Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Google & books...full-text or full-price?

1. I'm a lazy blogger....lo siento.

2. I love Google. I'm not a librarian who smirks when someone says they search Google before they search an online purchased database. We're kidding ourselves if we think those purchased databases are easy to search or if we think they are good at retrieving the information needed by patrons (or library staff for that matter, but I won't bore you with my attempts to find quick, interesting information on honeybees or the winter solstice via our purchased content....two tasks that Google assisted me with admirably...)

3. But, while Google is a great search, I'm not so excited about the books thing, although it's possible what I'm experiencing is just growing pains. I'll give them some slack, but here's what I encountered tonight....

I was writing an e-mail to my colleagues at my place of work to share with them the "Ontology is Overrated: Categories, Links, and Tags" article which was cited by librarian.net.

As I was writing I felt the need to quote Moby-Dick (a common occurrence), but I wanted to ensure the quote I remembered was accurate, so, rather than walk across my study to pick up my well-loved copy of the book, and flip through the pages until I found my pen scratches from, like, 10 years ago, I Goggled Moby-Dick, knowing full well that Moby-Dick is available full-text online since forever (or at least 1996).

BUT, what I get in the first hit ala Google books is a nice searchable version of Moby-Dick which allowed me to quickly search and find the quote I wanted "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness is the true method" ....BUT I couldn't read more than a few pages online because, it says the information is "copywrited material."

But wait, Moby-Dick has been available in full-text forever. My only guess (not well-researched) is that this is penguin's copyright issue. (I know I'm admitting my ignorance here. But this is a post written as a gut-reaction, and the reaction is annoyed.) Will Google not take folks to the free full text as well as the book to be purchased option? Because, like patrons, I don't have the patience to look at more than one screen of Google hits, I tried another search, and this time I specified "Moby-Dick Gutenberg" (no quotes), and came up with what I wanted, but that's because I knew about Project Gutenberg, and I actually kind of expected Google to take me there to begin with...I think this is an issue for our patrons with equally short attention spans looking for real full-text--Not just a link to which I can get a taste of full-text but then have to buy the book (even when the full-text is readily available...)

For those of you aching to full full-text version of M-D: http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/gutbook/lookup?num=2701

1 Comments:

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6:29 PM  

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