Friday, September 12, 2008

Google Books - full view by the numbers

So I was taking a look and finding some interesting stuff about Google books today...
If you use the advanced search feature and limit to Full View only you can have some fun with the date, say you select 0001-2008, the result is: 2,300,600 (Interesting, a few days ago it was 1.4M). Something is funny, so let's do the math...

If I search year by year, from 2000 to 2008, there are a total of 35,885 Full View books, but when I search 2000 - 2008 in the advanced search, there are 28,300, so either I am only calculating 7,585 incorrectly twice, or I need to better understand how Google counts or limits work.

However, moving away from search result consistency and accuracy, and back to the real question behind my Google Books search... What's there by date range...

Date range # Full View Books
2000-2008 28,300
1990-1999 16,400
1980-1989 3,649
1970-1979 2,013
1960-1969 924
1950-1959 771
1940-1949 534
1930-1939 589
1920-1929 123,600 (Obviously, a correlation with Public Domain)
1910-1919 266,600
1900-1909 525,600
1850-1899 1,090,599
1800-1849 419,600
1750-1799 67,990
1700-1749 14,880
1650-1699 3,846
1600-1649 1,723
1500-1599 2,027
1400-1499 273
1300-1399 450
1200-1299 178
1100-1199 0
0001-1099 1

So what is the oldest book?
Drum roll... It was published in 1055....
OK, you have to find out by clicking on the link:

Some takeaway thoughts from my little adventure searching and looking:

  • Using MyLibrary in Google Books is very COOL provided you don't mind letting Google know even more about you and you and you... (You know what I mean)

  • Review service is very easy to use.

  • I LOVE that you can easily report page view problems (Although the link is buried on the right side while viewing pages) This is the kind of Delivery to Discovery value feedback that I want to post about soon later.

  • Date issues for limits - the limit isn't clarifying which calendar system you use

  • Pretty bizzare mix of materials, and I do like the utilities and services available from Google Books - I only wish it would allow us customizing our holdings and branding, oh, and be able to provide context and highlight seminal works.

Enough pondering on a slow Friday at the reference desk. Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Language Computer in the Library

I was asked if the Library would purchase a Rosetta Stone Spanish Level 1 & 2 for $323.10 at Amazon and make it available on a standalone computer in the library.

First thought... What a great idea? (budget troubles aside)...

Second thought... How would we market this resource well and not make it another expensive reference like item that is rarely used... discovery, space, context and convenience matters. Knowing that this is a tool you want to listen to means headphones, but repeating the sounds means an interesting conversation in the study carrel next door, or a music practice room - which doesn't lend to discovery very well.

So, I ponder on...
How have others managed this resources...

I turn to searching online - the Internet first...
I was quick to find that Rosetta recently discontinued it's online offering: However, there are still some libraries that are able to offer the online service:

Distracted - because I am working late tonight, I wonder into asking and searching, what are some other language learning environments like?

A brief search nets...

So having performed all these searches to select several resources of interest, I finally turn to the catalog... 13 hits from doing a search learn spanish using the catalog and find the most relevant title is the last on the list, can you guess my treasure...
2 discs. 33 1/3 rpm. mono. 12 in. - a 1958 phonodisc. offers an improved list, with a 1990-1992 cassette on the top of the list.

Clearly, discovery may be an issue... So I conclude my late night work thinking...

How important is learning a language to our users, and as a result, to offering a library service?

Public libraries tend to make language learning resources a highly visible resource, but what are academic libraries doing?

What partnerships make sense with our Foreign Language departments & their labs, and other academic departments interested in Spanish?

Questions to discuss with my fantastic colleagues at Geneseo - but to anyone out there... what works well, what ideas do you have? Thanks.