Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Wonder of Books

For as long as this librarian can remember the power of a book has just been magical; that is unless it was a required dry textbook better left as a last resort if stranded on a desert island surrounded by swarms of sharks.  Each room in my home (except for the bathrooms, believe it or not) houses stacks of and shelves of books to be read, kept as treasures to be read again and again or shared with others that have like interests.

Being plagued of late, literally at times, with symptoms of the latest respiratory flu bug, has found me lacking the ability to do more than sit for awhile or sleep.  And so began my exploration of Google Books.

In 2004 this site was launched under the name, Google Print.  In that short time Google Print has changed its name, digitized more than 15 million books from more than 35,000 publishers, more than 40 libraries and more than 100 countries in more than 400 languages.  This phenomenal undertaking is truly providing the right book to the right reader at the right time which was a mantra for all library science students attending college when I did.

Google Books offers the user the opportunity to search for content that matches a search word or words.  A list of books appears. Reference pages have been designed for every book. By clicking on About This Book readers can read a review or write a review, look through a selection of book covers of related titles, view selected pages, other editions,  a list of common terms and phrases, popular passages, references to the book on web pages, other books or from Google Scholar, notes about the author and bibliographic details. If it has been determined that a good number of quality locations are mentioned in the book, a map will be shown of those places in this section.     Depending on the type of view provided; full, limited, snippet or none, a varied amount of pages from the book is available to see.

A library where the book may be found, where it can be purchased from a variety of sources or whether it is added to Your Library are reader choices.  When I clicked on Find a Library it immediately took me to WorldCat.  This inter-connectivity is simple amazing. 

Popular passages or quotations can also by linked between books.

If a book is out of copyright Google Books has added a download PDF button where it can be read in its entirety at the reader's own pace. 

As if this was not enough this past December Google expanded this site to include Google eBooks

Even though I have a free Amazon Kindle app on my Samsung Android phone I can only download Amazon eBooks.  But using the free Android app at Google eBooks I can access all eBooks.  It was easy to download.  There was a QR code at the Google Books' web site which I scanned.  It took me to the web page where I was able to download this app.  It will take some getting used to but it is just another option to reading what, where and when one wants.

One final selection available through Google involving their books package is the new, in December of 2010, app called Google Ngram Viewer.  This device allows the user to enter in a term or terms seeing graphically how the use began, increased or decreased over time.  When a particular time slot is selected a list of relative books appears. 

The wonder of books in all its forms is marvelous.

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