google book search, what about govdocs?

One of the things I really enjoyed about the Internet Archive Open Library project was the software they used to attempting to determine whether works they were scanning were or were not under copyright. It was an elaborate set of questions and answers with access to some copyright databases. In contrast, unless I’m mistaken, Google Books just draws a line at 1923 and assumes everything after that date is in copyright. This includes government information which as you know is made with tax dollars and generally in the public domain. So why does Google Book Search treat all post-1923 books as under copyright? Just over-cautious?

google book search, info from the source

James Jacobs — the guy from diglet who had been writing to Google to try to get “find in a library” added to ALL Google Book Search results — went to see Daniel Clancy, the Engineering Director for the Google Book Search Project speak at Stanford. While the talk wasn’t to librarians and wasn’t really about the social implications of the book search, James did learn a few things.

– Clancy mentioned that Google was NOT going for archival quality (indeed COULD not) in their scans and were ok with skipped pages, missing content and less than perfect OCR — he mentioned that the OCR process AVERAGED one word error per page of every book scanned
– about 70% of the book project use was coming from India.
– 92% of the world’s books are not generating revenues for copyright holders or publishers

If Googl Book Search really interests you, you might also like to read The Google Library Project: Both Sides of the Story [pdf, today’s library link o’ the day] which discusses some of the misinformation and lawsuits surrounding the Google Library porject and comes down on the side of Google’s fair use position.

find in a library?

How come only some books in the Google Book Search have “find in a library” links next to them? Diglet asks, and gets an answer, sort of a lame one if you ask me. update: Kevin mentioned in the comments that it would be great to see this for all books in Google Books. I went to bed thinking “Oh yeah, I should look into that….” and while I was sleeping, Superpatron, aka Ed Vielmetti solved the crime, er problem, and created a Greasemonkey script (a plug-in that you can run with Firefox) that does this for Ann Arbor and can be modified for any library.

Google Books public domain book curiosities

Hey clue club, any Harvard or Boston area librarians want to solve the what the heck is this mystery alluded to on this blog post? It looks like a handwritten version of the poem printed in the book, but without page numbers or any other indication that it’s part of the book. Table of Contents is mum on what’s going on. Anyone know, or want to go check out the book at Harvard and see? [thanks chase]