are able to read some pages as a teaser. You might be lucky enough to discover the relevant content you need as part of the free preview. Bookmark the page to return easily using the permalink icon.
Power Tool #3: Book ProfilesWhile in a book preview,look for the link “Aboutthis book.” The depth ofdetail varies, but the bookprofile is worth checking.For example, the profilefor Rice’s book includesreviews, other editions,related titles, links topreview content, tags,popular passages,references to the book inother literature (with links),and bibliographic details.
Power Tool #4: Sources for PrintWhat if you still need print? Links to Booksellers & LibrariesCurrently, Google offers links to other booksellers selling the print edition. This service will end in 2013.You may also check for a copy at your local library using the “Find in a library” link.
Power Tool #4: Sources for PrintThe “Find in a library” link takes you to WorldCat.org, a catalog of books and media in libraries around the world. The book’s owning libraries are ranked in order with the library closest to you listed at the top.Not all libraries are listed in WorldCat, and it is not a live search of your local public library catalog. Always follow up with a check online (or by phone) of your library’s actual holdings.If your local library still doesn’t have the book, you may request it through interlibrary loan for free or a nominal charge.
Bonus Tip: Magazine ArticlesGoogle Books alsoincludes some full-textarticles selected fromapproximately 130magazines. Your localpublic library will havea more powerfulperiodical database,but it may be worthchecking. For example,a search for “TallulahBankhead” producedinteresting articles in1940s and 1950s LIFEmagazine. Advanced Search box: http://books.google.com/advanced_book_search