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    Re: Google Books
    From: Henry Halboth
    Date: 2007 May 30, 22:24 -0400

    Hi all,
    
    Many thanks to all who took the time to reply to my posting regarding
    problems loading and downloading Google Books, more especially to Frank and
    George for their usual painstaking analysis. This List is truly a remarkable
    resource in itself on a varied array of topics.
    
    Obviously, a high speed internet connection is necessary to successful
    downloading, per both Frank and George, and my downloading rate of some 6
    KB/sec will just not cut the mustard before my dial-up connection terminates
    the operation. I still do not understand, however, why, once a book loads,
    it is not possible to print or copy excerpts, but I will continue to work
    within my available options to solve this problem.
    
    I am, at present, on hiatus from my ongoing medical education and hope once
    again to shed my lurking status an make an occasional contribution in the
    realm of practical navigation.
    
    Thanks again to all.
    
    Henry
    
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: 
    To: 
    Sent: Tuesday, May 29, 2007 11:09 AM
    Subject: [NavList 2910] Re: Google Books
    
    
    >
    > Hello Henry,
    >
    > Google books does work. You don't really need a high-speed connection, but
    > it certainly helps. I think if I walk you through a specific case, finding
    a
    > book, using it online, searching within it, and then downloading it, it
    > might help.
    >
    > Let's start with the process of searching for books. Like anything else on
    > google, you need to know some tricks. First, we need the home address for
    > google books so we can bypass all the other google services. It is
    >   http://books.google.com
    > Instead of saving this address, I recommend bookmarking the address of the
    > "advanced search" page for google books:
    >   http://books.google.com/advanced_book_search
    > On this page, you can narrow searches by author, title, specific phrases
    in
    > the text of the book, and also publication date. Note that these searches
    > work most of the time, where "most" means more than 50%. Sometimes, for
    > example, when you request books published before , let's say, 1905, you
    will
    > get books published in 2006 because they are part of a series that began
    > publication before 1905, or because the data record is wrong. Google books
    > is adding content at an extraordinary rate, and there are errors in the
    > indexes. But in a way, that adds to the fun. You can find interesting old
    > books tucked away in "dusty corners" even in cyberspace. Because of this
    > quirky behavior, I recommend trying various different search patterns when
    > you're looking for books.
    >
    > Let's find a specific book. Suppose I'm interested in reading David
    > Thomson's navigation manual on lunars. Several years ago, George Huxtable
    > and Jan Kalivoda carried on an interesting discussion about an edition of
    > this book (it's in the archive: www.fer3.com/arc, search on "Thomson").
    > Let's update that discussion by seeing what we can find through google
    > books.
    >
    > On the google books advanced search page, I type in "David Thomson lunar"
    in
    > the box that says "find results  with all of the words" (the top box). In
    > the date section, I set an upper limit for date of 1860 (I tried 1899
    first
    >  --too many matches). Then click search. The very first item returned is
    > relevant, but it's just a reference within another book. This often
    happens.
    > Many 19th century books included catalogs and indexes of other
    publications
    > in the back. These are indexed by google just like any other text. The
    > second hit, however, is very useful. It's an obituary of Thomson from the
    > Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. When I click on it, I
    > immediately see a page from that journal with the search terms
    highlighted.
    > This page should appear on your computer within ten seconds even on a
    > dial-up connection. Note that the page displays in Adobe Reader. It's
    > important for online documents that you have a relatively recent version
    of
    > this or an equivalent "pdf" reader installed on your computer. In the
    > obituary in the MNRAS, we learn various interesting things about Thomson's
    > life including the fact that his navigation tables are in an 11th edition
    > after only ten years in print (this is a clever publisher's trick as it
    > turns out --they're referring to "printings" as "editions" to boost
    sales).
    > As a matter of trivia, I learned from this obit that Mauritius used to be
    > commonly called "the Mauritius".
    >
    > Back to the search results list (alt+left arrow key on the keyboard is a
    > fast shortcut to the previous page in many web browsers), there are
    several
    > random hits, another obituary, and then around item seven in the search
    > list, there it is: "Lunar and Horary Tables for ascertaining the
    longitude"
    > by David Thomson from 1845. So we click that...
    >
    > When a "full view" book opens in google books, it often opens to a page in
    > the middle of the volume. For me, in this case, it opened to an
    > advertisement published in the book (interesting in its own way). I want
    to
    > look at the title page, so I go to the panel on the right, click "Table of
    > Contents" and then scroll up within the pages of the book until I see the
    > title page (sometimes the panel on the right gives a direct link to the
    > title page but not always). The title page tells me that it's the 30th
    > edition (his publishers have been busy) from 1845 and identifies it as the
    > correct book.
    >
    > Your first instinct may be to download as quick as possible, but it's not
    > necessarily the way to go. Consider that the entire book has been rendered
    > by OCR behind the scenes on google. This means that you can search the
    > content of the book. You can't do this on your own computer unless you
    have
