Tuesday, 29th August 2006
Google Allowing Some Books for Offline Printing BUT Don't Forget About Other Sources (Free)
Using Google's Book Search service, Web surfers hunting titles like Dante's "Inferno" and Aesop's "Fables" will be able to download PDF files of the books for later reading, to run keyword searches or to print them on paper. Up to now, the service only allowed people to read the out-of-copyright books online.
Useful idea? Sure. But it's hardly a new one. For example, Michael Hart (Wikipedia entry) and Project Gutenberg have been making books available online for 35 years and allowing downloads in a number of formats.
Here are a few sample searches (using titles promoted in the news stories) of Google Book Search along with a list of more sources for full text books.
+ A Google Book Search for Aesop's Fables. We've also limited the search to "full view" books. The first 10 results (when we searched) do NOT include the original Aesop's Fables by Aesop.
Results #9 is The Fables of Aesop
No link to print the book in PDF. Perhaps this is an opening day glitch?
Update: Since several versions are available we did find one that is printable. The books are searchable by keyword but cannot be browsed by chapter/section or in this case fable.
Another title mentioned is Dante's "Inferno". Here's a search for that title limited to full view books. We did not find the book in the Top 20 results. However, an advanced search limited to author does show the book and it's available for printing. Will people take the time to limit by author? Again, the PDF versions do not allow browsing by chapter and for those of you who like scanned fingers (this was a meme going around a few week's ago) look at page 5.
Project Gutenberg just celebrated its 35th anniversary. You'll see they provide several versions (various translations) of Aesop's Fables available for download. In the case of this title, it can be downloaded in numerous formats including:
+ Plain text
+ MS Lit for PocketPC
+ Palm Database
More info here including history and various FTP sites located around the world.
Want more? No problem.
Perhaps the best place to begin is Dave Mattison's British Columbia Digital Library.
Although the site is named the British Columbia Digital Library there is something here for everyone. The Directories, Guides, Portals and Search Engines to Digital Libraries section is enough to keep one going for several weeks. MORE THAN worth a look. You're likely to come away with many databases and sites to explore. Kudos Dave!
What follows is the a very small tip of a very large iceberg.
The World eBook Library
Here, in one place, access to over 330,000 full text books and growing. All in PDF and ready for printing. The cost? Only $8.95/year. They plan to have over 500,000 titles by 2007. Institutional memberships are also available. Titles in more than 100 languages and powerful advanced search features. A guided tour is available here. NOTE: The World eBook Library just completed the World eBook Fair where their ENTIRE library was available at no charge. Another eBook Fair will be coming in October.
2) International Children's Digital Library
From the University of Maryland. Here's a list of some recently added books. Very impressive!!! The search interface is amazing and is the way the books are presented. We also love the "Simple" search interface.
NOTE: The books here are not available for printing but the scanning is impressive and so is the presentation we thought it was worth an entry.
3) Shop ebrary
Many know this service as one licensed to libraries. However, they also offer over 20,000 NEW books free. All you need to do is put a minimum of $5 on account. You are only charged to print or copy a page. About 25 cents.
4) NetLibrary Text and Audio Books
Lots of content including books from Project Gutenberg that can be printed and nicely organized by chapter. Many libraries of all types offer this service for free. All you need is a library card. Both OLD and just released books. Again, a library card is all you need. We sure wish OCLC would do more to help libraries promote these services.
5) The Online Books Page at the University of Pennsylvania provides access to 10s of thousands of free books. As you'll see here, new books are added daily. Access to all books, free.
See Also: DigitalBookIndex
6) The Open Access Text Archive from the Internet Archive
Includes over 10,000 books from the Million Books Project. The Internet Archive is also running the Open Content Alliance.
7) A few titles and collections that caught our eye today:
+ Digital Collections of the National Library of Australia
Most material printable. Manuscripts, sheet music, books, maps, and more.
+ Biologia Centrali-Americana from the Smithsonian Libraries (a work in progress, over 58 volumes)
+ The Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection from the Library of Congress (Many available as PDF's)
The illustrated book, fifteenth through twentieth centuries.
+ Canadian Corporate Report Archive (prototype, via McGill University)
Materials in PDF.
+ Medicine in the Americas, 1619-1914: A Digital Library
Titles in PDF form.
+ National Center for Biotechnology Information Medical Bookshelf
+ Making of America (MoA)
Making of America (MoA) is a digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction. The collection is particularly strong in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology. The collection currently contains approximately 9,500 books and 50,000 journal articles with 19th century imprints.
+ Harvard University Open Collections Program
+ The Library of the Internet Shakespeare Edition (via University of Victoria)
View and compare facsimiles of the works as originally printed; explore in-depth annotation of the plays as they are edited by our team of scholars.
+ Historic American Sheet Music (via Duke University)
Digital images of over 16,000 pages of sheet music from 3042 pieces published in the United States between 1850 and 1920.
Images are .jpg files and can be printed.
See Also: Using CustomizeGoogle, a well-known (over 5 million downloads) and very robust program for Firefox you can restablish right-click image printing for any Google Book Search book page.
See Also: Looking for Some Digitized "Historic" Video? Check out a Few Databases at the Bottom of this Post
See Also: Google Adds Library Search to Book Search: Thoughts, Issues, Questions