Friday, June 6, 2008

GoogleBooks and My Library

GoogleBooks is an extraordinary service, with thousands and thousands of full view books you can read and download (as PDF), in addition to the books which are "Preview" or "Snippet" view only. The older, public domain books are a real treasure trove for classicists, and I'm really impressed by the new options Google has launched for creating a custom "My Library" of your GoogleBooks. When you find a book at GoogleBooks which interests you, you can save it to "My Library." By saving a Google book to your Library, you can then do searches specifically of the books in your Library. You can also use tags to label the books in order to organized your books. Your Library listing is public, so you can share this useful information with others. Some of these are new features at GoogleBooks, so if you have not visited in a while, it's definitely worth taking a look!

When I go to Books.Google.Com, I will see a link to My Library along the top of the page, on the right. (If I have not yet signed in to my Gmail or other Google account, I can use the Sign in link which also appears along the top of the page, on the right.) The Search Books box now has two options: Search all books, or Search My Library.

I can use the labels I have created for the books in My Library to create custom, limited searches, as in this example, searching for the word leonem in any of the books I have labeled with the tag Avianus:
I can also share the results of this search with anyone, using the URL that I can copy from the address bar of the browser.

I can also share the link to My Library - the difference being that only I can add notes and labels to the books in my Library, add and remove books, etc. Other people can see the books I have collected and the tags I have used, but they cannot change that information.

There's even an RSS feed available for added books, if someone wants to know when I've added new books to My Library.

I'm really impressed with these new features! In the past, it was not possible to add these tags or do custom searches, so I was in the habit of just downloading Google Book PDF files to my computer and working with them on my hard drive. Now, however, that I can organized my Library AND share that information with others, I'm motivated to save more books into My Library and tag them appropriately.

Wouldn't it be great if other Latin teachers did the same? There sure are a lot of amazing Latin resources - old textbooks, readers, reference books, etc. - which are available at GoogleBooks, for free. As everybody discovers their own treasures in there, the My Library features makes it easy to share those discoveries with others, too!

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