Google Book Search

Google Book Search

Infobox Software | name = Google Book Search

caption = Google Book Search screenshot
developer = Google
latest_release_version =
latest_release_date =
latest_preview_version =
latest_preview_date =
operating_system = Any (web based application)
genre = Online Library Book Search
license =
website =

Google Book Search is a tool from Google that searches the full text of books that Google scans, OCRs, and stores in its digital database. The service was formerly known as Google Print when it was introduced at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2004. When relevant to a user's keyword search, up to three results from the Google Book Search index are displayed above search results in the Google Web Search service ( A user may also search just for books at the dedicated Google Book Search service. Clicking a result from Google Book Search opens an interface in which the user may view pages from the book as well as content-related advertisements and links to the publisher's website and booksellers. Through a variety of access limitations and security measures, some based on user-tracking, Google limits the number of viewable pages and attempts to prevent page printing and text copying of material under copyright. [cite web| author=Greg Duffy | title= Google's Cookie and Hacking Google Print | month= March | year= 2005 | url=| work= Kuro5hin]

The Google Book Search service remains in a beta stage but the underlying database continues to grow. Google Book Search allows public-domain works and other out-of-copyright material to be downloaded in PDF format. For users outside the United States, though, Google must be sure that the work in question is indeed out of copyright under local laws. According to a member of the Google Book Search Support Team, "Since whether a book is in the public domain can often be a tricky legal question, we err on the side of caution and display at most a few snippets until we have determined that the book has entered the public domain." [Cite web | author= Ryan Sands | title= From the mail bag: Public domain books and downloads | work= Inside Google Book Search | |format=blog| date= November 9, 2006 | url=]

Many of the books are scanned using the Elphel 323 camera [ Google currently uses Elphel cameras for book scanning and for capturing street imagery in Google Maps] ] [ [ "Adapted firmware of Elphel 323 camera to meet needs of Google Book Search"] ] at a rate of 1,000 pages per hour. cite news |first=Kevin |last=Kelly |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Scan This Book! |url= |quote=When Google announced in December 2004 that it would digitally scan the books of five major research libraries to make their contents searchable, the promise of a universal library was resurrected. ... From the days of Sumerian clay tablets till now, humans have "published" at least 32 million books, 750 million articles and essays, 25 million songs, 500 million images, 500,000 movies, 3 million videos, TV shows and short films and 100 billion public Web pages.|publisher=New York Times Magazine |date=May 14, 2006 |accessdate=2008-03-07 ] The rapidity of the scanning precludes checking the pages. Hence, some pages are not scanned or are scanned in such a fashion as to make them unreadable. [In [,M1 "Species Plantarum"] , it is difficult to find early pages (no pagination) and an image of the robotic page turner is seen.] [In [,M1 "The Merry-Go-Round"] , there are pages (e.g. 326) blocked by debris on the scanner.] [In [,M1 "The Making of a Saint "] , pages ("i.e." page 4) are cut in two and unreadable.] [In [ "Italian Villas by Edith Wharton"] , some pages cut off, missing, or un-readable.]

Google has not revealed how many books they have already scanned. Google did say that it is scanning more than 3,000 books per day, a rate that translates into more than 1 million annually. The entire project may exceed US$ 100 million. [ [ CIO Today] ; December 20, 2006] . As of March 2007, "The New York Times" reported that Google has already digitized one million volumes at an estimated cost of US$5 million cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title= History, Digitized (and Abridged) |url= |quote=Google, on its own, is digitizing books at the Library of Congress, which has its hands full with other items. ... In its quest to scan every one of the tens of millions of books ever published, Google has already digitized one million volumes. Google refuses to say how much it has spent on the venture so far, but outside experts estimate the figure at at least US$5 million. The company has also been scanning and indexing academic journals to make them searchable, and is working with the Patent Office to digitize thousands of patents dating back to 1790. |publisher=New York Times |date=March 11, 2007 |accessdate=2008-04-10 ]

Microsoft started a similar project, Live Search Books, in late 2006 ["Microsoft starts online library in challenge to Google Books." AFP Worldwide.] which ran until May 2008, when the project was abandoned.



