[Web4lib] Google Allows Downloads of out-of-copyright Books

Jonathan Gorman jtgorman at uiuc.edu
Thu Nov 2 11:03:51 EST 2006

Some quick testing seems to show that some searches I've been doing return 
less results, but if I add words to my search I get items that didn't 
appear before.  Perhaps they're testing out some new algorithms and trying 
to restrict the number returned to a smaller set, but cutting out some of 
the titles.  How odd.

Of course, I don't remember the "Full view books" radio button being there 

Sample search: ale

I remember trying to find a copy of the book "Curiosities of Beer and 
Ales"  a while ago and trying several different searches.  When searching 
just Ale, I found the related book "In Praise of Ale" in the first page or 
two.  Now doing just the search Ale in either "All Books" or "Full view 
books" doesn't bring that book in the results.

Doing the search: praise ale

seems to bring it up as the top hit.

How very unGoogle like.  Curious.  Perhaps they've been trying to return 
the precision of the results so that there aren't so many hits?  Some 
performance tweaking?  Or have the algorithms stayed the same but they 
added more books, causing results to be skewed?  Ah well, I'll let someone 
else figure this out ;).

Jonathan T. Gorman
Research Information Specialist
University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana
216 Main Library - MC522
1408 West Gregory Drive
Urbana, IL 61801
Phone: (217) 244-4688

On Thu, 2 Nov 2006, Crocker, Daniel wrote:

> I've been a bit out of the loop, but has anyone else noticed a dramatic
> loss of access to these texts? I'd been so pleased to announce to people
> that a good portion of our fragile special collections material could be
> read online, and today see no sign of the books in Google Book search.
> Searches at books.google.com that once found several dozen texts now
> find only a handful, even prior to limiting to full-view books. Our list
> of 17 texts duplicated in our paper collection has been reduced to just
> 1.
> I've sent Google essentially the same question, and will summarize any
> reply I get - but have any of you any information about what's happened
> to this service?
> Much obliged,
> Daniel Crocker
> Electronic Resources Librarian
> New England College of Optometry - Library
> 424 Beacon St.
> Boston, MA 02115
> crockerd at neco.edu
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