google print

My thoughts on Google Print, such as they are.

Benjamin asked for my opinion on Google Print. I started to reply in the comments, but it quickly grew from a small reply to something entry-sized:

I haven’t blogged on Google Print because I haven’t decided what I think about it. It’s gotten coverage on a variety of librarian blogs, as well as some public radio programs that I’ve heard.

The way I see it, it’s often difficult to find material in books because they aren’t always indexed very well. Unlike many journals, they aren’t available full-text so that you can search the entire book. Some companies are providing books in full-text formats, and there are several models for it, but their emphasis is on new books. I think what Google Print has to offer is full-text searching of old and out of print books. Often these have useful information for modern scholars.

My concern about Google Print is twofold:
1. Copyright — They need to be careful in not stepping over the line of copyright or else the whole project may be tainted.
2. Searching — If I’m doing scholarly research, I don’t want to get 10,000 hits on a keyword search. I’m not sure how Google’s relevance rankings will work for books, but I hope that the search results will be as precise and accurate as a good reference database’s.

I’m keeping an open mind, waiting to see how it all turns out. I don’t want to trash Google Print just because it may step on the toes of libraries. I do hope that libraries will keep the books that are scanned into Google Print, because I doubt our users who want to read the whole book rather than gleaning information from parts of it will be willing to read it on a computer screen or print out the entire thing. On the other hand, our emerging users are more comfortable with screen text than even my generation, so I could be wrong.

gmail invites

I have more Gmail invitations to give away. I seem to have a never-ending supply of Gmail invites now, and all of my friends who want one have them, so from now on, they will be put in the isnoop.net’s gmail invite spooler.

I have more Gmail invitations to give away. If you would like a Gmail account, send me an email. You can also post a comment on this entry, but comments get closed after a while.

Update 1/25/05: I seem to have a never-ending supply of Gmail invites now, and all of my friends who want one have them, so from now on, they will be put in the isnoop.net’s gmail invite spooler.

speaking of gmail invites…

Do you have a bunch of Gmail invites to give away?

If you have Gmail invites to give away, but all of your friends and interested blog readers already have them, I ran across a website that will help you give them away to those who want a Gmail account. I gave away three of my remaining four, keeping one just in case.