* December 2004—Google signaled an extension to its Google Print initiative known as the Google Print Library Project.O'Sullivan, Joseph and Adam Smith. [ "All booked up,"] "Googleblog." December 14, 2004.] Google announced partnerships with several high-profile university and public libraries, including the University of Michigan, Harvard (Harvard University Library), Stanford (Green Library), Oxford (Bodleian Library), and the New York Public Library. According to press releases and university librarians, Google plans to digitize and make available through its Google Book Search service approximately 15 million volumes within a decade. The announcement soon triggered controversy, as publisher and author associations challenged Google's plans to digitize, not just books in the public domain, but also titles still under copyright.


* November 2005—Google changed the name of this service from Google Print to Google Book Search. [Cite web | author= Jen Grant | title= Judging Book Search by its cover | work= Googleblog | format=blog | date= November 17, 2005 | url=] Its program enabling publishers and authors to include their books in the service was renamed "Google Books Partner Program" ("see" [ Google Library Partners] ) and the partnership with libraries became Google Books Library Project.


* August 2006—The University of California System announced that it would join the Book Search digitization project. This includes a portion of the 34 million volumes within the approximately 100 libraries managed by the System. [ [ UC libraries partner with Google to digitize books] ]
* September 2006-The Complutense University of Madrid becomes the first Spanish-language library to join the Google Books Library Project. [ [ University Complutense of Madrid and Google to Make Hundreds of Thousands of Books Available Online] ]
* October 2006—The University of Wisconsin-Madison announced that it would join the Book Search digitization project along with the Wisconsin Historical Society Library. Combined, the libraries have 7.2 million holdings. [ [ UW-Madion + WHS + Google digitization project partnership announced] ]
* November 2006-The University of Virginia joins the project. Its libraries contain more than five million volumes and more than 17 million manuscripts, rare books and archives. [ [ The University of Virginia Library Joins the Google Books Library Project] ]


* January 2007—The University of Texas at Austin announced that it would join the Book Search digitization project. At least one million volumes will be digitized from the University's 13 library locations.
* March 2007—The Bavarian State Library announced a partnership with Google to scan more than a million public domain and out-of-print works in German as well as English, French, Italian, Latin, and Spanish. [ [ Bavarian State Library + Google digitizing project partnership announced] ]
* May 2007—A book digitizing project partnership was announced jointly by Google and the Cantonal and University Library of Lausanne. [ [ Reed, Brock. "La Bibliothèque, C'est Google" ("Wired Campus Newsletter"),] "Chronicle of Higher Education". May 17, 2007.]
* May 2007—The Boekentoren Library of Ghent University will participate with Google in digitizing and making digitized versions of 19th century books in the French and Dutch languages available online. [ [ Ghent/Gent + Google digitizing project partnership announced] ]
* June 2007—The Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) announced that its twelve member libraries would participate in scanning 10 million books over the course of the next six years. [ [ CIC + Google digitizing project partnership announced] ]
* July 2007—Keio University became Google's first library partner in Japan with the announcement that they would digitize at least 120,000 public domain books. [ [ Keio + Google digitizing project partnership announced] ]
* August 2007—Google announced that it would digitize up to 500,000 both copyrighted and public domain items from Cornell University Library. Google will also provide a digital copy of all works scanned to be incorporated into the university’s own library system. [ [ Cornell + Google digitizing project partnership announced] ]
* September 2007—Google added a feature that allows users to share snippets of books that are in the public domain. The snippets may appear exactly as they do in the scan of the book or as plain text. [ [ Google's digitized "snippets" feature announced] ]
* September 2007—Google debuts a new feature called "My Library" which allows users to create personal customized libraries, selections of books that they can label, review, rate, or full-text search. [ [ Google's "personal library" feature announced] ]
* December 2007—Columbia University was added as a partner in digitizing public domain works. [ [ Columbia + Google digitizing project partnership announced] ]


