Fan of Full Fathom Five? Be sure to check it out at its new home!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007 or Google Books?

Online text & e-book sites are rich with maritime books. I've mentioned Project Gutenberg, which started in the 1970s and is a favorite site of mine due to their commitment to providing high quality electronic editions that are easy to read online and/or download. But most people are probably more familiar with Google Books. What's the difference? Google Books has quantity, and opinions about the quality vary. Check out these reviews:

But behind Google Books lies which increases its utility. The Google Book Search horatio lord nelson results in several interesting texts, including the 1846 edition of The Dispatches and Letters of Vice Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson: With Notes. The chances of my buying this book are slim, and I'd rather not read it online or take the trouble to download it--no problem. If I look at the links down the right side, and I choose "Find this book in a library," I'm taken to the record for this book.

This is an advantage to approaching and library records through Google Books. If I had started with this book's record on, I might easily miss finding the free, electronic edition. And if I were interested in buying this book on the used book market, I see more options via Google Books--again, on the right, just above the "Find this book in a library" link, there are various book buying sites including my favorite, ABEBooks which includes many independent booksellers that belong to professional booksellers' associations and has a large presence of booksellers outside the United States. (And if you're a researcher who's been using Amazon to view excerpts and sections of books, Arstechnica's article on Google Books' new features, the snipping tool and the personal library, might convince you to give these features a try.)

And there is actually a Google Books "front end" to from Google's advanced book search, turn on the radio button for "Library catalogs," and you're searching

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