Google Print and the Online Library

Well, here’s a thing. Following on from my last post, Groklaw has an article on Google wishing to create a searchable database of all books and on the outrage from a small selection of authors.

As I understand it, any book in the public domain will be readable from the Google book search. Any book not in the public domain will just bring up a few lines from the page. So, if you search for the words “time machine”, you will likely get as one of your results “The Time Machine” and, as it is public domain, you will be able to read it from the search. If one of your results from that search is a non-public domain book, you will see a small extract from whichever page has those words on it.

In my view, the Google print search will be an excellent resource for students, libraries, schools and the rest of us. I have a lousy memory and am pretty disorganised. A number of times I have a vague recollection of a book – maybe just a line or a character name – and am unble to recall which book it was from. This would help me immensely.

For students and schools, it could enhance their studies because they could find the books relevant to whatever they are writing and maybe even the chapter they need. It could also act in a similar way to the “I’m feeling lucky” search in the main Google page or Firefox‘s “Stumble Uponextension. You search for a phrase and see a book that you may like to read that you wouldn’t already have seen.

In my opinion, this would be great for searchers, great for authors – they get their works known about by a larger audience – and great for publishers – surely they can only sell more books that way.

Since the web became popular, every year has brought more and more articles predicting the death of print text – something which fills me with horror. I love reading books (e-Books don’t do it for me), I enjoy holding a book and knowing that the only thing stopping me from completing it is how long I can stay awake. Authors put a lot of time and effort into their work and the least we can do is read them.

While the internet has a great part to play in publicising the written word and in allowing us to discuss it, I hope it will never replace it.

It never will for me.

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Posted on 5 November, 2005, in Books, Computer Stuff, Old Stuff. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Google Print and the Online Library.

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