    > OCR (optical character recognition) software installed. We can search for
    > specific words in the book, for example, "Aldebaran". In the right-hand
    > panel, scroll down a bit to the box that says "Search in this book" and
    type
    > in Aldebaran. The search returns three hits (this is the minimum number
    > since OCR is not perfect, especially with old text). The third hit takes
    us
    > to page 58 which gives Thomson's instructions for finding Aldebaran in the
    > sky. There's a whole section on identifying the bright stars. On that same
    > page, I thought it was interesting that he spelled Betelgeuse as
    Betelguese
    > (twice). That spelling to me indicates that he was accustomed to
    pronouncing
    > that star name with a "hard" g (as in get) [try searching on both
    spellings
    > in all books in google books... it's a common alternative spelling as it
    > turns out]. You can do this "search in this book" trick even using long
    > phrases. For example, type "mean time" (WITH the quotes, to indicate that
    > it's a phrase) in the search box, and it will return all references to
    that
    > exact phrase, within the limits of OCR, in this book.
    >
    > There are two other interesting links in the right-hand panel. Near the
    top,
    > there's an "About this book" link which will take you to some useful info,
    > worth exploring, and at the very bottom on the right-hand panel, there is
    a
    > link that says "Other Editions" and you'll note that it gives a link to an
    > edition of these tables from 1825. We'll get back to that in a minute...
    >
    > Now of course, you can read as much as you want online, but it's also very
    > convenient to download these books and maybe print out sections. I think
    all
    > of us on this list are pack-rats, and it's hard to resist collecting all
    > these books even though they're online at our fingertips. In that
    right-hand
    > panel again, up at the top, there's a button that says "Download" and next
    > to it "PDF - 37.5M". Now that's not a huge download, and most of these old
    > navigation books are in that size range, but on a dial-up line, it will
    > still take a while. Supposing you are getting effective download rates of
    > 40kbps, this download should take a little more than 15 minutes. This
    should
    > *not* be a problem for any but the noisiest dial-up Internet connections.
    On
    > my high-speed connection (well, not really mine --one of my various
    > neighbors' connections... the air is filled with wireless Internet around
    > here), this book downloads in about 75 seconds.
    >
    > After it's downloaded, you can read Thomson's book offline at your
    leisure.
    > And if you ever do need to search for something in the book, you can pop
    > online, us the "Search in this book" function, get a page number, and get
    > back offline again. It's very convenient.
    >
    > Let's get back to that "Other Editions" function. Google books attempts to
    > link different versions of the same book and also provides links to books
    > that reference the book you're viewing. When we follow the link to the
    1825
    > edition of Thomson's tables, we find that this scan comes from a copy of
    the
    > tables at Oxford University and that it was scanned on March 7, 2007. This
    > gives you an idea how rapidly this resource is growing. Many books
    relevant
    > to our little obsession have come online just in the past few months. When
    > you click the "Read This Book" button, sure enough, it's another copy of
    > Thomson's tables, the 2nd edition, with some interesting, minor
    differences
    > from the "30th" edition (1845). You'll also notice that there's no
    > "Download" button. Although most of the older books include a download
    link,
    > some don't. I don't see any particular rhyme or reason to this, and I
    think
    > it's due mostly to the fact that this service is so new. It's also free.
    > Since no one's paying for it except by meager ad revenues, it is improved
    > and updated in a rather haphazard way. But I'm not complaining (yet)! It's
    > an amazing collection of old books.
    >
    > Here's another book search to try on googlebooks. Go to the advanced
    search
    > page (see above) and type in "lunarian" in the top search box. Under
    author
    > (sixth box down), type in "Arnold". Then search. And lo and behold, there
    it
    > is! Arnold's "American Practical Lunarian" from 1822 which you, Henry,
    > brought to the group's attention a couple of years ago. Now you can
    download
    > a copy so that you don't risk damaging the spine by opening your old copy
    > (another big advantage of these scanned books).
    >
    > Finally, because this is a free product, it is also limited in many ways.
    Of
    > course, more recent books are protected by copyright, so you can only see
    > small "snippets" via googlebooks, but they're still fully searchable
    online.
    > And many of the scanned pages are flawed. Personally, I find that this is
    > not much of a problem. Most books are 98% scanned correctly. A slightly
    > larger problem is that the search functions are based on imperfect OCR.
    This
    > is just the nature of the beast, but it would be nice if google could add
    a
    > function to search intelligently for similar words. For example, the
    phrase
    > "lunar observations" might be rendered as "luner observations". Then
    again,
    > in old documents, spelling was often different. As it turns out, when you
    > search with this apparent mis-spelling, google returns various references
    to
    > the journals of Lewis & Clark, who apparently DID spell it "luner
    > observations" here and there.
    >
    > I should say this: I use google books each and every day. I get lost in
    it,
    > it's so amazingly useful for historical research. So if you have technical
    > difficulties or trouble on the learning curve with this tool, I can only
    > encourage you to try again and again and again. It's worth the work.
    >
    >  -FER
    > http://www.HistoricalAtlas.com/lunars
    >
    > >
    >
    
    
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