Apr 28, 2009

Google Library and Commons

I've just discovered that Google now allows you to save public domain books into your library. What good are public domain books for Commons, you may ask? Well, in addition to being interesting historical documents, public domain books, by default, are full of public domain images. In other words: Google Books project does not only collect text, but alongside, quietly, it is collecting a vast amount of old illustrations, photos, maps and such. Examples:

[Please note, those images may not be available in full view to users outside of the United States - reason] (PS. And indeed now that I am in Poland I am seeing junk...)

I've saved a few dozens old Polish books into my library, most of them have at least several old illustrations, photos, or maps. I have no idea when I'll have time to move them to Commons, but I wonder if we should create a dedicated project that would catalogue useful books (those that have media) and report on the progress of their assimilation?

It appears Google have scanned lot of duplicates of the same book; they don't seem to have any mechanism on reporting duplicates, and their reports on damaged pages seem somewhat buggy, too. Still, for a free service, it's a great tool!

Some useful tips for working with images from Google Print:
* you can switch to html mode while browsing a public domain book (small link somewhere to the right and middle of a page) and save the resulting image as a jpeg

PS. Surfing the web, I discovered this excellent blog ("Inside Google Book Search") devoted to Google Book Search; note the use of images from Google Book public domain books.

1 comment:

Durova said...

Haven't used this feature yet myself; thank you for the reminder. :)

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