* May 2008 - Microsoft tapers off and plans to end its scanning project which reached 750,000 books and 80 million journal articles [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Microsoft Will Shut Down Book Search Program |url= |quote=Microsoft said it had digitized 750,000 books and indexed 80 million journal articles. |publisher=New York Times |date=May 24, 2008 |accessdate=2008-05-24 ]

Google Books Library Project participants

The number of participating institutions has grown since the inception of the Google Books Library Project; [see above] ] The University of Mysore has been mentioned in many media reports as being a library partner. [ [ Ars Technica] ] [ [ Hindustani Times "Google to digitise 800,000 books at Mysore varsity"] ] They are not, however, listed as a partner by Google. [ [ Google Library Partners] ]

Initial partners

*Harvard University, Harvard University Library, [ Harvard + Google]

*University of Michigan, University of Michigan Library, [ Michigan + Google]

*New York Public Library, [ New York Public Library + Google]

*University of Oxford, Bodleian Library, [ Oxford + Google]

*Stanford University, Stanford University Libraries (SULAIR), [ Stanford + Google]

Additional partners

Other institutional partners have joined the Project since the partnership was first announced.

*Bavarian State Library, [ Bavaria + Google] , [ Bayerische Staatsbibliothek + Google (in German)]

*Columbia University, Columbia University Library System, [ Columbia + Google]

*Committee on Institutional Cooperation, [ CIC + Google]

*Complutense University of Madrid, [ Madrid + Google] , [ "Complutense Universidad" + Google (in Spanish)]

*Cornell University, Cornell University Library, [ Cornell + Google]

*Ghent University, Ghent University Library/Boekentoren, [ Ghent/Gent + Google]

*Keio University, Keio Media Centers (Libraries), [ Keio + Google (in English)] , [ Keio + Google (in Japanese)]

*National Library of Catalonia ("Biblioteca de Catalunya"). [ "Biblioteca de Catalunya" (BNC) + Google (in Catalan)]

*Princeton University, Princeton University Library, [ Princeton + Google]

*University of California, California Digital Library, [ California + Google]

*University of Lausanne, Cantonal and University Library of Lausanne/ [ Bibliothèque Cantonale et Universitaire/BCU + Google (in French)]

*University of Mysore, Mysore University Library, [ Mysore + Google]

*University of Texas at Austin, University of Texas Libraries, [ Texas + Google]

*University of Virginia, University of Virginia Library, [ Virginia + Google]

*University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Wisconsin Digital Collection, [ Wisconsin + Google]

Opposition and perceived shortcomings

Google Book Search remains controversial.

While librarians hail the initiative for its potential to offer unprecedented access to what may become the largest online corpus of human knowledge, [cite news |first=Kevin |last=Bergquist |title=Google project promotes public good |url= |work=The University Record |publisher=University of Michigan |date=2006-02-13 |accessdate=2007-04-11 ] [cite web |title=Is This the Renaissance or the Dark Ages? |last=Pace |first=Andrew K. |url= |month=January | year=2006 |work=American Libraries |publisher=American Library Association |accessdate=2007-04-11 |quote=Google made instant e-book believers out of skeptics even though 10 years of e-book evangelism among librarians had barely made progress.] the publishing industry and writers' groups have criticized the project's inclusion of snippets of copyrighted works as infringement. The Authors Guild of America [cite web |title=Authors Guild Sues Google, Citing "Massive Copyright Infringement" |last=Aiken |first=Paul |url= |date=2005-09-20 |format=press release |publisher=The Authors Guild |accessdate=2007-04-11] and Association of American Publishers [cite news |first=Alorie |last=Gilbert |title=Publishers sue Google over book search project |url= |work=CNET News |date=2005-10-19 |accessdate=2007-04-11 ] cite web
title =The McGraw Hill Companies, Inc.; Pearson Education, Inc.; Penguin Group (USA) Inc.; Simon and Schuster, Inc.; John Wiley and Sons, Inc. Plaintiffs, v. Google Inc., Defendant
work =
url =
PDF file of the complaint. SD. N.Y. Case No. 05-CV-8881-JES. ] have separately sued Google, citing "massive copyright infringement." Google claims its project represents a fair use, and is the digital age equivalent of a card catalog with every word in the publication indexed.

