Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Google Books and Library History Digitization

In an earlier post I discussed Google Books and its value to the library history buff and library historian. I also acknowledged that there were some limitations to retrieving documents using this feature of Google. As a regular user of Google Books I have been building a library of books and periodicals relating to library history using the "My Library" feature of Google Books. The Google Books "My Library" for Larry Nix is located at here. There is a permanent link to the library on the Library History Buff Blog home page. My "My Library" contains over 200 library history related publication along with a limited number of items related to philately. I have created labels for these publications on the left side of the home page. A major flaw in Google Books is the difficulty in locating periodicals. I have created labels for the library periodicals that I have been able to locate. These include many volumes for ALA Bulletin, Library Journal, Public Libraries, ALA Proceedings, and others. I encourage you to create your own "My Library" and select items from my "My Library" which may be of use or interest to you. The hit and miss nature of Google Books as it relates to library history calls for a more proactive approach by the library history community in identifying priority publications for digitization and working to get them digitized. In Wisconsin we have succeeded in getting the Wisconsin Library Bulletin digitized by Google Books and a few years of this publication are beginning to appear, but much more needs to be done. Also, because of the poor quality and organization of some of the digitization by Google Books, other approaches to the digitization of library history materials need to be explored.

Full views of items in Google Books are included for many publications. Limited views, snippet views, and no views are included for others depending on copyright status and agreements with publishers. In the future if the proposed agreement between Google and publishers is finalized, full views of many more items will be available either through institutional or personal subscriptions.

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