Friday, April 1, 2011

Online Hint : Google Books Offers Bigger Limited Previews to Newer Books

Many researchers know what a great tool Google Books is for online viewing & downloading older books and periodicals.  It's a bountiful resource for materials published before 1923 (the year when most publications go into the public domain). 

Lately, I've been discovering that more and more newer books are showing up in Google Books as a "Limited Preview".  I first noted it when writing the February 28 blog post about "Cass County Families", an obscure set of microfilm recently added to the library's collection.  In the hopes of learning more about this set of records, I Googled the title.  The only descriptive reference turned up in Michigan Genealogy : sources & resources, published in 2005.  Google Books had nearly half of the book available in limited preview including a paragraph about "Cass County Families".  I probably would never have found this reference without the help of Google Books.

More recently, in preparing for a mini-class for the Van Buren Regional Genealogical Society entitled "References You Should Know", I discovered two more exciting examples of the limited preview format:

New England Marriages Prior to 1700, by Clarence Torrey (467 pages shown of 1,009 total pages)

The Indian Tribes of North America, by John Swanton (273 pages shown of 729 total pages)

Granted, these limited previews are view only - no print or download features.  However, with large portions of these notable references online, we not only have access to the information but learn about the format and content of the book.  And, if you "really" need to print something, you always have the ability to locate it on your computer and select the "Print Screen" button on your keyboard.  This will allow you to paste that view into your favorite word processing program, including the image of a single page.

So, don't hesitate to search for post-1923 titles in Google Books.  You may be pleasantly surprised, as I was.