Some European politicians and intellectuals have criticized Google's effort on "language-imperialism" grounds, arguing that because the vast majority of books proposed to be scanned are in English, it will result in disproportionate representation of natural languages in the digital world. German, Russian, and French, for instance, are popular languages in scholarship; the disproportionate online emphasis on English could shape access to historical scholarship, and, ultimately, the growth and direction of future scholarship. Among these critics is Jean-Noël Jeanneney, the president of the "Bibliothèque nationale de France" [cite book | id=ISBN 0-226-39577-4 |author=Jean-Noël Jeanneney |title=Google and the Myth of Universal Knowledge: A View from Europe |format=book abstract; Foreword by Ian Wilson |date=2006-10-23 |accessdate=2007-02-21] In June 2006, a French publisher announced its intention to sue Google France. [cite news | author= John Oates | title= French publisher sues Google | work= The Register | date= June 7, 2006 | url=] In 2006 a previously-filed German lawsuit was withdrawn. [cite web |title=Google Book Search Wins Victory In German Challenge |author=Danny Sullivan |url= |date=2006-06-28 |work=Search Engine Watch | format=blog |accessdate=2006-11-11]

In March 2007, Thomas Rubin, associate general counsel for copyright, trademark, and trade secrets at Microsoft, accused Google of violating copyright law with their book search service. Rubin specifically criticized Google's policy of freely copying any work until notified by the copyright holder to stop. [cite news | author= Thomas Claburn | title= Microsoft Attorney Accuses Google Of Copyright Violations | work= InformationWeek | date= March 6, 2007 | url=]

Siva Vaidhyanathan, associate professor of Media Studies and Law at the University of Virginia has published the opinion, [Siva Vaidhyanathan,. “The Googlization of Everything and the Future of Copyright,” "University of California Davis Law Review" volume 40 (March 2007), pp. 1207–1231, [ pdf] ] that the project poses a danger for the doctrine of fair use, because the fair use claims are arguably so excessive that it may cause judicial limitation of that right. [ [ First Monday] Transcript September 2007 ]

Google licensing of public domain works is also an area of concern [cite news | author= Michael Liedtke | title= Publishers Protest Google's Online Library Project | work= Associated Press | date= May 24, 2005 | url=] , Google apparently is claiming a restrictive 'No-Commercial use' term in respect of the PDF electronic versions it provides, as well as using digital watermarking techniques with them. Some published works that are in the public domain, such as all works created by the U.S. Federal government, are still treated like other works under copyright, and therefore locked after 1922. [Robert B. Townsend, [ Google Books: Is It Good for History?] , "Perspectives" (September 2007).]

While Google Book Search has digitized large numbers of journal back issues, its scans do not include the metadata required for identifying specific articles in specific issues. This has led the makers of Google Scholar to start their own program to digitize and host older journal articles (in agreement with their publishers). [Barbara Quint : " [ Changes at Google Scholar: A Conversation With Anurag Acharya] " Information Today, August 27, 2007]


See also

*Questia Online Library
*Michigan digitization project -University of Michigan's implementation of items scanned by Google
*Digital library
*Universal library (Carnegie Mellon University) a parallel effort conducted by the Carnegie Mellon University which has already scanned 1.5 million books.
*List of digital library projects
*Open Content Alliance
*Project Gutenberg
*Universal library
*Book scanning
* is's book search
*Live Search Books
*Domínio Público

External links

* [ Google Book Search] homepage
* [ Google Book Search Information Page]
* [ The Author's Guild et al v. Google Inc. Timeline and progression of case]
*Jeffrey Toobin; [ Google's Moon Shot]
*Malte Herwig; [,1518,473529,00.html "Putting The World's Books On The Web" (SPIEGEL International Edition)]
*Anirudh Wadhwa; [ "Debate over the Google Library Project"]
* [ text search]
* [ - an experiment that prints public domain books from Google Book Search]
* [ Digital Library Federation]
* [ The European Library]
* [ Dian Schaffhauser: Google Book Search: The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly]

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