December 22, 2004

Google Print is Cool

Thanks to Mary Minow for blogging about Google's new library project, which is officially called Google Print.

To see it in action, try performing a regular Google search on a classic author. All of the following worked for me: William Blake, Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe. Certain subjects will work also, such as English Literature.

You'll see "Book results for" with a cute icon of some colorful books on a shelf.

You are then led to a page somewhat like Amazon's "look inside the book." All you really get is a random look at a few pages, though, if the book is copyrighted. Not sure what good that does anyone.

I tried to find a book that might be available in its entirety but wasn't able to. I reasoned that some of the books available at Project Gutenberg might be likely to also show up on Google Print, but that wasn't the case. I couldn't find The Odyssey or A Christmas Carol. Then I decided to try Google's own example of a book in the public domain, but when I searched for "books and culture" nothing came up. Then I tried "Hamilton Wright Mabie" and it did come up. OK, now I'm hooked. By reverse engineering the URL and putting a high page number at the end I was able to verify that the whole darn book is in there.

What else can I say at this point except Google Print is Cool?

December 14, 2004

Partnership or Rivalry?

Whenever Google comes out with some cool new thing I usually rejoice, but sometimes it does feel a bit like they're encroaching on librarian territory. I particularly remember some of my colleagues grumbling about Google Answers. Today they announced their library project. The first article I read was on the CNN Money page, and I couldn't help but feel the rivalry sentiment encroaching. But then I checked out the New York Times' coverage, and noticed that Larry had strategically sucked up to the librarians, mentioning, "the incredible breadth of information that librarians so lovingly organize." Well, geez, how can you get mad at that?

December 07, 2004

My Prophetic Dream

It's human to be proud of one's relatives accomplishments, right? I mean after all, if I'm related to somebody smart then maybe my genes aren't too shabby either.

When I was 3 or 4 or 5 I had a very vivid dream that I remember describing to my Mom. I told her I had dreamed about God. When she asked what he looked like I said, "Just like Peter (my older brother), only older and with a beard."

OK, so I'll admit that I run a Google alert on my brother just to see what he's up to, and today it alerted me to this article in Search Engine Watch, describing Peter's book as "the Bible of Artificial Intelligence." Now my dream makes sense.